If anything can ruin your routines, the COVID-19 pandemic could certainly have been the main culprit. Whether you or a loved one were hit with the disease itself, or the nature of your work-life changed, or your social life was drastically reduced, you probably had to change habits to adapt to the new landscape.
One thing that many may have lost out on were their healthy routines. Gyms were closed down for months and often were unable to reopen. The ability to exercise with others dropped significantly due to social distancing. Even normal patterns of dining and grocery shopping were affected by the pandemic, with the popularity of take-out rising.
Unfortunately, when we miss out on a routine for long enough, it can be difficult to reincorporate into our lives. Hopefully, these ideas will be helpful in re-establishing, (or in some cases, starting), those healthy habits that you had pre-pandemic.
Millions of Americans have changed jobs since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, both as a result of closures and the increased demand for better jobs. That could mean that a job that used to be 100% in the office is now fully remote, or at least a hybrid. This may have affected when you typically exercised, especially in the early days when no one knew what the future held and what their jobs would look like in a few months. Now, possibilities might have opened up that give you greater flexibility with planning a workout. Instead of running early in the morning before heading to the office, you can go for a run during a lunch break while working remotely. If your role has become a hybrid position, you can make more time for a longer workout on your remote days and rest on your days in the office. You have the opportunity to adjust your exercises to a new schedule and work situation so that they suit your needs.
If you have lost your usual healthy habits, having a partner to plan workouts with can be a great kickstarter to get you moving regularly again. For one thing, planning to exercise with someone else forces you to schedule it, meaning you are less likely to skip. It gives you an accountability partner who you can work with to push towards being healthier together. Without someone who can be an encouragement, you could fall into a cycle of putting off exercise over and over again. By making it dependent upon someone else, you would be canceling on two people if you choose to stay home, so it is extra motivation to show up.
The last two years have been extremely draining, both mentally and physically. If you have felt these effects and it has made it difficult to reclaim old healthy habits, finding ways to give yourself an energy boost may be the solution. Defeating lethargy and stress with some of these strategies can give you the motivation and excitement needed to regain your health. Getting the right amount of rest, eating a healthy diet, and drinking more water can do wonders for your energy levels, so if you struggle to initiate a healthier lifestyle, start with simple steps to energize yourself.
Having an activity or project that gives us a sense of accomplishment can improve our mental health, which is an often overlooked aspect of well-being. But the changes and stresses of the pandemic may have taken the joy out of that activity or completely reduced our capacity to do it. Your mind might be worn out, making you feel like it is not worth the energy to restart this hobby. However, consider the importance of exercising your brain and creativity in the same way that you should exercise your body. A great way to instill inspiration again is to take a look at what you have accomplished in the past. If you used to work with your hands, look at whatever it was you created. Remember the hard work that went into it and the joy you had once it was finished. Maintaining your mental health is the key to longevity and independence. Most people would prefer to stay healthy for as long as possible to avoid living in long-term care facilities, due to the issues of nursing home abuse and neglect, if they can. If necessary, find a new hobby to engage your mind and improve your mental health.
These two years have been difficult for so many reasons. It can be disappointing and frustrating to see how our health has been damaged as a result of these times, be it from the disease itself or just the amount of changes to our lifestyle. The good news is you can always start with today. Haven’t exercised in months when you used to go to the gym weekly? That’s okay, you can find a workout partner to motivate you. Has your energy level dropped and you lack the drive to get moving? There are natural ways to give you the boost you need. Just know that there are others who are feeling the same emotions that you are, but it is never too late to reclaim healthy habits or begin a new one.