So you are now working from home as your offices are closed. Your children are home from school as schools have shut down. Your bootcamp or Cross-fit sessions have been postponed. Your gym is closed. And possibly a race you have entered has been cancelled. To add to this, there seems to be nothing else on the news apart from bad news and the risk of running out of Toilet Paper could be real……....Life seems very unsettling at the moment.
I completely get it. Since last Thursday, things have become unpredictable. I personally like to plan and be a bit in control of life and things around me. But this is impossible to do at the moment. Everything feels very uncertain, we need to get used to it, as this is the new norm.
Ok, probably “easier said than done”, I hear you say. But if we allow ourselves to panic, this will only be detrimental to our wellbeing and those around us. We need to remain calm to allow us to think clearly. More than ever we need to keep a clear head.
So how can we do this? Well here are some suggestions for you.
This is really the time to be in the “Here and Now”. We can not look into the future at the moment. We have no idea what will happen in the next couple of weeks. But we can work on being in the “Here and Now” to help us manage. It does take some practice, and is an excellent skill for any long distance runner out there! So on waking, do not rush to get up, breath instead and listen to your body and how it is feeling. Complete 5-10 deep breaths and be in the moment. If your mind wanders off, just draw yourself back to your breath. You can do this throughout the day if you feel yourself getting anxious. Just remember to breathe and feel how your body is feeling. 5 deep breaths will help not only supply oxygen to your brains but will help calm you as well (count 5 to breath in, hold for 2 counts and then out for 8).
2. Daily exercise.
Whatever you like to do, whether it be run, power walk or gym work. Just do it. Don’t procrastinate about it; just do it. Ideally workout first thing in the morning so the endorphins from the workout will help you feel good, probably for the rest of the day. If you run or power walk, we can do this at the moment, so get out and get some fresh air! It will make you feel full of energy. (Though make sure you maintain social distance if you are running or walking with others.) If you used to use a gym, then try completing a body weight workout at home. Doing a Tabata session (Similar to a HIIT workout) will be quick and intensive. You will find that regular exercise will help you feel energized. So don’t neglect it and plan it into your day.
3. Get into a new routine and stick to it.
This is the time to stick to a routine as much as you can as it will help you focus and keep in control. Set your alarm to wake up early. Do your mindfulness and then workout. Have breakfast, shower, change into reasonably smart clothes so you feel ready to work. Plan in advance your work breaks, even stretch or moving breaks. Just get on and do it.
4. If you need to plan - why not set a plan A and a plan B as backup.
If you need to plan, I suggest doing a weekly Plan A where you make it flexible, and are aware of the 80:20 rule, so 80% could go really well and 20% may not! You could also have a Plan B as backup - if things go completely wrong. This may help you feel more settled. These plans do not need to be really long, but just to help give you some guidelines and structure if you need it.
5. Sleep and eat well.
Your sleep may not be the best at the moment, but this is ok. If you wake in the middle of the night, try to stop thoughts, write them down in a notepad next to your bed if you can, practice some mindfulness, and work on relaxing. You are resting, so this is good. Don’t worry.
6. Keep an eye on your friends and neighbours.
We need to look after each other. Check in on neighbours by calling them to see they are ok or need anything. Set up group chats with friends and family to give you virtual connection. This will help you feel that you are not alone and you have people around you. Also thinking about others will make you feel better and not so focused on your life etc.
We will get through this. I believe COVID-19 will make us stronger and more resilient.