The other day, my boss asked me what I have learned during this staying and working from home period. To be honest, I have learned so much during this time (and I’ll be sharing this in a post soon). But what came to mind at that moment was the fact that without a doubt, I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
I mean, I had all these plans for the year and then the virus happened and so many had to be canceled. I’m not gonna lie. At first, I was pretty gutted. I had wanted this to work so bad. Then I realized that I was losing myself in what I did not have control over.
As opposed to 2019 when I felt I was laying the foundation for 2020, this year I had to just work on me – something I didn’t realize until the staying home order was put into place.
Over the past 3 months, I have pretty much been in sync with how I feel – mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Also, my thoughts on wellness have shifted a little..
I’m more intuitive about exercise
Before the crisis, my workout routine was solely based on how I felt. I only worked out when I felt I was adding weight and needed to burn some calories.
During this time, however, I realized that I had to listen to my body. I couldn’t just stay in the house, work all day and go to sleep. I had to be intentional about working out.
To be honest, this has really helped. I am able to sleep better, feel less lethargic (yes, I just thought I should throw that word there ?) and still feel good about my body!
Being socially connected is the most important wellness factor
2019 and early 2020 me would rarely stay out late because I was rushing home to rest and I wanted to wake up the following day feeling well-rested. I could not even be tempted by my friends to go out if I felt I had a lot to do (and by a lot I mean sleep more). You know what I’m thinking now that I have an abundance of time to get everything done and nothing much to do? I wish I had more late nights.
Maybe one of the other things I have learned and probably you too have learned is that humans don’t just want to be social, but need to be socially connected. You can work out and eat healthily, but if you are not laughing with loved ones and surrounding yourself with a strong support system, you can’t be truly healthy.
Being healthy is not the end goal. It’s the tool that allows us to spend more time with the people we love.
Mental health is my first priority
I have always been a huge believer of maintaining good mental health. But before this pandemic, I did not realize just how much I was not prioritizing my own mental health. It wasn’t until staying at home all day every day for months on end that I realized that my anxiety was plummeting.
Without distractions like social plans, a full schedule, or even an office commute, our true mental health status becomes clearer. Should it really be that difficult to spend time alone? Why is it so hard to find something to do that is not work and socializing? The struggle of staying at home illuminated how “at-peace” I am with myself and with my life. This time has been difficult for us all, but at least it’s a chance to truly prioritize our mental health.
Get outdoors whenever you can
There’s nothing like being stuck inside 24/7 to make you appreciate being outdoors, and it has become one of the most important parts of my wellness.
I do not want to sound controversial here especially because we are trying to flatten the curve by staying home more. But trust me, getting out, even just for a walk, makes a whole difference. Get out, watch the sky, listen to the birds chirp, and just walk under the sun.
“Not doing anything” is good for you
I’m one of those people who feel like I always have to be doing something productive and am ridden with guilt if I’m wasting time. But, for the first time in my life, I have free time!
I must admit that for a while, this felt like I didn’t know what to do with myself, but I started enjoying having nothing to do.
In a world where all we ever knew was constantly wanting to become better, this whole period has shown me that it is okay to just breathe.
Not having anything to do” isn’t boring, meaningless, or sad. It’s good for you. Quiet time is as important to wellness as exercise or healthy eating, even though it doesn’t get the same emphasis in our society. For me, this time at home is about rest, rejuvenation, and finding joy in the nothingness. So take some time and just breathe.
Wellness is simply a practice of nourishing yourself
While I think of nourishment in terms of food, other parts of me need to be nourished besides my stomach. It’s human instinct to feed yourself when you need to be fed. However, we’ve quieted the instinct to nourish ourselves when we feel other emotions too. If you’re sad, bored, unmotivated, stressed, or tired, think of what will nourish you. The emotions you feel are your body’s response to lack. Ask yourself what will nourish the negative emotion, and then feed it to yourself as you would eat when you’re hungry.
Routine is important, but it isn’t everything
I am a creature of habit. I thrive in being in a routine.
Routine is important for your health because it helps you build healthy habits that can make you feel your best.
However, it’s not everything. Breaking my routine once in a while doesn’t make me unfocussed or a bad person.
Trying new things can not only introduce you to new practices to add to your routine but breaking out of the norm can also build confidence and feel exciting (instead of feeling bored or complacent).
Nutrition should be about balance, not restriction
In a world that’s obsessed with the latest diet trend, we often associate nutrition and health with rules about what not to eat, than what we should eat. I believe that true health is actually about being so in touch with your body that you can feed it what it needs, whether that’s leafy greens to nourish you or indulging in a croissant that you’ll enjoy every bite of…or cheese! It’s not really about limiting, restricting, or removing; it’s about finding balance in your body.
Since staying at home has required me to cook more often, I’ve been able to look into my relationship with food. Being almost 100% in control of what I eat has been empowering and allows me to be more in touch with what my body wants. For example, this week, I’ve had a somewhat healthy and balanced diet, while simultaneously having cheese in almost all my servings (and yes, all guilt-free).
Again, it’s work in progress for me.