As we all know 2020 has not been the year that we planned. Many things have been cancelled, delayed or have just been left in the lurch! However, on the flip side we have taken a breath. We have taken a step back. Pollution worldwide decreased, animals were roaming free and we have all coined the phrase ‘the new normal’.
The phrase ‘new normal’ is so vague, so creating your ‘new normal’ can be scary or discouraging. I have personally interpreted it as taking a step back and reflecting on your daily habits and routines. Doing some self-reflection and then actively changing reflection into self-discovery.
For me, my self-discovery started slightly rocky. At the beginning of all of this I was terrible at slowing down. I thrive on structure and in a blink of an eye my plans and my routine were out the window. At first - like we all thought - this will blow by. It is like a staycation. We can do this. As time passed I realised I needed to change my mental attitude toward the situation. I needed to adapt. However, this did not happen straight away.
There were good days. There were bad days. There were days where you just wanted to leave the house, and days where all you wanted to do was binge watch a new Netflix series. I felt like Ross in that episode of Friends, the one after he goes on a sabbatical - you know the episode. It was one extreme to another, and to be honest it took time to figure out what my routine would be like.
Throughout April I took everything day by day. I created a new morning routine for myself. I reached out to friends and family more than ever before. I also held myself accountable to do something active every day, be it a YouTube fitness video in front of my phone/TV or a pleasant stroll around my neighbourhood. I did not think about next week or next month, as this was overwhelming for me. I was just planning one day at a time.
As the month progressed, planning my form of exercise would be that sliver of resemblance to what it used to be. I would get joy from planning my workouts, and get excited during the lead up and whilst doing them. This helped me massively. Even on days that I truly did not want to do anything, I used the previous weeks as motivation to get up and do something, because we never knew when or if we will ever have this [lockdown] again.
Before the pandemic, I felt like I had really found my fitness stride. I enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself; squeezing in those few more reps, running +0.1 more, trying new classes a little out of my comfort zone and everything else that goes with it. Even though it did not come naturally to me, re-discovering exercise has helped me in so many ways. Physically is the obvious one, but for me it has helped mentally.
Exercise has helped me conquer the sense of being overwhelmed. It has added structure to the vastness of an empty schedule. It still helps me to de-stress and put my silly thoughts into perspective. Finally, it gives me joy and accomplishment. Completing a workout or a long walk is so fulfilling, and everything else is a bonus.
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