We are all having a hard time with this. In the matter of a week or so, our lives were upended and flipped on their bellies. It’s interesting to me, because perhaps we didn’t realize what social creatures we truly are until we are told we can not be social.
As we remain confined, a few things become glaringly important to me and they are the very simplicities of life. I feel it may be pertinent for some to note that this is coming, 100%, with an influence from personal experience. I find, very easily, that it is quite difficult in this “new normal” to maintain any of the “old normal,” and especially the ones that we must!
It’s hard not to fall into the trap and succumb to sitting on the couch for an entire series on Netflix. The crazy part is that I’m not necessarily telling you not to. I think there is a place for escapism, but we do need to safeguard against the potential rabbit hole it can lead us down.
That is why, here, I wanted to offer 3 very simple, yet VERY effective tips to help maintain a baseline of health and sanity throughout this ordeal. You may find them elementary, but I find myself neglecting them at times. The important part is that they’re easy.
Ah, the source of life…. Literally! Water, in my opinion, is going to play a massive role in your overall health during this crazy time, and potentially not for the reasons you may think. Yes, of course, water is our lifeblood, and we literally can not survive without it.
I am a stout water drinker, yet, I know from past experience that as my physical activity decreases (think vacations), my consumption wanes dramatically. Knowing this just means that I need to be a bit more vigilant in keeping up with it. Sounds crazy, I know, but sometimes I might set an alarm for certain times of the day to remind me to drink a bottle (16.9oz) of water.
Water will also help with hunger. OK, raise your hand if you find yourself milling around your house only to somehow magically wind up in the kitchen and, oh look, the refrigerator door is open. “Hunny, did you buy this?... Huh, well, it’s in here… don’t want it to go to waste.” Now lather, rinse, and repeat every 15 minutes. C’mon, who’s guilty?? The sad part is, we all know what’s STILL in the fridge and cupboards. It hasn’t changed from 15 minutes ago. I know, I know… we still have to check anyway.
Try filling your stomach up with water as opposed to oreos (I am only using oreos because that pack that we “bought for our daughter” didn’t stand a chance in this pandemic.) Not only will you avoid eating garbage or overeating, you are replacing that with the source of life! What’s that? Oh, you’ll have to pee a lot?? Good thing you are stuck at your house!
Just move! I think, perhaps, one of the biggest traps that we fall into, here, is that we think it has to be complicated or grandiose. We’re putting movement on a pedestal, and once we place it in such high esteem, and as such, look upon it as though it needs our highest attention, we inadvertently steer ourselves away from it.
Just move! It doesn’t have to be glorious. Just take 10 minutes to stretch if that’s all you feel like doing. The key here is that you have to bake it into a routine. Here’s something funny I do in the morning. When I press go on the coffee maker, I stay right there and go through a series of light stretches. About 5 minutes later, not only am I limbered up and feeling better, BUT THERE’S COFFEE WAITING FOR ME!!
Want to go 1 step farther than just a few stretches but don’t want to overwhelm yourself? We can break this down into 3 of the body’s most basic movement patterns… squat, lunge, push (there are others, but let’s stay here for now.) Do me a favor and the next time you are feeling a bit bored and you have 8 min to kill (don’t you dare look away, I know you do!), try this:
Bodyweight Squats x 12
Push Ups x 8
Lunges x 16
*repeat 1-2 times
You might be surprised. You can’t climb Mt. Everest without taking the first step. You might just find yourself wanting a bit more, and then we can introduce the other basic human movement patterns (pull, bend, brace) into the fray. We could even start getting crazy and breaking them down into unilateral and bilateral, and even plane specific…. Sorry…. I digress…. Just move, and let me know if you are thirsty for more.
If water is our lifeblood, breathing is…. Well, we will also die if we don’t breathe as well! Seems so simple, right? Then why do we suck at it so badly?!!
One of the biggest, most profound, and yet, simplest lessons I learned in my years of pitching professionally was that you have to breathe. Period.
When the game around you (i.e. the world, in our instance here) starts swirling out of control around you, the easiest and most effective thing you can do to quiet that noise is breathe. I am talking about a big, DELIBERATE breath.
Close your eyes and allow your belly to fill and lungs to expand maximally. When you exhale, cast any unwanted thoughts out with the breath, open your eyes, and say hello to the present moment sitting right in front of you.
Breathing is so autonomous, that we often forget how, and certainly when, to do it. Being able to know when uninvited thoughts are broaching your conscience and expelling them will help safeguard your mind in positivity.
I am going to have more on breathing in some subsequent articles, so stay tuned on some special little tricks to get even more out of your breath. I mentioned it before and I can't stress it enough… your breath is the key.
If you have ANY questions, or are looking for some more in depth discussion on any of these topics, please feel free to reach out!!
For now, KEEP IT SIMPLE… DRINK WATER, MOVE A BIT, AND BREATHE!!