In this season of uncertainty, one thing remains indisputably certain: We all need to take care of ourselves.
It’s funny how something so obvious can so easily—and so routinely—get overlooked. But then again, the world we all knew changed abruptly this spring. Classrooms moved to family rooms, offices transitioned to kitchen tables, and even though we were able to trade pencil skirts for sweatpants most days, as busy professionals we suddenly had more responsibility in a smaller space, all at once.
In these challenging times, wellness exercises—both physical and mental—most likely aren’t top of the to-do list. Getting through another identical day is, however, and intentional wellness practices could help with the at-times crippling monotony.
Melissa Hile, owner of TruHit Fitness in Paradise Valley, watched as her gym was forced to pivot immediately and her members had to switch up their routines. She loaned her equipment out to her members because, in lockdown, she knew they’d need it. And she launched a live feed on social media to encourage her members to remain engaged with their fitness goals.
“If you’re saying you can’t fit a workout in, it’s just an excuse,” Hile says, noting the positive ripple effect a fitness routine offers. “At the end of the day, someone busier than you is working out.”
Time can get away from you quickly, though, even when being quarantined seems to add hours to the day. That’s why Hile suggests getting a workout in early, before the day gets going. Squeeze it in before kids wake up, before answering Slack notifications and before sitting down to tackle a project.
“I create a date with myself almost,” Hile, a mom to young children, says of the alarm she sets each morning. “Anybody who works out in the morning makes healthier choices throughout the rest of the day.”
“Schedule breaks where you physically step out of the office and immerse yourself in the environment. Get some fresh air.”
Chung Trinh, Founder and CEO, Lighthouse Psychiatry
It is a balancing act, for sure, adds Chung Trinh, founder and CEO of Lighthouse Psychiatry in Gilbert. While suggesting we all embrace a sense of self-compassion during this time, by keeping expectations realistic, Trinh says our mental well-being benefits from physical activity and outdoor engagement.
“Schedule breaks where you physically step out of the office and immerse yourself in the environment,” he suggests. “Get some fresh air.”
To clear the mind of negativity, Trinh recommends remembering to be grateful for the goodness in our lives, even during a difficult period, and creating a clear separation between work and family. This can be achieved by shutting down and putting work away at a certain time each night, or creating a space exclusively for work and nothing else.
“Create clear boundaries,” he says. “When work is done, put it away so it’s out of sight and out of mind. Then, focus on the home life.”
And when it comes to children, Trinh says parents working from home need to understand that without structure, kids just don’t know what to do. He suggests involving them in developing solutions to challenges and frustrations, and building a structure that benefits their need for order and your need to work.
Overall, though, he encouraged everyone to look for potential upsides. “Use this as an opportunity. This is a time to break old habits that may not have been healthy,” he says. “It’s almost like making a new playbook for what wellness and positivity can look like from a self-compassion standpoint.”
Story: Lisa Van Loo