By Samantha Clayton, OLY, ISSA-CPT, Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness, Herbalife Nutrition
These are stressful times. Many people struggle to master the art of working from home while balancing homeschooling and the needs of a house-bound family. With all this togetherness, it is often hard to find alone time, which can deplete us. When you struggle with energy, it impacts how much you can give to others and, most importantly, yourself.
Whether providing nutritional guidance to a global workforce, a professional athlete or my family and friends, I know the importance of powering through challenging moments. It is at times like these, when we feel the most spent, that we need to remember how to take care of ourselves. Here are 5 hard-earned tips to help you face everything from relearning algebra to handling yet another video conference call.
With all the juggling people are doing to keep themselves and their families thriving, finding time to exercise can sometimes fall down or off the “must-do” list. Movement releases endorphins, which positively impact our mood and help us reclaim energy. Without a gym or an exercise class to go to in person, many find themselves without a support group to motivate them. Online courses – from yoga to Pilates, and strength training to aerobics – are available, and many are free. Also, a daily walk, bike ride, or run before the family wakes up can help set you in an excellent mood to embrace the day.
Food is fuel and provides much-needed energy to support our bodies. Research shows that during the pandemic, unhealthy snack sales are up as people seek ways to cope by eating comfort foods they previously avoided. While challenging, it is important to seek a balanced nutrition diet that provides the nutrients you need to fuel your daily activities and promote and maintain good health. Healthy foods ensure your body gets the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work. Mix up your diet with nutritional shakes that add protein – a healthy and delicious way to power up. And to involve your entire household, make healthy eating a family affair by making creative recipes that are sneakily nutritious.
Sleep is key to replenishing our energy levels. During times of stress, people often find sleep more elusive. Creating a sleep space is key to getting good sleep and it starts with a dark room free of distractions. Dedicate your bedroom exclusively to sleep if you are able, so you aren’t tempted to work or do hobbies. Take a break from the digital world and when you head to bed, leave the electronic devices in another place. Like many parents do for their babies, create a sleep ritual: a hot bath, a great book, a cup of herbal tea, and then lights out.
Even though you may be surrounded by family and colleagues via video, there is nothing like speaking with a good friend or long-distance relative to laugh and chat. Connections support our health, helping to sustain us during difficult times. Whether you pick up the phone, text, talk or write an old school friend a letter, connecting with others who lift your spirits is healthy for your well-being, and will help rejuvenate you.
Schedule Alone Time
On the flip side, with all this togetherness, many people yearn for solitude. Scheduling time alone, even for 30 minutes, will positively impact your mood and energy. Take a walk in the woods or explore a new neighborhood. Find time to go in your room, turn off the lights and breathe, or grab a book and find a quiet place to enjoy your solitude. Now more than ever, you need time to relax, refuel, or simply daydream.
When times are tough, we need to be gentle with ourselves. The best way we can reenergize when we are feeling down is to prioritize and take care of our mental and physical health needs. From healthy eating and exercising, to alone time or laughing with a friend, our bodies need help refueling and reenergizing.