During this time of physical isolation, I have personally struggled with finding balance in my health and wellness routines, sometimes overdoing a workout or feeling like I have to keep up with every exercise or meditation that I used to do before the pandemic.
Over the past couple months, I have found that less is more. Here are five simple ways that I use daily to feel healthy and well. Try adding one tip a day to your own routine — and see how you feel. Feel free to explore for yourself, and feel free to set aside any ideas that don’t quite work for your personality or your circumstance.
Tip #1: Natural Light
Get outside in the sun at least three times a day for at least five minutes each time. Good times are mornings, before work, as the sun rises, or shortly after it has risen to its highest — around lunchtime in your time zone — and after the workday around when the sun is setting.
Since most of us have adjusted our social and professional lives since COVID-19 to almost 90% online, getting natural light and having breaks away from our screens is vital for our health.
I make sure to sit outside when I wake before looking at my computer or phone. For me, it is meditative and helps set my mind before my day starts. I also make sure to take a break midday — either a short walk, lunch outside (weather permitting), or a meeting where it isn’t necessary to be in front of my screen.
After the workday has finished, I try to catch the sunset at least a couple times a week or be outdoors before it sets. If you live in a more confined situation, getting out for a short walk, to a nearby park, or just on a balcony during these times can achieve the same benefits.
Tip #2: Movement
Make sure you are continuing to move throughout the workday. Every 90 minutes, step away from your computer, stretch, take a short walk, or do a short, 5 to 10-minute workout. If your body craves longer workouts, take bigger chunks of time during the day to move, either in the morning before work, at lunchtime, or after the workday ends.
Movement has been key for my mental state during this time. Though I have usually thrived on harder, longer, more intense workouts, I have found that during this time, my body isn’t always responding in the same way it did prior to our home isolation. Emotions can run high — and sometimes asking your body to perform at a more intense level is just not feasible.
I have found that when I give myself a moment to check in — and truly honor what I’m feeling within that awareness — my body responds much better. And sometimes that is just gentle stretching, sunshine, and a long-grounded walk or hike. Other times it is a higher intensity workout, lifting weights, running, a hard hike, or yoga class.
Tip #3: Create a Daily Schedule
Even though our whole routine and schedule no longer feels the same as prior to the pandemic, it’s important to create a daily schedule in this new normal. Try to rise around the same time each day and create a morning ritual that serves you. Stay consistent with activities that keep you productive and focused on work duties throughout the day, and during the work week.
Remember to still enjoy weekends and evenings! Give yourself space to rest — be in nature, create, learn, or take part in activities and hobbies you enjoy over the weekend. Create an evening ritual that winds you down, something you can stay consistent with to help you go to bed each night.
I have found that when I follow the above steps, I feel much more grounded and clear-headed. When my daily schedule has gotten out of balance, I can easily feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. But if I can figure out what I accidentally skipped or was forced to miss, I can correct my habits and regain my calm. With so much uncertainty in our daily life, it is important to commit to what you can control.
Tip #4: Feel Your Feelings
Pandemic or not, it can be natural to feel the entire spectrum of emotions in one day — or for some of us in one hour. My belief is that this pandemic has forced us to recognize how important it is to recognize and be present to our emotional landscape.
This tip does not come easy to me. In the past, I’ve found it very serving to my ego to “work away” an emotion that doesn’t feel pleasant to be in. But, the more I fight what I am feeling, the heavier I feel – energetically, physically, and mentally.
When I surrender to the truth of what I am feeling — of what I am experiencing — the easier this knot moves through me. Remember, emotions are never permanent. But they can linger when we engage in activities that distract us from what we are feeling.
(Note: If you’re having difficulty processing your feelings, or if the emotions you are experiencing feel overwhelming, please take self-care actions by talking with a family member, friend, or therapist.)
Tip #5: Lend a Hand
Now more than ever, we don’t need to go very far to find a way to help others. As long as you are feeling healthy and well, helping can be as simple as getting groceries for an elder neighbor or a friend who is more at risk of illness. You can help deliver groceries with an organization in your neighborhood. Maybe foster a pet from a local shelter. Or start a support group online to build community during this time. (Of course, do only as much as it feels right for you. Don’t accidentally over-extend your energies either, and let these good intentions become a new source of stress!)
Personally, I have found that when I can be of service to someone else — even in the simplest way — it gets me out of my head, and makes me feel much more connected and useful. When I am lending a hand, I am less focused on my own misfortunes, and I feel beyond grateful for what I have. We can all feel we’re in this together —and there is beauty in that.
Outside of her position at BayWa r.e. Solar Systems, Alyx Walkinshaw has been a yoga teacher for over 9 years. She is honored to use yoga as a way to connect and communicate with others. As an instructor, Alyx is passionate about creating an open, encouraging, and fun environment for her students. Her classes are creatively sequenced to successfully guide students as they explore the depth of their practice and strengthen their mind, body, and spirit. When Alyx’s class participants step off their yoga mat, her intention is that they feel empowered by their own inner wisdom, strength, and voice. To find more about Alyx’s independent yoga offerings and virtual schedule, please visit her website here.
Will you be incorporating some of these employee health and wellness strategies into your company’s business practices? We want to know. Tell us your own success stories with workforce management by emailing our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share them in future posts. Remember to follow us online on LinkedIn and Twitter, subscribe to our Solar r.e.view newsletter, and bookmark our daily updated COVID-19 resource page.