How are you feeling these days?
Depending on where you live, you might still be in lockdown, or you might be fortunate enough to have been able to resume some of your normal activities, safely of course. Most of us are still working from home, and again depending where you live, fitness and yoga studios may still be closed making your active lifestyle a bit harder to maintain. By now some of the motivation behind those new year’s fitness resolutions may have lost some steam, and the early -pandemic convenience bonus of online exercise classes may have worn off, leaving you feeling challenged to get some movement in each day.
But this year, perhaps more than any other year, making movement part of your self-care routine is absolutely crucial. Both physically and emotionally, daily exercise has all benefits and no drawbacks.
Here are my top 5 tips for Making Movement Part of Your Self-care in the Now:
Commit and Schedule it.
This is key: make it a daily habit that you commit to, and show up for yourself. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity and schedule the time in your calendar 5 days out of the week, and stick to it. It should be like brushing your teeth or eating meals – you do it because your wellness depends on it. If you really don’t feel up to it that day (hey, I believe in self-compassion too!) do something gentle, like taking a 15-minute brisk walk outside in nature, or taking some slow, restorative yoga poses and meditating. We can all fit that in our day, and if you think you don’t have time, try cutting one hour of TV or Netflix or Social Media scrolling out of your day.
Make it Something You Enjoy.
Doing something you hate just because you feel it’s good for you won’t last, unless you have superhuman levels of determination. Finding a movement practice you enjoy, whether it is a live online yoga or fitness class, a streamed recorded class, a run, a hike or time spent on an elliptical or stationary bike, will make it so much easier to stick to – you may even wake up looking forward to it. This doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing every day, mix it up if you like, variety is the spice after all, and when most days feel like Groundhog Day, I personally need to inject some variety into my movement. I personally like to alternate vinyasa-style and yin yoga with barre workouts, and I’ve been incorporating snowshoeing this winter since the ski hills have been mostly closed in Ontario, where I live, until very recently.
Support Your Body with the Right Nutrients, Before and After Exercise.
Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee. Like really love it. I do have to limit to one per day though, because more just makes me anxious and interferes with my sleep. I find I can’t have coffee before I practice yoga or barre or any type of mindful movement. I am very type A and it just makes my brain run all over the map, so I can’t focus on being present and syncing my breath with movement. But I do need a bit of a motivator before a workout. Which is why I created Green Energy,
a clean, plant-based, caffeine-free, delicious berry pre-workout that is actually good for you. Packed with superfood ingredients like spinach, beetroot, maca, acai as well as vegan-sourced amino acids to provide energy and stamina without the jitters. Plus it is vegan, paleo, keto and fasting-friendly with zero sugars or calories, and no artificials. It’s so delicious that the thought of drinking it actually does motivate me to get into my tights and onto my mat. And for after, or as an intra-workout if it’s especially sweaty, I use Niyama’s After Practice Replenish & Repair
to help replace electrolytes and support muscle and immune recovery, and reduce next day soreness. In a delicious light pineapple coconut flavour, it is seriously refreshing and the l-glutamine and vitamin C help with immune function.
I’m also a huge fan of plant protein smoothies and smoothie bowls, and 90% off the time that is my breakfast. I load up my blender with a scoop of Organic Plant Protein,
some frozen berries, and a healthy fat source like a tablespoon of MCT oil or nut butter or ground flax seeds, or a bit of avocado, add water and blend away.
Make it Social
If you are finding it hard to motivate yourself alone, enlist a friend or family member. Whether it is joining an online class together but apart, or exercising outdoors in a socially distanced way (loving the snowshoe walks with my husband or a friend), making it something you do with someone else can make your workout more fulfilling, and harder to skip. Plus it brings some much needed connection into your day.
Take a rest day each week – if you function better doing exercise every single day and a day off really throws you, then make one day a week really light – just a walk or some low-impact stretches and let your body rest. And ensure you are getting enough sleep – most adults need 7-9 hours of good quality sleep on a regular basis to function optimally
And if you miss a few days or have a bit of a lapse, don’t beat yourself up. We are living through very difficult times, and it’s really dragging on, challenging our mental and emotional health every single day. Just showing up some days (or weeks) is really hard. But get back into it as soon as you can – don’t let days turn into weeks and weeks into months. You will 100% feel better if you get your activity in – your stress levels will be reduced, your mental and emotional health improved and you might even emerge from this with a stronger, happier body, that you feel great living in.