If you’re finding it difficult to stay motivated during these trying times, you are not alone. Everyone faces unique concerns daily, but now we all share the added stress of worrying about our own health and that of our loved ones — all of which might make us feel overwhelmed by what seems like the weight of the world on our shoulders.
No matter your situation, I want to remind you that your fears, frustrations, or any other feelings you are experiencing, are valid. While social distancing and quarantine function to limit exposure and spread of the virus, these protocols also keep us from the people, activities, and places that might have previously served as our stress-relief from day-to-day matters. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we continue to look after our health – not just physical, but also our mental and emotional well-being.
Although physical activity is typically associated with physical health, the mental health benefits of physical activity have been widely researched. For some, it might seem that tending to our mental health is not a priority, but doing so can improve our emotional states and make a less-than-ideal situation more manageable. Here are some tips for staying active, healthy, and safe at home:
1. Listen to your mind and body.
Finding the motivation to get off your couch, change out of the oversized t-shirt you’ve been sporting for longer than you’d like to admit, and completing an at-home workout feels like searching for a needle in a haystack these days. Still, we should strive to fit movement into our routine in whatever form that may be and for however long you desire.
In my experience, sticking to a routine and practicing mindful movement have made a huge difference in my quarantine workout consistency. Some days I’m energized and enjoy the adrenaline and challenge of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout; other days I’m feeling restless and physically drained, and find release in stretching or taking a socially distanced walk around my neighborhood. The key is being in tune with what your mind needs and what your body can handle.
2. Keep it fun.
For many of us, what we miss most about our gym is the community. If you find it easier to stick to a workout routine with a buddy, reach out to a friend to set up a zoom date.
Also, check out UCLA Recreation’s virtual fitness classes. Recreation is offering a free virtual group fitness pass, which features a diversity of classes such as yoga, total body workouts, HIIT, dance, pilates, and martial arts sessions offered through Zoom, Facebook and Instagram Live. You’re guaranteed to find a class that suits your interests.
3. Be kind to yourself.
We are our own harshest critics, and it’s dangerously easy to fall into the trap of comparison. Our minds tend to focus only on our own shortcomings, failing to acknowledge our strengths, and leaving us feeling like we are never doing enough. As our situation stands, we don’t have access to the gym, and the availability, diversity and quality of food varies from person to person. Overall, much of our situation is out of our control.
Right now, our priorities should be to get through this difficult time in good health, so be kind to yourself. Don’t make an already stressful situation worse by bullying yourself, because your body is doing the best it can, and in the end you’ll be grateful.
Nicole Dominguez is an undergraduate student at UCLA studying Psychobiology. In addition to blogging for the MoveWell pod, Nicole enjoys being outdoors, journaling, and working out with her family. Her favorite quarantine pastime is zooming with friends and listening to live music sets together.