COVID is a crisis like no other. It has thrown us into an unfamiliar world, full of uncertainty and discomfort. This pandemic has required us to stay at home, away from our family, friends and be forced into a routine confined by our home's four walls.
Many of us have been at home and doing less in terms of social interactions and exercise, or conversely, maybe you have used the time away as an opportunity to create space and focus on your personal growth. Perhaps you have made a change to your health and wellness or picked up a new hobby that in "normal" life you wouldn't have had the chance to do! Regardless of how you have spent your time - we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the positives and negatives we have seen our clients go through during isolation and to help guide you on a positive path from here!
We've seen the lows...
- Less exercise and motivation to exercise: Gyms have shut, group training sessions suspended and normal training programs have gone out the door. For some, it can be hard enough to stay motivated even with these groups to help keep us on track but throw isolation into the mix and it was a recipe to fall off the bandwagon! It is TOUGH exercising at home, day in and day out. Variety is lacking and if you don't have the motivation and goals to work towards, it's more than likely that you started a workout program but 3-4 months later it's no longer here.
& the HIGHS...
- Some people have loved the chance to mix up their workouts!!! They have set goals that they are working towards and/or just know how fabulous daily movement can make them feel. For these guys, exercise through isolation has been a priority to keep their mind and body strong. We recognise the benefits of daily movement, but more than ever the importance of movement has been highlighted to us. We have noticed our clients thrive - they have a set goal and they are feeling amazing, this means that they actually WANT to exercise. It has also been a chance to re-set and look for workouts that aren't part of the usual routine. Youtube "real-time" pilates, yoga and strength workouts have been a go-to! They have been easy to squeeze in before work in the morning and leave us no excuses! The variety has given us the choice to listen to our body and freely choose workouts suited to how we are feeling on that particular day - this is a part of isolation that we would love to see stick around!
From panic buying pre-packaged foods to snacking all day every day...
- Sound familiar? Many of us didn't really want to head to the shop in fear of contracting the virus that shall not be named. This meant that some of us stocked up on pre-packaged and highly refined foods. Foods like cake mixes, flour, white rice, frozen meals - you know, the ones that could last a lifetime without perishing? The reason that they don't perish easily is that they are highly processed and full of additives/ preservatives. These additives are detrimental to our health and are not part of a healthy diet! We have lost out on nutrition through whole foods - fruits and vegetables and have wound up feeling 'yuck'. On top of this - continually eating refined carbohydrates spikes insulin levels and makes us CRAVE food, food and more food! We have received enough energy through our food but we keep eating, snacking and can't be satisfied with just one meal. Weight begins to pile on, clothes become tighter, our energy decreases and mindset follows.
Learned to prepare, batch prep and look experiment with new healthy recipes
- This trend is actually one we have noticed more and more of! We have been increasingly pleasantly surprised by the number of patients we have seen wanting assistance with their diet! These patients have been able to begin on their path to wellness - they have had extra time and energy to put into their wellbeing and in turn, have seen incredible results! By consuming foods that are specifically tailored to their body they have strengthened their immune system, have decreased inflammation and have started to heal their body. They have lost weight, gained energy and feel amazing!
Some of the keys to their success are:
- Increased intake of whole foods fruits, vegetables and low glycaemic load carbohydrates
- Increased water intake
- Minimized snacking
- Cut out processed foods and refined sugars
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine
- Asked for help. It's tough to make change alone, especially if you don't know what you should and shouldn't be putting in your body. We take the guesswork out of nutrition and help them to stay accountable!
SOCIAL ISOLATION OR CONNECTION
This has been the most difficult part for so many. Government restrictions have forced many into isolation, unable to see family and friends. They may have been stood down from work or told to work from home, alone. They may have been keeping a distance from elderly or at-risk loved ones which in turn has many people feeling stressed, lonely and isolated. Humans rely on a connection to others so it is no surprise that for some, mental health has suffered during this time.
Spending quality time with loved ones and creating a deeper connection
For some others who have been lucky to be isolated with family, the extra time together allowed for them to deepen their connection and prioritise spending time together. For the first time in a long time, board games have had the dust blown away! Bikes, scooters and skateboards have been given a workout while families have been out playing and exercising together. It has also forced us to pick up the phone and ring friends and family who we know might be struggling. As a community people have banded together to help and support one another. This is another positive of isolation that we would love to see stick around!
SO, WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Now we have explored the highs and lows, its time to talk about the "what now."
Perhaps you are feeling a little low and want to transition back into normal life in the best way you can! Here is what we have found to work, time in and time out.
1. FIND THE RIGHT FUEL FOR YOUR BODY! Food really does dictate your mood and is the foundation of all else. If we can recommend that you make only one small change, it would be to find what works and boost your diet with nutritious wholesome foods!
2. Begin with gentle movement. Aim for 20 - 30 minutes of activity per day! Get outside again and organise a walk with a friend. Commit to each other, that way you will have a workout buddy and someone to keep you accountable!
3. Ring a mate who you know needs a chat. This one is that simple. Just the act of reaching out to a loved one will help boost their mood.
4. Write a list of the things you have really enjoyed about isolation and the things that you wish to leave behind. This is an opportunity for a fresh start. Decide what habits you would like to keep as a part of your routine and schedule them into your new diary! We hope that you are doing well and can't wait to see you on the other side, thriving! If you would like to get on top of your diet and make positive change, please reach out - send us an email or leave a message! We would love to help you!