Remote work is the new normal for meeting professionals during quarantine life, which may be tricky if you rely on interaction at the office to keep you sane. On the flip side, remote work affords you the opportunity to integrate wellness into your day. You can play the music that helps you focus, or take movement breaks without looking strange for lunging down the office hallway.
Choose a Goal and Start a Routine
Choose a single aspect of wellness that you felt you didn’t have the time to pursue as you bustled from place to place during a normal work week. Would you love to get stronger? Increase your flexibility? Meditate? Journal? Eat healthfully? We’ll cover tips for starting on all five below.
Your daily commute, office schedule and afternoon run to a favorite coffee shop are all on hold. Creating a simple home routine related to wellness can provide a replacement ballast. Schedule your commitment like a meeting at the office and set a reminder on your phone. To keep things achievable, start your appointments at ten minutes or less a day.
Increase Strength with Pushups
With gyms and fitness classes closed, it’s important to keep active for the many benefits we know exercise brings us: It lowers blood pressure, levels hormones, increases oxygen and blood flow, strengthens the immune system and lowers stress, just to name a few!
The pushup is a perfect starting point, as it can be done anywhere with little room and no equipment. While it builds strength mainly in the chest and shoulders, a proper pushup requires stability through the entire body, especially in the core. A full, deep pushup is a mark of full body strength.
Megan Gallagher, a certified personal trainer and founder of Strong Strong Friends (known through Instagram as MegSquats) devised a free 4-week pushup program for quarantined strength gains. Whether you’re starting with half pushups, full, or advanced decline, the program will automatically customize your plan when you enter your base number of reps.
If you spent your work week before quarantine sitting for much of the day, you’re likely familiar with tight hips, calves, and a lower back. Even if your event duties required lots of movement, repeating the same movements without variety can also lead to imbalances. Mobility is important to keep us from injury during daily tasks, as well as to retain our movement abilities as we age.
Kelly Starrett is a renowned physical therapist, CrossFit trainer, author, and founder of The Ready State, a company devoted to increasing mobility. The site has a free 14-day trial that allows you to access a vast wealth of online content. Even if you don’t choose to continue after the trial, you can easily write down and perform one of your chosen mobility workouts after it ends.
Meditate—But Really This Time
You’ve read countless headlines about meditation, so we won’t go into the nitty gritty here. You know it’s good for you and there’s plenty of research to back it up. Have you had trouble fitting it in to your schedule before? Take a five-minute meditation as soon as you wake up, and another 5 minutes just before you go to sleep. There are many different types of meditation, so don’t stress about clearing your mind of every thought (it’s the hardest meditation to do). If that’s been your experience, focus instead on a simple, pleasurable situation, and recall it in all its detail. Use all five senses to create the scenario—or relive one that pleased you. It could simply be a walk you took where you noticed the smell of the coming rain, or the details of making and enjoying your morning coffee.
Journaling to Set a Mood
Like meditation, journaling is one of those tools that many aspire to but can never find five minutes to indulge. As with meditation, consider doing this as soon as you wake up or right before you go to sleep. Not sure what to write about? Writing about almost anything can provide the cathartic benefits of expression. Here are three to start with:
- Reflect on a quote. Whether through Instagram or in a book you’re reading, sometimes a quote hits home. Practice your writing by expanding on why the quote resonates with you.
- Express gratitude. Listing the simple things you enjoy throughout your day and within your life fosters greater notice and appreciation of those aspects, leading to greater ease. A gratitude practice is a form of meditation in itself.
- Describe an event in detail. Wax poetic about making lunch with your kids, the last social event you attended, the day you met your significant other, or even a dream you had. The challenge of recalling all aspects and describing them verbally can help get your creative juices flowing.
Making Simple, Healthy Home Meals
Cooking can bring the same centering effects as journaling and meditation—and it’s something you can do alone or with family you happen to be quarantined with. With many restaurants closed, now is the perfect time to devote a little attention to your culinary skills (or lack thereof).
Bon Appetit’s website has a new collection of digital resources labeled “Cooking at Home in the Time of Coronavirus,” featuring recipe collections like “89 Recipes With 5 Ingredients or Fewer—Seriously.” Head that way to master everything from simply perfect jammy soft-boiled eggs to fresh, homemade salad dressing.