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Is Now the Perfect Time to Start a New Routine?

Written by Jennifer Koenig

Okay, if you read that headline and questioned my sanity, hear me out.  As humans, many of us are creatures of habit, and if you've been asked to quarantine, distance, or work from home, chances are your routine has been turned upside down.  

If you're like millions of Americans right now, you might have suddenly found yourself in a new routine, whether you were looking for one or not.  The coronavirus outbreak has left many people in entirely new living and working situations.  So, if you're already having to navigate a new flow for your day, why not take it as an opportunity to build some new habits into your day?  One habit we recommend is movement.

Movement and exercise are especially important right now because the benefits are almost magical (maybe I've been drawing too many unicorns with my daughter this week...).  "Exercise is a great way to manage stress," says Coach Ashley.  Most people don't get enough activity in their day as it is, and when we're stuck at home, that can get even worse.  "When we're active, exercise reduces the stress hormones in our bodies, while at the same time stimulating the production of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good hormones," Coach Ashley adds.

In addition to helping our minds feel better, exercise benefits our bodies.  It's no secret exercise keep hearts healthy and bones strong, but it can also help support your immune system.  Movement promotes good circulation which in turn helps the cells of your immune system move through your body doing their job more effectively.

So how do you get started with creating a new habit right now?  Here are a few tips from Coach Ashley.  

  1. Find something that works for you.  If you don't like running, don't run.  If your kids are grooving to Billie Eilish or Lizzo (no, just mine?), join them.  The goal is to find something that you enjoy and fits with your current lifestyle. 
  2. Try yoga or light stretching.  When you wake up first thing in the morning, doing some light stretching can be a great way to get your blood flowing, even before your first cup of coffee.  Maybe find a sunny spot in your house and take a few minutes to enjoy the calm in the morning.  
  3. Add a lunchtime movement break. If you're working from home, chances are your meetings don't have you running all over the workplace anymore, but stuck in your chair.  Taking time for a mid-day break to stretch your legs and rest your mind is a habit that will serve you well now, and when you're back in the workplace.
  4. Do a little at a time.  Building a few different times to get active into your day helps break it up and gives you little boosts of endorphins throughout the day.  

Getting started with something new is a challenge.  While you're getting started with your new routine, set little reminders for yourself.  Block the time on your calendar, put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or coffeepot, or set a timer on your phone for a mini activity break every two hours.  

In general, change is hard.  Especially in situations like this when we didn't ask for it.  But using this time to change your perspective and create new habits when you're already working through some daily changes might just be the right time for you to get started.

Need some ideas on exercises to do at home? Check out this blog post.

 

Topics: Health Tips, Stress Management, Weight Management, COVID-19

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