Move Your Body to Fight Quarantine Fatigue
Shelter in place and social distancing have shown us many challenges in the last four months. We are faced with bleak news every day on social media. Many of us are working from home and some of you were also parenting AND teaching at the same time. You may not have been able to find toilet paper for awhile. And on top of a pandemic, there has been civil unrest. And during this time when we are more vulnerable to stress, our avenues for coping have been limited. We aren’t able to see those we support and who support us as often as we would like (or need). Grandparents often have to go without hugs from their grandkids. We can’t go to the gym if that was our routine. We had to meet friends virtually….after doing work virtually all day. (This was exhausting for me.) While some things have been slightly better recently (you can now go to the gym and are allowed to see friends in person with precautions) you still may not feel comfortable actually participating in Stage 3 or 4 approved activities. This all leaves us with a lot of stress and not as many ways to deal with that stress.
Movement can help. When we feel fatigue, we don’t feel like moving around. But moving is actually what is going to help the most! If you can find fun ways to move more and push through that motivation block you’ll feel a bit more like yourself and take care of that extra cortisol that builds up when we are stressed. Here are some fun ways you can motivate yourself and move your body more.
Take a walk or bike with a friend you haven’t been able to see in a while. You can easily social distance on the trail or in a low-traffic neighborhood.
Take the kids for a walk and play I-Spy or Bingo. There are a bunch of printable Bingo cards on Pinterest, or you can make your own. My in-laws like to look for change when they walk and see who can collect the most. You can get creative with this.
When you’re on a call (no video) move around. Walk around your house, jump on that treadmill that’s been sitting there for years, walk in place or do some squats, walk up and down your stairs if you have them and are able to. If you’ve just spent hours on video calls (which is usually my case) get up and move around between them.
Have a dance party! Kids will love this and your spouse might too! There are plenty of dance challenges on social media if you need some guidance, and Go Noodle is a kid-friendly app that has plenty of fun ways to move around.
Do yoga with a friend outside. Grab your mats, find a park or a yard large enough to social distance (clean up if you have a dog), and flow through all the yoga moves you know. Not only are you moving and doing something to calm your nervous system, you also get to catch up with a friend.
Hobbies, hobbies, hobbies. If you have a hobby you haven’t done in a while, get back to it if it’s active: gardening, hiking, bird watching, juggling, golf….the list is endless! I’ve even seen a resurgence of Pokemon Go recently. I wouldn’t want more screen time but if that’s what it takes to get yourself moving, you do you. If you don’t already have a hobby, start one! Find someone who has an active hobby and ask to tag along if you can social distance while doing so. Or find a list and try some things out on your own. Here’s a list of over 150 hobbies, if you need some ideas.
There are plenty of ways to get active. Find something that works for you, at whatever level you need. Not everyone wants to lift weights in their basement or go running in 90 degree heat. That’s okay. Find something you enjoy, find a friend who will enjoy it with you, and get moving!
Amanda Walters (licensed clinical professional counselor) and Kim Baldwin (licensed clinical psychologist and marriage & family therapist) have been working together to provide us with some tips for how to keep you, your family, and friends mentally healthy. Please check in for regular updates about different topics.
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