- Remain Guilt-free with Self-Compassion – I didn’t beat myself up for missing workouts. I used self-compassion to reduce my stress and eliminate guilt about it, so that my reduced physical activity didn’t have a double whammy, downward spiral impact on my health. Missed workouts plus the guilt about missing the workout? No, thank you! Especially not during a pandemic!
- Find my Core Motivation – I reflected on why I wanted to workout during this time. With all the uncertainty with COVID-19, I need all the coping skills I can get! Exercise is a stress-reliever, mood-booster, and mode of empowerment! My body was feeling tight and stressed from sedentary work and lack of stretching and movement. I also want to take care of my body. Movement is one way that I take care of myself. And yes, of course, I also want to maintain my strength & muscle mass!
- Troubleshoot my Issues – At the same time, I was formulating ideas and troubleshooting in my head. How can I help myself to get back to the activities that I love? Here’s what I came up with:
Designate a space in your house for your exercise and stretching activities. If you don’t the privilege of having a room dedicated for yoga mats and exercise equipment… mentally carve that space out in your home. Is it in the corner by the coffee table? In your kitchen? In your backyard? Picture it now.
Schedule a realistic amount of time.
Put an event in your calendar or an alarm on your phone. Start where you are at. Even if you were used to doing 1 hour workouts in the gym before the pandemic, that may not be realistic for you now. Dedicating 5 minutes in the morning to stretch can turn into “Oh, this feels good, maybe I’ll do it a bit longer, or schedule another 5 minutes later in the day.”
Keep your workout space clean and ready to use… and distraction-free.
Clean up your workout space after you use it. Take care to keep clutter away from your designated space. Remove any physical and mental barriers to your workouts! Take your phone or your laptop out of the room or place it face down and out of reach to eliminate the temptation to check notifications or scroll through social media.
Try moving your body at different times of day.
Does a morning workout feel good? How about a break in the middle of the day in between Zoom calls? Can you turn off your video and get in some stretching during a call? Can scheduled movement in the evening act as a marker to signify the end of your workday and the start of your free time?
Seek out a diversity of movement.
Remember that body weight exercises and yoga are just a couple of ways to move your body at home. Try dancing, juggling, hula hooping, learning cartwheels and handstands… purchase or borrow equipment like a TRX, kettlebells, boxing bag, exercise bands, jump rope.
Listen to what your body wants to do.
Are you craving a challenge and want to learn something new? Do you just want to move your body to some feel-good music? Maybe you are feeling antsy but also mentally drained, and a walk or stretching sounds better in that moment.
Explore new places to run, walk, bike, hike, etc.
Check out parks in your neighborhood. See your backyard or front yard in a whole new light! I discovered that the hill outside my apartment is great for hill sprints.
Use the internet for motivation and guidance.
Tune into that free Facebook Live yoga class or Instagram boxing workout or purchase an online class package from an instructor or gym. Search YouTube by inputting in the search box:
- the amount of time you have
- the activity you want to do and
- the equipment that you have available.
For example: “30-minute boxing heavy bag workouts” or “10-min morning stretch routine”
Hire a coach for accountability and individualized advice.
Scheduling a time to see an expert who will meet you (virtually or in-person) for a workout is a very effective accountability strategy to help you maintain your commitment to moving your body. Unlike a YouTube video or group fitness class, that expert can adjust the plan depending on how your body is feeling that day and give you tips based on your injuries, aches, and pains. The coach can see how you are progressing or struggling with certain movements and individualize your plan.