Well, you officially made it through 2020, but the “covid 19” — you know, that extra weight you took on during quarantine — is still lingering around your waistline. While pandemic life isn’t quite over, it is possible to start leaning into a healthier you for the new year, even if the approach looks a little different. Here are some tips from parents like you for getting physically and mentally fit for the new year while still in lockdown mode.
First things first: Take off your sweatpants, dig out those pre-pandemic jeans from the back of your closet, and get dressed for work. Sure maybe only your dog and your toddler will appreciate your freshened self, but you’ll definitely notice if you’ve gained some extra pounds. There’s nothing like a tight beltline as motivation to keep your hands out of the potato chips.
Make a Meal Plan
When your home office isn’t far from the kitchen (or maybe is the kitchen) your day becomes one big snack fest, tipping the scale a little higher than you’d like. One way to combat the constant urge to snack is by making a meal plan full of lean meats, whole grains, fruits, veggies and healthy snacks, and shopping only for the things you will eat that week.
Early on in the pandemic, when eating out wasn’t an option, Indianapolis mom Josmar Trent and her family began cooking more at home. “We ended up buying so many veggies and fruits, and drinking more water,” she says. “Doing all of this gave us good results and makes us feel accomplished.”
Work some of your family’s favorite meals — think a pizza night or taco night — into the plan, and let your kids join in the cooking fun. Maybe even let them decorate the dining area like a classy restaurant, complete with cloth napkins, candles and themed music.
Take More Walks
You miss many normal opportunities to move your body, like walking from the car to the office building or taking the stairs at work, when your commute is from the bed to the couch. To combat the sedentary nature of working from home, find times to squeeze in extra walks. Do a walking Zoom meeting, take the dog around the block at lunch, or walk instead of drive to the store when you run out of milk. Simply enjoy the fresh air by yourself, or use it as time to listen to some upbeat music, a favorite book or a podcast.
Play With Your Kids
The gym may be off limits for now, so consider your kids your personal trainers. They definitely exude that high-energy vibe, am I right? To put it simply, play with them. Kick around a soccer ball. Check out your local park’s frisbee golf course. Build a snowman. Download a BollyX class to do together. Not only will you get your body moving, it’ll give you that extra family bonding time that’s been so important during the pandemic. If you need an extra motivational boost, check out outdoor group classes that incorporate your kids, such as Baby Bootcamp (baby-boot-camp-carmel-fishers.business.site).
Find Your Inner Peace
Good health in 2021 can be about much more than diets and exercise — it can also be about shedding sluggish attitudes. “While exercise is good for the brain and the body, so is meditation,” says Meg Faber, a mom of three and an instructor at Flourish Yoga + Wellbeing in Fishers. She recommends starting your day with meditation or prayer. While this might seem nearly impossible amid virtual schooling and Zoom conference calls, centering your body and quieting your mind even if for 15 minutes can make a world of difference in how you approach the rest of your day. “Just a few moments is all you need to get grounded.”
If you need a little help with your centering practice, keep some yoga cards, like the ones Faber recommends from Little Renegades (littlerenegades.com), by your nightstand or desk or set an alarm reminding yourself to take a few minutes to stretch your body or do some deep breathing exercises.
Stick to Your Bedtime
Believe it or not, getting all your zzz’s can help you shed that extra quarantine weight. A 2016 study from the National Institutes of Health found that people who didn’t get a full night’s rest were more likely to reach for snacks and opt for less healthy foods. Find a bedtime that will allow you to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and at least 30 minutes before you hit the sheets, switch out your screens for a relaxing activity, such as a book, a bath or a meditation practice, and find an analog alarm clock to replace your cell phone’s alarm so you’re not tempted to reach for your phone in the middle of the night.
With a few simple adjustments to your quarantine routine, you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier you in 2021.