As a chronic overthinker, I tend to wonder and worry… a lot. Before the official Stay-at-Home order, I worried about what would happen if we remained open. I worried about what would happen if I contracted COVID-19 and unknowingly passed it along to members, co-workers, friends, and family. I worried about what might happen if I was forced to self-quarantine, work remotely, and rely on other people to take care of me.
Well, the Universe had some plans; we received work-from-home and stay-at-home orders, the gym moved “online,” much like the rest of our lives for the time being. It wasn’t long before new worries started to spring up.
What if I couldn’t stay motivated to work out in my living room? What if I could no longer access my fresh produce and quality protein sources? What if I gained weight and my clothes got a little tighter while at home? What if all my progress was lost?
I’m certain that I am not the only one who’s had these thoughts. No matter how many times that others reassured me, or I tried to tell myself, that “everything will be okay,” I was still afraid. Afraid of the unknowns, afraid of the “what ifs,” and afraid of the uncontrollable change around me.
As I made the transition to my new stay-at-home life, I began to hear so many messages and feel a whirlwind of emotions, many of them conflicting. This put my already overanalytical mind in even more of a tizzy.
On one hand, I was hearing messages that “self-qauarantine = self-improvement” and if we weren’t coming out of isolation with building a new skill, completing a renovation project, or fitting into the skinny jeans we found while we Marie-Kondo’d our homes, then we didn’t use this time to our advantage. “Better or BUST!”
On the other hand, I was hearing messages that “self-quarantine = self-preservation” and that it was okay to try to just make it through the day. Whatever it takes to get by, whether that’s wearing the same yoga pants three days in a row, ordering more takeout than ever, stocking up on booze, or just plopping kids in front of cartoons, that’s what we should be using this time for. “Just SURVIVE.”
This dichotomy of one extreme and the other left me feeling pulled in different directions.
I like this whole stay-at-home thing, but I feel guilty for enjoying it at the same time. What are my goals? I really don’t care that I never finished that book. What’s a sourdough starter?! I wish *I* had a six-pack. What do I actually DO for fun? There are people dying, and here I am wanting coffee from a coffee-shop instead of my kitchen. Ooooh, pizza specials!
And down the spiral-slide my mind went. The messages, the pictures, the Instagram quotes that I saw directing me this, that, and every which way made certainly weren’t helping me focus on a tangible solution to refocusing my mental and emotional energy so I could feel better being on such a rollercoaster of emotions. I recognize I need to clean up and limit my media intake, but I digress.
So, where’s the middle? To quote a wise old king, Mufasa (may he rest in peace), “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance.” While Mufasa was talking to Simba about nature and the “way of life,” the same can be said for our health and fitness journeys. This journey is rarely black and white; it’s ups and downs, it’s wins and losses learnings, it’s max-out-effort and rest. It’s balance, it’s progress. At Unity, we’re coached about this perspective from day one and reminded constantly.
Both in our wellness journeys and in life, we are constantly being pulled in different directions by so many messages. At the end of each and every day, we have to not only create our own messages to ourselves, but also be okay with that message. We must take responsibility for our choices and for our actions – whether or not those aligned with our goals. Hopefully we make more choices that are aligned with our goals, as that consistency is what leads us to success. But, if we don’t, we should focus on what learned about ourselves in that decision, instead of beating ourselves up over it.
Have I enjoyed ice cream and wine lately? Probably more in the past three months than I had in the previous six prior to quarantine. Have I tried new nutrient-rich recipes? Some, but not as many as I’d like. Am I still keeping up with my workouts? Absolutely, and I’ve added more activities to my day as well. Do I still prepare a weekly menu and batch cook? You bet. There are some days that are harder than others to feel like I’m keeping up with my goals, and there are other days in which I’m crushing it. No matter what kind of day it is, what kind of messages I hear and tell myself, or what kind of choices I am making, it’s really up to me to strike the balance needed to both thrive and survive.
I have done new things before. I have done hard things before. I have been successful managing change that I could not control before, and I am able to control me. All of my previous experiences, while not related at all to a coronavirus outbreak, helped me develop the skills and abilities I need to do and feel my best, generate positivity, and foresight and confidence to know that “everything will be okay,” not only in my workouts and nutrition, but in life.