How to save your sanity through the coronavirus pandemic
I have no idea what is happening from moment to moment. Every single person on this earth right now is walking on uncharted territory. Yes, something similar happened in 1918 with the measles epidemic and and a few other times throughout history, but this current situation is unique to where we are in this exact moment in time. So we are in this boat together, y'all. Our individual circumstances differ but the fear and uncertainty is all the same. What are you doing right now to keep a solid foundation to stay sane?
I heard a great quote from the T.D Jakes the other day " Feel the fear and do it anyways." This quote is applicable in many situations including the ones we are in currently. Keep reading for some tips on keeping balance through the chaos.
Before Covid19 became an official pandemic, I had already scheduled an 8 week period of placing myself in a purposeful caloric deficit so that I could have visible abs. In hindsight this goal may seem so insignificant compared to the important things that are going on in the world right now. But it means so much more to me. Let me clarify. I look at this like a fast. For 8 weeks, I decided that I will be purposeful with every single thing I eat and drink. I will fast from eating out, I will fast from alcohol, I will fast from anything that would go beyond my allotted macros for any given day.
With or without coronavirus coming to the US and disrupting all of life as we know it, my eight weeks of purposeful fat loss has kept me on a consistent schedule of waking up every day between 4 and 430 to do my daily devotionals and then preparing to workout prior to going to work. And then the unthinkable happened..... All gyms closed. MY GYM, my safe haven, my place to de-stress, my second family. CLOSED. I would be a prodigious liar if I told you I was okay with this news. I wasn't. I panicked. I cried. The gym is literally my anti- depressant and I was so fearful of living day to day without my medicine.
But be anxious in nothing and in everything be steadfast in prayer. Romans 8:18 " For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us." I sat on it. I prayed for my requests to God be known and I meditated to open my heart to His answers.
This is the true test for everyone. To stay disciplined when it feels like everything is working against you. So I continue to do food prep even if it means paying a little more for the small fancy packages of rice and the fanciest organic cage free eggs that I could find (because they were so expensive no one else wanted them). I continue to wake up every morning and force myself to do some sort of body weight cardio workout in my living room after chugging
pre-workout and blasting hardcore music to set the mood. It sucks. There is nothing I enjoy about any sort of workout that does not involve a barbell. I am suffering mentally the whole time. BUT. There is no such thing as a "bad" workout and I have yet to regret getting up early and getting my sweat on at home. I still make my morning smoothie (no weightlifting = less carbs *womp womp*), I still eat the same foods I've been eating before everything shut down, I'm still drinking 120-130 ounces of water daily and peeing my little heart out. My nutrition is my meditation and my prayer. It's my only constant routine right now. It is not easy but it saves me from unnecessary anxiety and guilt of eating crap food that will make my body feel terrible. The junk food also gives me brain fog which I definitely can't afford to have right now at work. Stress eating is my go to habit. It's not like the thoughts haven't ran through my head. I have a whole entire package of Oreos in my kitchen that I have been tempted to eat all in one sitting on multiple occasions. I can do this though. I am stronger than the food I eat and so are you.
You are stronger than you think you are
Your thoughts are malleable. You are stronger than the negative ways in which you talk to yourself. Your willpower will waver only if you allow it to. Your immune system depends on the food you eat, the quality and duration that you sleep and how you manage stress. These are unprecedented times where being physically and mentally healthy could literally save your life! In this extra time that most of us have been given, self care can be a priority. As my beautiful friend Nancy recently quoted in her blog:
When you listen to the safety lecture on a flight, they will tell you to put your oxygen mask on first BEFORE you help the person next to you.
Self care is not selfish. Self care is necessary. If you are unwell whether that be physically or mentally, how can you care for others?
What the news isn't saying about the Covid19 pandemic
Once this pandemic dies down, there will be overwhelming evidence that one of the most predictive values of who got hit the hardest from the virus largely depended on the health and fitness level of the person. This isn't just affecting older people anymore. In fact, people of all ages are succumbing to the virus, even "healthy" people. Are most Americans healthy though? Before our every day lives came to a screeching halt, were most Americans getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly? Are we exercising a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-5 days per week? Are we eating 3-5 servings of vegetables daily? Most importantly, what are the mass majority doing to manage our daily stresses from an emotional standpoint? Where does the American lifestyle of distraction and quick fix come into play in this discussion of preparedness? As we become acutely aware of a flawed and impaired infrastructure that was unprepared for this pandemic, it seems natural to also start evaluating on a personal level whether our bodies have the supplies and defense to ward off threats to our well being.
Things you can do to maintain balance in the chaos
Create an environment that will set you up for success.
Keep your refrigerator full of prepared foods that will fit your goals and make it difficult to fail.
Make health a priority now that there is extra time at home.
Learn how to cook!
Get optimal sleep. 7-8 hours per night, whatever is optimal for you as an individual.
Keep consistent times for sleeping and waking every day of the week even if you aren't having to go into work.
Start your day with a balanced, nutritious breakfast to set the tone for your day. By balanced I mean not just carbohydrates. No more bowl of cereal! Add some fats and protein to keep you full. For example, eggs with sautéed spinach and tomatoes, avocado toast with ham/ turkey bacon, or peanut butter with a banana and a protein shake.
Gratitude journal! Either to begin or end your day. Simply writing down a few things you are grateful for can completely shift your perspective. Life is all about perspective.
Reduce external stress by reducing social media and mass media consumption
Create habits now in the downtime of this pandemic to create new lifelong habits to fulfill your true goals- nutrition related or not.
Control your emotions. Control your thoughts. They will lead all decisions you make in life. This is not an easy task. Start the work now while you are safe at home with less distractions.
Learn how to meditate
Virtual dinner date with friends
Declutter your living space
Let yourself just BE. You can use this time wisely to do activities and work on self -care. But it is also ok to simply sit still as you cope through the crisis
Things you can abstain from to maintain balance in the chaos
Don't lash out on people close to you out of fear of this situation.
Don't spend time in the hypothetical.
Don't minimize the suffering of others
Don't compare your suffering to anyone else's.
Don't let exterior circumstances steal your peace.
Healthy non perishable quarantine snack ideas
This quarantine doesn't have to ruin all your health and fitness goals.
Trail mix. Find fun combos here (the ones with M&Ms may not be the healthiest): https://greatist.com/health/21-healthier-trail-mix-ideas#sweet
Pretzels and peanut butter
Rice cakes. Get fancy with it: https://www.writerranks.com/im-all-about-those-drooling-worthy-rice-cake-combos-honestly-i-love-rice-cakes-because-theyre-s-2/
Dark chocolate (70% or more) and dried fruit
Beef jerky, Turkey jerky. Try going for ones that don't have added sugars like these: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Links-Zero-Sugar-Jerky/dp/B07R6V1C1R or make your own at home as a fun activity to do with the kids!
Curried baked carrot chips (vegan friendly)
Whole wheat pita chips and hummus
We are all walking different journeys in life right now, but we are all human. Our hope here at Sophrosyne Health is for peace in the midst of chaos for each and every one of you.