Social Distancing, Coronavirus, Staying Fit, and Trying Not to Lose My Mind
Wow. It's been quite a week, huh? I bore witness to quite the evolution of thinking when I traveled to Georgia over the past couple of weeks. I arrived in Atlanta to visit friends and family on March 5th, when people were still touting the virus as a political hoax, and stayed through March 16th, when restaurants, gyms, and bars across the country started shutting down and people finally began realizing, well, maybe this thing is legit. I was honestly starting to get nervous that the airport was going to shut down and I was going to have to drive back to Wyoming. By the way, to all the people who were still eating in tight quarters in the food courts at the airport at that time: y'all bitches be cray. I walked my happy butt all the way to the far end of the terminal where there were no people, wiped my seat down with a Clorox wipe, and enjoyed my food alone. As a fairly introverted person who tends to avoid people anyways, I consider myself a social distancing queen.
I realize that people are saying that watching too much news creates an abundance of fear and uncertainty, but I cannot avert my eyes. I've been watching this thing since before it got to our country and felt like it was going to be a big deal. I think our response to this pandemic was far too little, far too late, and people are STILL not taking it seriously enough. I do not and cannot understand the thought process of making something that has the potential to destroy the economy, the healthcare system, and is, quite literally, taking thousands of people's lives into a joke. Listen, I'm all for some good memes and making light of a dark situation, but when you take it to the lengths of pretending that the issue isn't serious when people are dying or act like it is a made up thing, there's a problem. Here's the good news: people seem to be turning their attitudes around. Let's just hope, now that theaters, shops, bars, and restaurants are closed, everyone has the sense to stay their butts at home going forward.
Ok, rant over! Let's talk fitness. Gyms are closed. Freaking bummer, I know. Even as a person who works in a gym and will no longer have that income as a result of the closures, I absolutely think that closing down is the right call, because no matter how diligent your gym is with cleaning, it's still going to be a hotbed for the spread of germs. It is what it is. So how can we keep ourselves from falling off the wagon, drowning our sorrows by eating all the quarantine snacks, and losing all the progress we've made over the past few months? Have no fear, there is always a way.
Here is something we know: healthy people tend to fair better when they contract the virus than people who are less healthy. That means that eating a balanced diet complete with nutrient dense fruits, veggies, and protein is more important than ever. It also means that being fit makes you tougher to kill. So props to all of you out there who have been killing it in the gym and at home with your diets. We need to set the example for others by continuing our healthy routines, even during a crisis. Guess what? Even with the panic buying in grocery stores that has ensued over the past week or so, you can still find an abundance of fresh produce at your grocery store. They have continuously told us over the news that they DO NOT plan to ever close the grocery stores. Even in the countries with the strictest quarantine measures in place, they are still allowing people to go out to the grocery stores to buy food and supplies. Why people continue to stock their already full fridges and freezers is, again, beyond my understanding. Be smart, eat your fruits and veggies, stop buying cookies and cereal, and try not to get caught up in everyone else's panic measures.
Secondly, we can still workout without a gym! I've posted several at home workouts using little to no equipment on my site in the past, and shown movement demos over my Instagram. Just like most of you guys, I will no longer have access to a gym. Because we are still traveling for Shawn's work and living in an apartment, we also no longer have our home gym setup that we used to have. I currently have a set of 25 pound dumbbells, a resistance band, a kettlebell, and a yoga mat. That's it! And guess what? Just those few pieces of equipment provide me with infinite possibilities on the workout front. Many gyms are offering an equipment rental option when they close down and/or are providing members with daily in-home workout options. If your gym is not offering either of these options, there are thousands of Instagram accounts that are getting more creative than ever with their home workouts, and many are offering free access to live video coaching. I encourage you to explore a little and find some that you like. You can still buy fitness equipment at your local stores like Walmart or Target. I would recommend buying a band, dumbbell, or kettlebell. Even just a single object can go a long way as far as workout variety. If you can't spare the money for equipment right now, or if you are truly stuck at home, you can use household objects to step up your fitness game as well! Water jugs or even a couple water bottles can be used for resistance, a cooler can be used as a box to step up on or jump over, and a table or chair edge can be used for dips or an elevated surface for pushups or burpees. Get creative! There are endless possibilities if you decide to make fitness a priority during this time, and it can definitely take away from the monotony of being confined to your home.
Trust me, I'm going to miss my gym. I love the members there; they're my community now. I will also miss things like ring muscle ups, pull-ups, rope climbs, a heavy barbell, and other things that my gym gives me the privileged access to. BUT, think about how great it will be when we come back to the gym again, and how much we will appreciate getting back to the things we love.
Alright, so now to sum up all of my tips for staying healthy, fit, and sane during these trying times, here are my tips for social distancing, staying at home, and possible mandatory quarantine:
1. Develop a routine: this is huge, because many of us are creatures of habit and thrive on the rigidity of scheduling during the typical work week. If this has gone completely out the window for you during this time, make up a new schedule for you and/or your family as a whole. Break your day into small chunks of time so that you keep busy, keep boredom at bay, and so you don't find yourself constantly snacking or being glued to the TV. Make time for educational things like reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a documentary, cook some new-to-you meals that pack a nutritious punch, schedule in your workouts and meals so you remain consistent, and give yourself plenty of brain breaks and time to get up and move if you're working from home.
2. Move. Every. Single. Day. Make it a habit to move each day, and multiple times throughout the day at that. I plan to start my days by spending 10-15 minutes of the morning with some time of movement, whether it's stretching, a quick workout, or taking my dog on a short walk. It would be great to schedule in several short breaks to get up and be active, even if its just some air squats, lunges, pushups, or pressing some soup cans over your head! Also, browse social media for posts on at-home workout ideas- @streetparking is an incredible account with tons of great home workouts using minimal equipment- and check back here for weekly workouts from me!
3. Get outside. They haven't told us not to go outside, as long as you continue to social distance, so get your run in, stock up on some Vitamin D, play with your fur babes, and boost your morale by getting out of the house some.
4. Cook! The number one reason people tell me they don't cook is because they don't have time. Well, now you have it. Take this opportunity to try out some new recipes. Be sure to incorporate lots of fresh veggies! I personally love using my airfryer to cook all the veggies. Check out this recipe post for one of my faves: Airfryer Brussel Sprouts.
5. Check on your loved ones. I am making it a habit to call or text my family members often during this time. I want to make sure they're ok, and with all the social distancing precautions, we're becoming more antisocial than ever. I want to make sure I talk to the people I care about and see how they're doing.
6. Journal. This is a stressful, anxiety-ridden time. Sometimes you need to vent, or reflect on your own feelings. Plus, later we can look back on our words when we go through more tough times knowing that if we can get through this, we can get through other things as well. Grab you a pen and a notebook and get to writing.
7. Stay up to date on your news, but don't allow it to overwhelm you. I noticed that I've been over-watching and overanalyzing all the news lately. It can get to be too much. So I am learning that I need to limit the amount that I watch. I want to remain informed, but I don't want to stress myself out more than necessary. Know when it's time to turn it off and distract yourself with something happier.
8. Spread some love and kindness. Yesterday, after my morning class, a member at the gym gave me a Starbucks gift card with a sweet note of appreciation. No particular occasion, just an act of genuine kindness. It inspired me to want to pay that kindness forward to someone else. Do something small for someone out of the kindness of your heart as often as possible. It's those small actions that really make the difference in difficult times.
9. Support local businesses. Small business is getting hit hard right now. It breaks my heart to watch people going through all this with such uncertainty of what's to come. Although we are all hopeful that things will resolve sooner rather than later, there's no real certainty of where it's all headed or how long our lives will be disrupted. If you have the ability to do so, keep paying your gym membership, buy a gift card for a future haircut or service from your salon, tip your local restaurant a bit extra on your to-go order, or any other small contribution you can make.
10. Stay your ass at home. Date nights in, cooking at home, movie nights on the couch, board games with the fam- this is our normal right now. All these damn spring breakers going out and partying on the beach last week make my head spin. We WILL come out of this eventually. Let's do our part now to stop the spread of this disease by staying away from each other for a little while. Our elderly and immune compromised population are at extreme risk right now. I have family members that I am seriously worried about. Even though I am pretty confident that Covid-19 would not affect me terribly, I cannot imagine the guilt I would feel if I caused them to contract the virus and put their lives at risk. Protect your family, loved ones, and friends that are vulnerable to this disease by keeping yourself healthy. That means social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. Utilize FaceTime and video chats to stay in touch if you think you might be sick. When you're wondering whether you're well enough to go out right now, ere on the side of caution by just staying home.
11. Use some of your spare time to clean out your closets, organize your home, deep clean rooms, clean out your car, anything you have been telling yourself you'd do if only you had the time. We're always wishing for that extra time at home, and now that we're forced to have it, we're all panicking. Stay calm, take a breath, and figure out how to be ok with this new normal for a while. Remind yourself that it's only temporary.
12. Wash your hands and stop touching your face. Added that in for shits and gigs since everyone's doing it lately. Honestly, if you haven't been doing these things, you're doomed. Don't be dumb.
One day we can resume the sweaty, post-workout hugs. For now, spread some love and laughter over the next few weeks. We're all in this together and the sooner we realize that, band together as a community, and fight against this thing, the sooner we'll be on the other side and stronger than ever. In the meantime, my promise to you guys is to provide more content on the site, from workouts to recipes to comic relief over the next weeks, since I'll be out of work for a while and needing to fill my time with what makes me happy! Stay in touch, shoot me some messages with things you'd like to see on my blog or even just to chat, and be healthy! Wishing you all the best in getting through these tough times.