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Did You Waste Quarantine?

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First of all, that title is not to imply that quarantine is over. Please put on a mask, wash your hands, let’s do this together!

However, over the past few weeks, it does feel like we are in a transition. Summer is coming, we are outside more, maybe thinking about what vacation will look like…or at the very least, shorts.  

Although you would think that would make us feel hopeful, I am hearing more and more people feeling frustrated that they didn’t make better use of quarantine.  Feeling like they did it wrong and wasted so much time.

Can you relate?

For some this is triggered by the scale and for others it is triggered by comparison to other people who seemed to have blossomed into their best selves.  Either way there is a lot of shame, which typically leads to:

  • Doing something drastic as a punishment for not being better and to get “on track” as quickly as possible.
  • Sitting in the cycle of feeling shame, anger, and resignation.

Both of those feelings are 100% normal and neither are helpful. To be honest, neither is staying stuck. So what do you do instead? Here are three steps to stop beating yourself up and starting moving forward.

Cut out the Comparison

Ok, I might be writing this section for myself because I fall into the rut of comparison way more than I would like to admit. It’s hard not to get sucked into the scroll and wonder if you should have gotten a Peloton or have taught your kids Latin or mastered Sourdough.

On the flip side we are also aware that many are enduring loss of lives, loss of jobs and systemic oppression.  Complaining about how overworked you are from the job you still have or overwhelmed you are by the loving family that is around you all the time can feel shallow. 

I’m sure that we could have a long discussion about the dangers of comparison and validity of feelings, but honestly my wheelhouse is nutrition (coming up next) so I will leave that for someone else.  What I do know is that comparison is not helpful, and right now we need help. So let’s try this on for size:

No matter where you are, you did your best and now it is time to do the next best thing.

Start Your Day with a Win

The way we start our day is incredibly impactful. It anchors our day and sets the intention that we and our health are important. The trick is picking something that is small enough that you can do consistently and large enough that you take it seriously.  I also want it to be related to either your mental or physical health, because that is why you are here 😉

The reason that you want it to be small, is the point of this is to create a win. Something that you can succeed with and have a ripple effect on the rest of your day.  So, you need to be VERY realistic with your capacity and what is happening first thing.  For instance, if you have a toddler that wakes you up every morning, setting a goal of 30 minutes of meditation might not be realistic.  Perhaps, drinking 16 oz. of water is a better option. 

Now if it is too small, you may not respect it and decide to skip it because it seems pointless.  So right outside of your comfort zone is where I want you to shoot for (this is called the Goldilocks rule because it is just right). Here are some ideas:

  • 16oz of water first thing
  • 7 minute workout
  • 5 minute meditation
  • 20 minute walk
  • 10 minutes of reading
  • Not checking email before breakfast

I also recommend recording this in some way. You can use the habit tracker found in this blog, or a check in your planner.  I want you to be able to look back and have a visual representation of your win. 

To be clear, these “small” wins really add up over time. So, don’t think that I’m just doing this to make you feel good.  The step may be small, but I have BIG plans for you!

Plan Your Meals

Hands down the biggest thing that I have been seeing in the quarantine is decision fatigue. We learned in this blog that decision fatigue is the concept that the quality of our decisions deteriorate over long periods of decision making. This usually leads to irrational trade-offs (thinking things are harder or better than they really are) or decision avoidance (feeling overwhelmed by all things and not wanting to deal with it).

The idea of planning your meals is not to control you or force you to eat broiled chicken and broccoli – it is to free up your brain.  Eating is wonderful, but figuring out what to eat, making it, wondering if it’s balanced and finding time to eat it is exhausting.  We tend to avoid it until we are starving, hangry and the wheels come off. 

This week, I want you to create a simple plan for the week.  It can include take-out or pre-made meals, but I want you to know what you are going to eat and do your best to not put pressure on yourself to do any prep during the day.  I know that the idea of planning can feel like a ton of work when you are overwhelmed, but I promise that it will take much less time than you think and save that brain of yours so much fatigue in the long run.  This is also a key secret to my most successful clients

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