I’ve been following the development of the COVID-19 crisis pretty closely, and I have to admit that I have found the news surrounding the pandemic to very depressing on many levels. BUT, I THINK THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN DO TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION. Really! As someone who has devoted their entire working life to helping others achieve their goals, I thought that this might be an opportune time to throw a little “positivity” everyone’s way.
With the kids out of school, and so many of you parents unable to go to work, maybe you have more time on your hands than you’ve ever had. I know I have already caught up on all of the things I never have time to do, including some cleaning, painting and organizing. So now what? What if this goes on for another month, or two? Here’s my proposal:
LET’S USE THIS TIME TO EFFECT POSITIVE LIFESTYLE HABITS.
What does that mean? Well, everyone is saying they’ve been watching a lot of movies, or playing a lot of video games, and of course sitting around munching on yummy snack foods because, well, there’s nothing else to do! While that might be fun for a few days, those are not healthy lifestyle habits that we want to reinforce right now. Bad habits are hard to break, and you know what? SO ARE GOOD HABITS! So maybe we should use this “free time” to get on track to a new positive healthy lifestyle, and lay down some hard-to-break GOOD HABITS.
There is tons of research that strongly suggests that habits are habits. We tend to only understand the meaning of the word “habit” when it has negative connotations. But GOOD HABITS are equally strong. The definition of habit is: “A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Another way to say that is: “a habit is something you repeatedly do, AND something that has addictive qualities.” If you start a few GOOD HABITS now, while you have the time, come May 1st or June 1st those habits will have become strong addictive tendencies that will be hard to give up.
Here are some suggestions to try over the next 6-8 weeks:
1) Exercise MORE! It can be as simple as taking a 15-20 minute walk through the neighborhood. Try doing this EVERY DAY. Maybe when you first wake-up, or maybe after dinner.
2) Boost your well-being by taking a walk through the woods where you can hear the birds and see the trees. It is well documented that spending as little as 1 hour/day in a nature setting has strong positive effects on one’s mental and emotional well-being. Seems to me we could use a little more of that in times like these!
3) EAT BETTER FOOD! If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you know that some foods are completely wiped-out like frozen foods, rice, beans, flour, canned soups, etc., foods that most people think of essential to survival. HUH? And why are the fresh vegetables and meats, chicken, and fish readily available??? Yes, they are perishable, so people tend not to stock up on them, but these are the foods we should be eating!!!!! You have time to regularly visit the grocery store now, so buy FRESH foods and get healthy!
4) Do things with your kids. Cash in on this unprecedented amount of free-time where all of your family is actually together. Try:
a. Cooking together. Take all those FRESH foods you bought and cook FROM SCRATCH. Kids really should learn about boiling, steaming, frying, sautéing, baking, roasting, broiling, marinating, grilling, ETC. These should be considered basic survival skills. Let them pick out some recipes, or plan a meal. Stop eating out of a box!
b. Play board games/do puzzles. Board games are great ways to invoke fun social interaction, and puzzles are incredible brain strengthening exercises.
c. Exercise together. Walk, jog, ride bikes with your kids. As travel athletes, family exercise time is never a priority. Kids LIKE doing things with you, find some cool local trails and get some fresh air together!
Yes, we are on “lockdown”, yes it is very hard to stay home, and yes, these are fearful and uncertain times for sure. But maybe there is a silver-lining in this time of government mandated quarantine, maybe we can clean up our bodies, our lives, and mark this 2020 year as “the year I started taking care of myself!”
The Power Of Habit, Why We Do What We Do by Charles Duhigg
Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement by Katy Bowman
Go Wild: Eat Fat, Run Free, Be Social, and Follow Evolotion;s Other Rules for Total Health and Well-being by John Ratey
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan