Updated: Apr 6
First I want to say that I hope you are all staying healthy and safe out there in this wild world we live in. I'm writing this blog from my head and letting it flow as it comes because it's all I can think of to do!
With this post, I truly hope I can help put your minds somewhat at ease. I know that as time goes on and more uncertainty sets in every day, our anxiety levels are going UP UP UP. I am certainly not immune to this. As a mom, fiance, sister, daughter and friend I am almost always worried about something or someone. This is different for me, a normally very "chill" person and not someone who general carries any type of fear. But the vibe out there in the world right now is low for sure, and no matter how many Instagram posts we see that tell us to "stay strong," those feelings of worry and anxiousness always creep back in.
On the topic of social media, I see (and have posted myself) a lot of home workouts, goal setting exercises, productivity practices, and lots of other things can make us feel like shit if we aren't doing. At first, I didn't think much of it but as time goes on I feel like I need to address some of these things and what to do if you WANT to feel better, but seeing all these posts is just making you feel worse. After all, times of high stress are not always the best times to take on additional work.
As a personal trainer, my job is to get people exercising and encourage them to continue being active even when they are not physically with me. There is no doubt that exercise helps relieve stress and helps us feel in control of our bodies. However, sometimes when we are sad the last thing we want to do is a "booty blast" or an "ab workout" or anything involving the word "intensity." Many of us are also emotional eaters and that may be a big struggle for you right now as well. Maybe you have a business that you know you could be focusing on building or expanding right now, but you just can't focus on that. Social media can make these feelings worse when it seems like everyone else apparently has their quarantined shit together. But guess what - they don't, AND THAT'S OK! There is a saying that I think is pretty relevant right now: "Comparison is the thief of joy." Although times are MOST DEFINITELY weird right now, I do not think that joy can't and shouldn't exist. I actually think that it is super important right now to find joy in our life every day because that is what life is all about. But, if you are constantly comparing the way you are handling this situation to the way people on Instagram are, you will be hard-pressed to find and connect to that joy.
Personally, I've been struggling a little with this comparison thing, being a very ambitious person; the type of person who wakes up in the middle of the night with ideas and excited about my own potential. My mind is going 24/7, always thinking of ways I can learn and use my skills to further myself and help others. And while I have been putting some of my time to "productive" use, I have found myself just unable to focus some of the time. I am also not someone who compares myself to others, so when I finally checked myself, I realized it was time to STOP SCROLLING. It helped, and I think many of you might find it helpful to just delete your social media temporarily. Trust me, if something major happens, someone will tell you! You don't need Instagram to stay up to date on the current events of the world.
Finally realizing that my number one priority is simply to take care of myself, I have outlined 4 ways to do so. These tips have been helping me get in better alignment with myself, thus allowing me to get a clearer sense of how I can use my time for ways other than worry.
1. Pay attention to what you eat and drink. I do not mean go on a diet. I mean as you go about your day, pay attention to what you put into your body. If your assessment has you saying "Ohhh shit..." drink some water and eat some healthy food! Seriously, drink water - aim for half your body weight in ounces each day. Carry it around with you. Add some fruit and vegetables into every meal. Maybe cut back on some processed foods/added sugar. These foods are proven to negatively impact mental health. I promise you, this can make a huge difference in your mental and physical energy!
2. Move your body. I do not mean work out. I mean move your body in some way that feels good. Inevitably we are all sitting more these days, which sucks. So for 30 minutes each day, walk, run, stretch, dance, anything that feels good. YouTube some stretches or a fun dance you want to learn. You do not need to have intense workouts every day if you don't want to. Right now, right where you are - relax your shoulders, neck and jaw. If you just realized you were holding tension there, then you know it's time to move.
3. Get adequate sleep. Poor sleep leads to stress and vice versa. If your mind is racing at night and you can't fall asleep, try going to bed one hour earlier or changing your nightly routine. Drink some tea, stay off your phone, watch a comedy, write in a journal - anything you can do to ease your mind before attempting to sleep. Poor sleep can lead to worsened feelings of anxiety and depression. Conversely, if you find that you are sleeping A LOT - like, way more than you need to - then try waking up one hour earlier each day. Use that time to do anything other than scrolling on social media. Use that time to create peace for yourself before your day starts.
4. Practice gratitude. I know we hear this a lot, but until I began actively writing down what I was grateful for, I didn't fully understand its impact. I don't mean writing down big, broad general things like "I'm grateful for my family, my friends, my husband." While those are amazing beautiful things to be grateful for, I am talking about the small stuff. Maybe your baby slept more than 3 hours straight last night (let me know what that's like!), maybe you had a good conversation with your mom, maybe your husband did something sweet for you that was unexpected. Practicing gratitude in this way helps us to look for things to be grateful for each day. If you aim to write down (yes - physically write them down with a pen on paper) 5-10 things you are grateful for in the last 24 hours, you are so much more likely to go into the next day looking for small amazing moments you can appreciate. Don't let life pass you by
5. This is a bonus tip but it goes with #4 - keep a journal. If you have kept one before, you know how helpful it can be. If you haven't, give it a shot - what do you have to lose? You can use this journal (can just be a regular notebook - don't go crazy looking for a fancy book with tassels) to write down what you are grateful for each day. Start there! You can also use it to write down all of your overwhelming feelings when they become too much to hold onto but you don't want to share them outwardly with another person. Sometimes, doing this can help you make sense of your thoughts/emotions and figure out how to handle them. It can help you prioritize if you feel stressed. It can also help you just move on from any feelings you need to let go of. Maybe it will help you be creative. I find that just writing things down helps me get rid of those thoughts and move on.
I hope you are able to relax, find some peace and enjoy your days a little more. I know this is a sever situation and many of us have been directly affected. But remember, your first priority should be to take care of yourself. If there is any way I can be of help, please feel free to reach out at any time!
All the best to you and wishing you good health always!