We can all agree by now that 2020 has been a tough year for most of us. Surely you’ve heard the term new normal quite a lot these days. In fact, you’re living in it. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the globe, life has never been the same for most people. Our routines have changed for who knows how long, and it gets tougher each day to adapt to the new context.
As work, school, and social life have moved online and into the confines of our homes, we are forced to accept that life will never be the same as it was before, at least for a little longer than we expected. One thing that is certain, adjusting to change can be a bit of a struggle, especially dealing with an unprecedented shift in your way of life.
Adapting to a Post Pandemic World
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting everything in the world since 2020, many of us are no longer able to actively participate in our regular physical activities outside of our homes. Chances are you might have fallen victim to unhealthy habits such as irregular sleep patterns, longer screen time, and poor diet, which affect both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Obviously, not everyone gets the hang of adjusting to change, and that’s normal. When your life gets upheaved by the sudden changes due to this pandemic, you don’t have much choice but be open to those changes. Sure, you’re allowed to miss and grieve the old ways like a normal human being. There will be anger, denial, maybe even anxiety and depression as you struggle to adjust to the new normal. What matters is that you give yourself time to accept things and adapt to the current situation. Being open to change is a good thing, whether or not you’re in the middle of a pandemic.
How to Stay Fit and Healthy in 2021
You may be in a rut right now, bad habits creep back in, and stress and temptation are always lurking. However, it’s not yet too late to make healthy and informed choices to improve your lifestyle. Whether you’re someone who is just starting out or someone who just needs a little push to stay on track, here are some steps you can take to stay fit and healthy in 2021:
Write down your reasons
First, ask yourself why you want to stay fit and healthy. Write down what a healthy lifestyle means to you and what it can do for your body, your mind, your relationships, and your goals in life. Having the wrong reasons might set you up for failure in the long run, so it’s important for your goals to be born out of desire and not of obligation. Besides, it’s nice to have something you can count on during tough times to remind yourself why you started in the first place.
The more reasons you have, the more you will feel motivated to start improving your lifestyle. Educate yourself by finding credible sources that make sound claims about food and exercise. Change your habits by drawing inspiration from books, blogs, and videos related to healthy eating, and following influencers you can relate to online. Check out their diet, behavior, and perception but always be critical of every information you read before trying things out. Since motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you, low points will come eventually and your reasons will serve as a great reminder for you to stay on track and keep going.
Set realistic goals
It’s one thing to set goals for staying fit and healthy, but it’s another thing to make them realistic and achievable. Your goals can be as simple as cutting carbs or refined sugar, drinking at least eight glasses of water daily, incorporating fruits and vegetables into three meals a day, or climbing the stairs without getting out of breath. Instead of aiming for the abstract goal of staying fit and healthy, try to really come up with concrete and measurable goals that you would want to do so you can feel a sense of accomplishment and ultimately achieve your overall goal.
Keep a food and mood journal
It’s true what they say that you are what you eat. Everything you consume becomes a part of your inner being as well as your physique. So the healthier the food that you eat, the better you will look and feel about yourself. The possibility of eating a healthy diet is all around us, and keeping a food and mood journal is a great way to start. Simply document what you eat every day and how it made you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Feel free to experiment and journal your reflections so you can look back at what you’ve eaten and improve your eating habits.
Work out at home
No longer able to go to the gym since the pandemic? Surely, you don’t get to walk or drive as much as you did before in your daily commute to school or work, but don’t let this situation stop you from getting that sunlight and movement you need to stay focused and healthy. Believe it or not, there are a handful of wellness and fitness alternatives that can keep you healthy without stepping out of your home. You can try working out at home or playing sports with your family in your backyard. This can also be a great way to bond during these challenging times and feel a sense of normalcy.
The WHO recommends doing at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on five or more days each week. According to a United Nations study, the benefits of regular exercise are proven very helpful, especially in times of crisis, fear, and anxiety. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day so you stay in shape and don’t develop a sedentary lifestyle.
Practice yoga and meditation
Regardless of your age and fitness level, yoga can be a great way to jumpstart your wellness journey. This form of physical exercise and mental relaxation is a great way to slow your mind down and restore a sense of balance. First, you should learn about essential components which include breathing, meditation, intention, asanas, and relaxation. Since yoga requires a lot of practice and precaution, it is ideal to take a few classes before you start practicing on your own, just to make sure that you’re not building bad form and doing yoga incorrectly. This will help you adjust and feel comfortable so you can ease your transition to working out at home.
Alternatively, you can always download yoga applications or watch videos online to serve as your guide. Just make sure to choose wisely by looking at reviews, views, and the background of the app or trainer featured in the video. Start with a short and simple yoga session to learn the basic poses and slowly build up from there. Once you feel comfortable, you can integrate the beginner poses into a sequence and start to add more challenging poses to your routine. Just remember to follow the essential components of yoga practice no matter what type of yoga you choose to try out.
Staying fit and healthy not only requires strength and motivation, but also caution and awareness. In these trying times, it’s important to stay informed and keep an eye on the latest updates in relation to the virus. The news might easily become overwhelming at times, especially when things don’t seem to be getting any better. However, it’s important to keep your calm and not let panic get the best of you. Instead of relying on the opinions you find on social media, try getting your information from reputable sources like television reports and official news websites. Now that we’re transitioning to a post pandemic world in 2021, it’s even more important to get our facts straight to avoid causing distress and misinformation.
Rekindle your hobbies
Do you miss reading books, writing journals, taking photos, playing video games, and the like? If, for some reason, you’ve set aside your hobbies for far too long due to school or work, it’s always a good thing to get back to them. Setting aside time for yourself and indulging in activities you enjoy can create a positive effect on your mental health and wellbeing.
Be kind to yourself
Lastly, it’s always important to be kind to yourself. Learn to take things at your own pace, one at a time. More than staying fit and healthy, 2021 should be about you making things possible and being the conscious creator of your life. If you’re feeling down, anxious, and tired all the time, don’t be afraid to pause and reflect for a while. Keep in mind that it’s never too late or too early to reach out for support when you really need one.
Indeed, we’ll never know what the next days, or even the next hour, will bring in this new normal we live in. So it’s important that you stay vigilant and track your progress to stay motivated. Cut yourself some slack and learn to love ‘you’ in the process. Hopefully, these tips can help you on your journey towards staying fit and healthy in 2021.