An excuse to stay inside and Netflix all day long?
Can I get a “YES, PLEASE!!”
I love a good Dead to Me binge just as much as the next gal or guy, but three(ish) days in I found myself asking....”How much of a good Dead to Me thing is toooo much of a good Dead to Me thing?” (Feel free to keep the answer to yourself, I already watched it all on Friday.)
One thing I have to actively work on, even in normal life, is balance. Sure, spend three straight days with Jen and Judy, it’s a weird time and we all deserve a little distraction. Alas, by week nine or eleven (or whenever you’ve decided to move on to watching all of Grey’s Anatomy in one sitting), mayhaps it’s time to start thinking about how to take care of our bodies in this new sedentary lifestyle. After all, humans’ (de)evolution into a sedentary species is no doubt part of the reason so many of our immune systems were so compromised come the Corona. Fun fact: according to NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), “more than 75% of the American adult population does not engage in at least 30 minutes of low-to-moderate physical activity on most days of the week.” During NON-quarantine times…
Yikes. Not totally on us. Current work standards and social norms can make it pretty difficult, but yikes. (Don’t even get me started on our eating and the government-recommended food pyramid…)
Long story short, if we can kick ass with our physical health during a pan-frickin-demic, we will more than likely be kickin’ ass (and just generally a lot healthier) after.
I’m offerin’ up 3 tiers of badassery for you: movement, food, not losing your f**king mind!
Anyhooo, you’re stuck inside. What else are you gonna do?
Totes up to you, my friend, but here are some humble suggestions.
1. Work out at home!
There is a whole internet out there full of workout options! No gym is open, so a lot of your favorite spots have moved online. This is a double winner in my book. You get a workout you know you love, and you get to support your favorite spots (especially in the time of a shutdown).
But if you aren’t looking to spend a buck, this is the internet, so anything is possible! I myself have posted several videos on my instagram of workouts you can take yourself through at home. They don’t cost a dime, and might even be… wait for it… kind of fun?
2. Hourly Movement
For some of us, dedicating 30+ workout minutes at a time on our own isn’t the easiest.
Set an hourly timer, and when it goes off – movement time! Do the same movement every time or mix it up every hour. Change up the goals, keep it fresh. Maybe one day it’s 10 pushups every hour from 9am to 9pm. Tomorrow it’s 20 squats every hour from 12pm to 5pm. Maybe you just blast Beyonce and give yourself a solid dance break every hour. Whatever gets your body movin’ works for me
3. For the love of all that is holy, Go. Out. Side.
Personally, I’m more or less incapable of staying still (that’s a whole other thing… see Section Three below…). I do, however, seem to have a case of the idle snackies. So on to….
Am I hungry? No, but my mouth is bored.
I want to make this perfectly clear: I am not asking anyone to obsess around food. I have spent too many years of my life doing that, and there is a better way to live. BUT I don’t feel great if I continually snack, especially if it’s on popcorn and other such white/tan-to-brown crunchy things. So I’d like to offer up some of the hacks I’ve used to distract my mouth.
But keep in mind, the big thing is, don’t be hard on yourself and don’t let shame get tied up. You are human, and a lot of these snack foods are made in hopes that we’ll chow down like it’s our last meal before hibernation.
1. Water... I’m sure you’ve heard this one, and gosh darnit, I wish it weren’t such a charm, but WATER. If you stay hydrated between meals, you stay satiated. Right now, as I type this article, my hand wants to grab some of that sweet air-popped corn, but instead I grabbed agua. Turns out my body really loves being hydrated. Not only are hunger cues taking a back seat, I’m taking care of myself on a cellular level. But water is BOOOORING. Ugh, it sure can be. Especially if you are a big diet soda fan. Artificial sweeteners can actually dampen our taste buds and alter the way we taste food. So much so that water can actually taste “bad.” (That’s a different topic, stay tuned, I’ll get you some interesting articles to peruse.) In the meantime! Liven it up. Add citrus. Either a spritz, or cut some yummy fruits into a pitcher of water and leave it in your fridge. They also sell water bottles with fruit in the bottom holders (that is the technical term), SEE! Or tea! Caffeine is a diuretic, so aim for something caffeine-free like a rooibos, peppermint, chamomile, etc. Not to mention teas have pretty bomb ass benefits on their own. My mom just got me THIS BRAND and I’m low-key obsessed.
2. Plan Healthy Snacks that Satisfy Your Craving. You know you’re going to be locked up in your home (or at an office after all this) with nothing but snacks and your willpower… and maybe a roommate who is testing your willpower because they are also eating your snacks… pretty damn quickly... SLOW DOWN, JENNIFER! Sorry. I’m back.
The point is, if you know it’s happening, you can plan for it. Personally, my snack of choice is crunchy AF – preferably corn that has been doused in unpronounceable oils and popped past perfection – but any crunchy will do. So I prepare. Carrots? Crunchy AF. If they aren’t hitting the spot exactly, I toss in some hummus, babaganoush or guacamole, because yum. Other good alternatives, for me, are kale chips, Mary’s Crackers, green beans, celery, various nuts, you get it.
The other big thing? I didn’t buy popcorn.
Wouldn’t have been the end of the world if I did… but it would have been the end of the popcorn within the first 15 minutes of entering my home.
Here are some ideas for good, healthy, yummy snacks:
Google Healthy/Gluten-Free/Sugar Free/Dairy Free Snacks ;)
3. Space It Out. Sometimes the water thing just doesn’t cut it because… it’s water… what can I say? I love bubbles. If I find if I have that insatiable crunchy crave, and ain’t nothin gonna cut it but that corn filled with air, I space it out. Kind of like a reward system. I give myself a task. Do the laundry. Read 60 pages for book club (yeah, I’m in a book club). Shave the cat and then glue all of its hair back on. Whatever the task is, put that between you and your next snack. This is also a great opportunity (judgement free) to notice what might come up for you in between snackies. Are you always thinking about food? Are you judging wanting food? Are you racing through the task? Are you super chill and all like, Kinsey calm down we don’t all have past or current eating disorders? (kudos to you) Food can be a very personal and highly emotional thing for some of (a lot of) us. Rather than talking down to yourself, use it as an opportunity to explore your relationship with it. Maybe even journal!
Which brings me to PART 3!
I mean, Mindfulness.
You’ve got some movement hacks. You’ve got the eating tricks. Now we juice up your brain.
This may shock you, but this is the hardest part for me. We can practice these together, and as with anything I write about, I’m always grateful to hear suggestions from you! (Cuz we’re smarter together!)
That being said, there are some things that really make life magical… when I bother to do them.
1. Meditation or Breathwork. It’s kind of like water in lieu of snacking. We’ve probably all heard about some type of meditation practice for mindfulness, but that’s because it works. The key is consistency. Like working out, meditation and breathwork are a personal preference. There are plenty of great apps to which I’ve been referred: Insight Timer, Headspace, Simple Habit, etc.
TBH, I have never really been able to commit to an app; but like dating apps, just ‘cuz it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect for you! Personally, I like a good guided meditation. I always seem to lean toward Abraham Hicks, personally. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has been giving Wim Hof Breathing a go. If you haven’t heard of Wim Hof (you can also search “The Iceman”), definitely check him out for the amazing story that is his life. (Stay tuned on this, I am sure there is a Wim-centric blog coming your way.)
5 to 60 minutes a day, and I promise, you’ll feel the shift.
2. Journal Oh yeah. I said it. If you are anything like me, there have been several times in your life journaling has been suggested, and if it hasn’t been? Congratulations! You probably don’t suffer from a non-stop brain and semi-crippling anxiety (at times… ahem). But journaling is the literal shit for lots of reasons. For one, it just gets things out of your head and helps to clear your mind. I also find that any seemingly un-tacklable problem gets a lot more manageable when I can see it on paper. Our brains have a fun way of making mountains out of (basically imagined) molehills. Journaling is also fun because it can stimulate creative pursuits. Whatever your case may be, give it a try. Get to know yourself a little better. There are three types of journaling I do:
I put my pen to paper (some people use computers, but I love that good ol’ fashion ink stain on my pinky) and write. No planned destination. I literally let my brain DUMP. It’s a lovely way to reset and get to the bottom of what's harshin’ my mellow, or just empty out so I can fall asleep.
Every morning when I wake up, I write at least 3 things I am grateful for. Every night, right before bed, I scratch down 5-10 things that happened that day I am grateful for. My friends, this world is truly one of perception. In the words of Jen Sincero, “You are the master of your reality, and your perception is manning the control knobs.” Especially in times of uncertainty, explore your gratitude, and live a little brighter.
Which brings me to… Writing Prompts. As of late, I have found myself real in love with writing prompts. The two I’m crushing on hard as of meow are the aforementioned Jen Sincero & Brene Brown. These may not be your cup of tea (I don’t know WHYYY… jk), but don’t you worry, there are plenty of other prompts out there. This is a great way to get yourself started on journaling. Even if no one is ever going to read these things, sometimes we freeze. Why not use a little help?
I once had a friend who was told to journal every day. He hated the idea, but he knew every piece of advice he’d received from this particular person had changed his life for the better. What did he do? He sat down at his desk and picked up a pen. For the first few weeks, nothing came to him, but because he was determined to do this anyway, he wrote pages of: “I am writing. I am writing.” He said even that was weirdly meditative on its own, but after several weeks, suddenly his mind cleared and he was able to work through some of the most deeply rooted shit he had ever come up against, and now he’s free of it. Because he dug deep, recognized it, and dumped his brain.
3) Take a bath. Clean that porcelain like you’ve been promising yourself you would, grab some epsom salt, and soak. It’s detoxifying, it’s relaxing, and baby, you’re worth it. Relax for 20 minutes, or an hour! Grab a book, play some music, and relax that sweet self of yours.
Well, there you have it.
A few humble suggestions on how to keep yourself on track during quarantine times.
There are sooo many other things, I’m sure, and if you have one that you love and want to share, please post below in the comments.
Remember, just because the world is shutting down doesn’t mean we have to.
Instead, let’s use this as an opportunity to thrive!