Is it time to get back on the horse?
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Ideas for getting back out there post-lockdown (or any time you're rebooting your life)
Despite the best of intentions, I honestly didn’t exercise properly for most of our second lockdown here in Melbourne. Yes I walked almost every day and did yoga and a few online workouts. But over the last few weeks I’ve become acutely aware of how much strength, flexibility and fitness I lost over those months - the triple-whammy! I’ve put on weight (though not as much as I thought). I’ve lost some of my energy and drive around exercise (which was a central part of my pre-Covid routine).
Then they gym reopened (hallelujah) … and oh boy did that first session hurt!
It felt like I was back where I was when I first started properly training – tentative and perennially sore! I’m not of course because I have 14 years of knowledge and experience under my belt now, and muscle memory that will help me get back to where I want to be. But I realised sitting on that bench, looking at myself in the mirror, that I would need to go carefully and slowly so as to not get frustrated by what I couldn’t do and focus on what I could. I’d need to go slowly.
I’m not going to be judgemental of myself. It is what it is. Could I have done more Zoom workouts or hill walks, sure! But like everyone I did the best I could. Right now I can either feel sorry for myself or just get back on the horse and start again!
Many people will be going through similar things, whether returning to the gym or the office, resuming your social life in person, restarting hobbies or sports or venturing into something totally different (or all this at the same time!).
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” - Buddha
Whatever routine you’re getting back to or new activity you’re dipping your toe into, here’s some suggestions for approaching our post-lockdown lives …
Take a beginners mind
When was the last time you did something totally new? Think back to when you started a new job, moved into a new house or started to learn something new. You don’t know what you don’t know. But you know you don’t know it all and don’t expect yourself to.
So you were curious.
You took time to explore and experiment.
You asked questions and listened to those around you.
You gave yourself a break for not knowing or being able to do everything on day 1.
Can you take that mindset into your new normal? Can you make sure you’re staying centred and in tune with your inner voice (the angel, the devil and the saboteur). We’re in a rebuilding phase, so have some fun with it!
Give yourself time
Our modern lives are so fast - quick fixes, easy answers, fast fashion. There actually is plenty of time; enough hours, days, weeks and months for you to do what you need and want to do – if you consciously choose there to be.
It may take time to get back to our previous levels of fitness, socialising or feeling like we’re firing on all cylinders. That’s totally OK. In the grand scheme of things, when we zoom out of this period and what comes next, it will be feel like the blink of an eye – a transformational one, yes, but a short space of time compared to the rest of our lives.
You will have setbacks and detours and days when you just don’t wanna! See if you can make the choice to enjoy the process rather than focusing on the destination. Take a break when you need it. And above all, be compassionate with yourself.
Ask for help
Don’t feel like you need to do this totally alone! How can other people help and support you? What do you need from them? Do you need a cheerleader, coach, mentor, a shoulder to cry on, some specific advice or moral support? Is it a hug from your mum, a chat with a friend or professional help of some kind?
“Asking for others guidance helps you see what you may not be able to see. It’s always important to check your ego and ask for help.” – Ken Blanchard
Reward your progress
Tracking and acknowledging progress is one of the most motivating things for the human mind (why do you think games, especially video games, are so addictive!?).
Notice I suggested rewarding your progress here, not achieving your goal? This is an important distinction. Goals can take a while to come to fruition, they can change or be derailed, actually just be too challenging or not as thrilling as you’d pictured. Rewarding your progress reinforces the actions or behaviours you’re engaged in and strengthens the habits you want to create.
What are the milestones along your particular
journey where you can pause, reflect, notice how far you’ve come and appreciate yourself for it? Maybe it’s every 10 or 20 workouts, hitting a target of 20 alcohol free days in a month, or completing a certain number of whatever you’re creating (poems, drawings, cakes, masks, chapters of your book). It could be something simple or more elaborate – just make it meaningful and motivating to you.
Have at it friends! I’d love to hear if you have any other suggestions for working our ways back toward normal life!
All images from Unsplash