We don’t know about you, but since we were thrust back into normal society, our routines have been off.
Although, we don’t quite like talking about the C.O.V.I.D word and all the horror it brought, the solitude and structure it introduced to our lives was actually quite welcome.
Through those lockdowns, health and wellness were easier to navigate.
Without restaurants and bars, where could we load up on food and alcohol?
Without fully booked schedules, what else could we do but find joy in our repetitive habits?
When the blockades on life were moved, it was understandable that we latched on and wished to never let go. It was like the world was the Titanic, we were Rose, and life was the plank of wood.
We ate and drank and socialised like it was 1999. We said goodbye to home workouts and hello to bottomless brunches. We dumped the home office and welcomed the daily commute. Instead of taking time to care and nurture ourselves, we wanted our fill of everyone and everything else.
This swift change has now placed many of us into a routine rut. It’s getting harder and harder to get a grip on our healthy regimens. For many of us, it’s difficult to even know where to start.
This is why we have engaged the knowledge of three experts in life, exercise, and nutrition who all recognise the importance of routine.
They embody structure in everything they do and wish the same for you too.
And here is exactly how to do it.
Life coach and founder of Upbeat Life, Chris Freer, says not to feel alone in these struggles as routine ruts are extremely common right now. ‘Routine ruts are a real point of conversation following the Covid-19 pandemic,’ he explains.
‘Lots of people have been left in a state of almost constant fear as our routines were disrupted greatly.’
‘We adapted to a way of life and then had to ‘get back to normal’ and we have started to become detached from our healthy habits that we built. The same can be said for those who developed unhealthy habits during lockdowns also. Either way, it’s difficult to get back on track.’
Thankfully, Chris says there is a way to gain back control.
‘In my experience, creating a new habit is far easier than breaking a bad one,’ he says. ‘So I would always encourage people to look for positives in any situation they’re facing.
‘For example, whilst you might be dreading going back to the office, you can look forward to enjoying the perks. A good healthy, nutritious lunch a and freshly brewed coffee in the morning can become an enjoyable part of your new routine. Make those little things a focal point.
‘I would also always advise my clients to focus on the benefits for yourself on a deeper level. Ask yourself, “How will this help/empower me?”
‘If you focus on the good, affirm your abilities and envision the future you want, a healthy routine will naturally materialise.’
Personal trainer Lyanne Hodson from StrongHer advises that to get back into a good routine, we first need to be kinder to ourselves.
‘We need to take into account that we’re trying to play catch up on two years of socialising, birthdays, weddings and holidays,’ she explains. ‘A big thing that I’ve done and would encourage you to do is look at the present – who are you, what you want in life and what you want your routine to look like. I’d urge you to do this gradually. Don’t rush it or you’ll risk an injury in the gym or burnout.’
Lyanne says booking something that scares you can often kick start your excitement for routine. ‘It could be Tough Mudder, a 5km run or climbing Snowdonia,’ she says. ‘Whatever it is, book it. Yes, you won’t be ready now but you will be, and you’ll absolutely strive to build a routine around this.’
Some of her other top tips for routine include making fitness sociable and remaining realistic.
‘Combining fitness and friends is a win-win,’ she says. ‘Book in a brunch afterwards so you make a day of it with friends but also feel great. Having that commitment to meet, train and have fun afterwards is a great way to feel accountable and consistent.’
She continues: ‘And make sure you’re being realistic with your routine and your life. If two sessions per week is where you are at right now, that’s fine. Get into a rhythm with it and when the time is right, start adding more.’
Nutritionist and founder of Moore Movement, Maria Moore, says that to implement a healthy and doable nutrition routine, we have to make it fit into our lives.
‘Work with your schedule and no one else’s,’ she advises. ‘Who cares if Jill from down the road gets up and exercises at 5am and eat completely clean, if you have children to look after, or a long commute, your needs and time are different.
‘The easier it is for you, the more consistent you will be, and with consistency comes results.
‘Incorporate foods you enjoy in your diet then look for things you can add like more fruit and vegetables. Try new recipes and focus on the “I can have” rather than the can’t.’
With many of us eating out more and more now, it can be easy to fall into a ‘bad food, good food’ trap. Maria says this actually hinders your ability to adapt a healthy routine.
‘Food does not have a moral high ground,’ she explains. ‘Reframe it. Some foods are more nutrient dense than others and certain choices will be more aligned with your goal – be that fat loss, improving your relationship with food or building muscle.
‘Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and removing the language that encourages a poor relationship with food, such as ‘cheat’, ‘naughty’, ‘treat’ or ‘that’s bad’ will help you be kinder to yourself and the kinder we are, the more we like ourselves, the more we want to take care of ourselves and make choices that support our health.’
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