The coronavirus stay-at-home protocol has been disorienting to say the least.
I’ve worked from a home office since 2002, and with nearly two decades of experience I thought I was a pro. I’m astonished at how discombobulated it feels to live under pandemic conditions.
Our normal routines are disrupted, and the normal frames of reference we use for the weekly passage of time are gone: Time disorientation is a bonafide torture technique.
Add to that, day by day, confusing press conferences from federal officials, increasing economic uncertainties, and daily dramas from the federal executive branch make the emotional weight heavier and heavier. The adverse mental health effects of the pandemic may very well become as bad as covid-19.
As out of control it feels, there are things we can do to maintain healthy bodies and minds.
Keep it Simple.
Keep a regular daily schedule. Wake up at the same time every day. Be horizontal in your bed with the lights and devices off at the same time every evening. If your sleep schedule is different every day, you will feel grumpy and be less effective in your work and relationships.
To keep things interesting, exercise in the middle of your day: A mid-day hit of endorphins will help keep you motivated and lift your spirits.
Example daily schedule:
5:00 Wake up, coffee, chores
5:45 Meditate or yoga
7:00 Shower, get dressed in real clothing, begin work
8:00 Meditate or yoga
A regular schedule like also helps with sleep and digestion, which are often interrelated. A tummy ache or a full stomach at bedtime leads to poor sleep.
Side topic: I generally follow an “intermittent fasting” schedule and limit my eating to about 6-8 hours per day. The jury is out on the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, but I have had serious long-term issues with my digestive tract due to a near fatal car accident, and limiting my food intake keeps my belly happy. It might work for you, too.
Depending on your work and family obligations you will probably have a different weekend schedule, but I’d recommend keeping your eating and sleep schedule the same every day of the week.
Limit or eliminate the use of alcohol, especially later in the day when it will adversely affect sleep.
Establish a regular weekly exercise schedule. To engage in the process, create the exercise plan yourself (start with a basic plan you find on the Internet.) As you make the plan, think about how you will progress through the sequence in the weeks and months to come. Even though the race and event calendar is decimated, set some goals, like an “A” ride or run in mid-July. Set up a virtual race with your friends, or take a look at the list of virtual events in our Calendar.
Weekly Exercise Schedule
Here’s a super basic template to get you started:
Monday: Easy cardio + strength & conditioning
Tuesday: Moderate cardio + strength & conditioning
Wednesday: Intense cardio + strength & conditioning
Thursday: Moderate cardio + strength & conditioning
Saturday: Moderate distance cardio + (optional) strength & conditioning
Sunday: Moderate distance cardio or intense cardio
Take a look at my recommendations for strength and conditioning movements that don’t require props.
The hardest part of the workout can be changing into workout clothing or taking the first step, whether it’s out your door or onto your yoga mat.
You don’t need to do anything special. Walking may be the best exercise there is.
Don’t wait to feel motivated.
What are you doing to maintain your physical and mental health?