Re-defining the Joy of Movement During High Stress Times
COVID-19 Self-Care: Feel Good With Joyful Movement
We 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.
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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.
Disordered Eating, Emotional Eating & Sports Nutrition
Fitness enthusiast and lover of all things food, Jana is passionate about helping her clients improve their relationship with food and their body. She is a strong, motivational leader. Jana also offers the balance of a warm, supportive coaching style to nudge her clients from their comfort zone while feeling safe and supported. She specializes in mental health, eating disorders, body image and sports nutrition.