Getting Back Out There and other mental health concerns….

The pandemic has been apart of our lives now for more than a year. March 12, 2020… the day that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and it was a day that all of our lives were radically and instantaneously changed. Our lives were altered in a very fundamental way, for many that kind of change can bring anxiety and pain; for all of us it has brought a whole host of new struggles.

This past year has seen increases in worry, restlessness, uncertainty, irritability, sadness, and fatigue. Reported domestic and relational problems rose along side substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. Many of us are dealing with pretty significant problems from this past year, and it is well past time for some healing and self care.

Michelle Obama confessed in an interview that she had been facing low grade depression and said,

“To think that somehow that we can just continue to rise above all the shock and the trauma and the upheaval that we have been experiencing without feeling it in that was is just unrealistic.”

Instead of trying to ‘get back to normal’ and ‘cope’ let this be a time of problem solving. Each one of us can emphasize the importance of exercise, sleep, gratitude, and empathy in our lives and in the lives of the people around us. Take some time to become aware of your thoughts and feelings, write them down and reach out to people around you, they will probably be feeling a lot of the same things. So many people have been under long term chronic stress and this amount of time, we cannot expect ourselves to recover overnight.

During the pandemic we have satisfied ourselves with social media, TV, and video games and we can be thankful those things were there to help us ‘cope‘ but they are not a substitute for real human interaction and connection. Indeed the very things that we have turned to also come with some risks. Many studies have raised questions about the some of the potential negative effects of long term use of these popular distractions.

In a year where social media might have been our only means of communicating with friends, and our evenings out on the town became evenings in front of the TV, and where video games (e-sports) were the only sports being played, it’s time to take an account and dare I say it, unplug.

THE WORLD IS RE-OPENING!

The good news is community leaders are continuing to step forward and reach out to others to offer support and encouragement. Restrictions are being lifted every day and it’s time to re-establish old routines, and create new routines that will sustain our mental and physical health. If your ready to start a fitness business, or movement, there hasn’t been a better time since the birth of the fitness industry. Take baby steps when you need to and let your energy and creativity loose when you see an opportunity you want to pursue.

What can we do moving forward?

Connect with others.

  • Think about the connections you used to enjoy and plan some new ones. The world is re-opening! Some of my favorite ways to connect are: random conversations at the gym, cafes and bars, meeting new people at sporting events, and games nights with my friends and family.

Re-engage with exercise and nutrition.

  • The pandemic limited our choices our freedom! What could we do but turn to comfort food? Now is the time to put down the comfort food. Explore and be grateful for the wealth and diversity of exercises and fitness lifestyles available to us.

Cut back on screen time.

  • Unplugging is the first step. I look at it like ripping off a band aid. You just got to do it. You just got to turn it off, then find something new to do.

Identify positives each day.

  • This year has been a marathon, in the final moments it’s important to think good thoughts so that we don’t psych ourselves out and loose energy when it matters the most. Identifying positives each day will full your tank and keep you motivated for the win, and yes one day closer to a brighter future is a positive if nothing else that day was.