Re-defining the Joy of Movement During High Stress Times
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COVID-19 Self-Care: Feel Good With Joyful Movement


woman sitting cross legged on a yoga mat with hands in prayer poseWe are currently facing a global pandemic. These are unprecedented times that bring with them a level of fear and uncertainty that I have never faced in my lifetime. The heightened community stress and fear of the unknown has become an undercurrent in our day-to-day lives.

During these tough times, we have all had to adapt.

I feel very lucky that I can continue to support current and future clients from home. I am cognizant that there are many who are not so lucky.

With this new reality, I am working completely virtually with nutrition counselling clients to help them create a new routine, to support them in creating a flexible plan for meals that fits into this reality, to brainstorm enjoyable ways to move their bodies, and, of course, how to manage the stress the best that they can.

And here is the thing, I am doing the same for me too.

Like many of my clients, physical activity has been my go-to for stress reduction for as long as I can remember. With the pandemic, my favourite ways to move my body have to change. I do not have access to heavy weights to throw around when I am frustrated with this situation. I don’t even have light weights to throw around to be honest.

The equipment I have access to right now, includes a yoga mat and sneakers.

At first, I was worried. But I am slowly finding my new normal and really starting to like this part of my new routine!

Oddly enough, it was around this time last year that I started getting outside of the gym and enjoying running again. Then I ran my first half marathon, which led me back into the gym to the weights. That is why I LOVE focusing on Joyful Movement. By looking at physical activity as joyful movement instead of an exercise regime it gives us freedom to move our bodies in the way that make up feel good without prescription or rules.

So what has changed in terms of joyful movement for me?

Let me fill you in, and maybe, it will spark some fun ideas for you too.


1. Make time in each day for movement.

I am a fan of schedules. I like routines and structure, as long as they are flexible enough to give freedom for choice. So during this pandemic, I plan for the time of day that I will move my body.


2. Mix it up

There are a surprising number of options that can be done without much equipment.
Yes, there are the classic options like running, walking, and biking. But there are so many workouts or classes that can be done such as body-weight strength workouts, pilates, yoga, barre, high intensity circuits, aerobics, plyometric workouts, skipping, stretching, dancing, and I am sure many more.

There are options through apps, YouTube, social media, and even through local fitness studios. For a few ideas check out our recent blog post here: FREE COVID-19 Fitness Apps, Yoga and Meditation Resources


3. Have Fun with it

Be ready to laugh at yourself if needed. This is meant to be fun. We are moving our bodies for the enjoyment of it. If you are only in it for the calorie burn, then I promise, you will burn yourself out and that is not helpful during these high stress times.

Just this week, I was aimlessly scrolling my Instagram feed when I noticed a local barre instructor was “live” on their feed and just starting to lead an at home barre class. So I jumped up and joined in.

It wasn’t pretty and it felt super awkward in moments, but my goodness I enjoyed myself. The instructor even had us use wine bottles or books in place of dumbbells when a weight was needed.


4. Focus on how it makes you feel!

I have had a love-hate relationship with yoga over the years. In the past few weeks, yoga has made a comeback for me. It forces me to turn away from all my screens and technology and provides a focused amount of time just for me. The focus is on the movement and the breathing allowing me to take my mind off of my worries. The result is that I feel better and I sleep better.

I am not saying that you need to do yoga. I am telling you that finding an outlet that makes you feel good, is an outlet worth repeating.


5. Take rest days

Just because you are at home, you may have more time, and now you have found this fantastic, feel-good form of joyful movement, doesn’t mean you need to do it daily.

Your body needs rest and recovery just as much now, during high stress, as any other time.

During these times, you can turn to other stress management ideas such as: journaling, phoning a friend, cuddling with your pet, cleaning or organizing, baking, making music, or taking a nap.

Looking for more healthy living tips?

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Looking for personalized online nutrition counseling?

If you are looking for nutrition support from home we can help! We’ve been offering virtual online nutritionist support by our Virtual Dietitian team for some time and can hand hold you through the process. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to use even if you are not technologically savvy. Read more about our Online Nutritionist services here: Our Practice is Open but we are working entirely Virtually for public health safety during the COVID-19 pandemic

PS Don’t forget to check with your insurance coverage, health spending account or private health services plan and see if you are covered for Registered Dietitian services.

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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