Updated: Jun 10, 2021
ARE YOU MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY READY TO GET BACK OUT THERE?
The definition we used to associate with 'corona' is; the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars. The sun's corona is normally visible only during a total solar eclipse, when it is seen as an irregularly shaped pearly glow surrounding the darkened disk of the moon (Oxford Dictionary).
The pandemic corona reminded me of a complete solar eclipse of the sun. Now I choose to think of only the envelope around the sun!
If you are one of the people that spent idle time during lockdown eating junk food, it is finally time to change this pattern and get moving again. Have you started on your healthier journey since the worst of the pandemic is behind us? If not, it's time. If so, whoppee!
It may be hard to get started on a healthier journey after a year of being locked down and it can be scary to start because it implies you have to continue. One of the reasons that 12 step programs work for addicts is because of the emphasis on ONE DAY AT A TIME!!
If you look too far ahead and think to yourself "If I start on a healthier journey, I am committed to that journey forever" you are sabatoging yourself from the beginning. Practices such as meditation and yoga are vital to avoid 'what if' thinking. Stopping a circular brain from taking control is worth daily practice.
The principles of 12 step programs provide a guide on how to live your life regardless of whether you are an addict or not.
Two of my favorite teachings are:
"Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday"
"There are two days in every week about which we should not worry....One of these days is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. We cannot erase a single word we said....The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise, and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control. We have no stake in tomorrow for it is as yet unborn. This leaves only one day...Today. Anyone can fight the battle of just one day. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad - it is remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time'(paraphrased from the AA A Guide to Living)".
As challenging as this is, striving each day to stay present no matter what joys or adversities you encounter should be a goal. Of course , most of us like to plan for future events and that may be necessary in certain circumstances but only if you are willing to be flexible if things change. Having low expectations in his case is a good thing and makes the event even more special if it comes to pass. After all, our planning for 2020 went out the window and fretting about it didn't change anything. Better to accept the 'as is' state of affairs and take advantage of the daily opportunities that are presented.
So back to the topic- ARE YOU MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY READY TO GET BACK OUT THERE?
What does this mean for you?
First, examine where you are with respect to your physical and mental health. Examine your pattern of eating over the past year. Did you become lax in maintaining a healthy diet? Did you stop exercising due to your gym being closed, bad weather, lack of motivation, or feeling overwhelmed with the situation you found yourself in? Maybe you didn't know how to adjust your activities to being home-bound. All of these are understandable but they can't be obstacles much longer.
A plan for getting started again if you are fully vaccinated:
If you are feeling mentally vulnerable or shaky, seek help. Going it alone may not work.
If you avoided standard medical care and tests during COVID, get these things done so you are starting out fresh.
Develop or reinstitute a self-care routine so that you can adjust to changes. Practice relaxation, stress management, and anxiety. Many people are returning to offices which is stess-inducing. Find podcasts, classes, and/or social sites/apps that can help. There are so many. One I listen to is 10 % Happier.
If the weather is conducive in your area, consider starting outdoors with walks or jogs.
Find local outdoor fitness classes. If you haven't exercised in a while, take it slow. The last thing you need is to get injured after all of these months of inactivity.
Assess your readiness to return to the gym if that is something you enjoy. Consider your gym's hygiene policy and their ventilation. What is their mask policy? Try going at uncrowded times . You can wipe down equipment before you use it if that makes you comfortable. Again, start slow. If you were spending 30 minutes on a cross-trainer 4 days a week start at fifteen minutes 2-3 days a week and build up to 30 minutes 4 days a week. Reduce the difficulty by a couple of levels to start.
Try something new like yoga or pilates, t'ai chi etc.
Find a workout partner who will keep you motivated and accountable.
If you feel uncomfortable in any of the above situations stop. There are plenty of other options.
Keep a food diary for 3 days. Objectively analyze it. Where can you make healthier choices? Start small. Make one change such as drinking water instead of carbonated beverages. Add one additional vegetable to your daily meals.
Be patient with yourself. Results don't happen overnight. If you were a regular exerciser you are probably glad to have more options with everything opening. Avid exercisers were very creative in finding solutions to remain active. I never stopped my 6x per week workout routine. If you have not exercised regularly, what a great time to start. After all, we are all basically starting over! NO MORE EXCUSES.