Get dressed for work from the waist up — the importance of health habits in uncertain times

image of large note paper, with routines for household members written on it. Paper is on a rustic wooden table with plants and a pencil case beside it.

Well that was fast…. with all the changes afoot due to COVID-19, our healthy routines have gone a bit sideways. We’re a busy family who normally prioritizes well-being and sticks to healthy habits to stay on track. This includes packing balanced lunches the night before, waking early to go to the gym, sitting together for most dinners, maintaining healthy boundaries on screen time and maintaining consistent sleep practices. We’re now shifting with a reset plan and reflecting on what flexible routines will support our household best.

While I am accustomed to occasionally working from home, doing five days per week with a partner that still needs to attend work and an eight-year-old at home means we must do things differently. [As a side but important note, I am grateful we currently have two incomes and for this extra time with our daughter. Unfortunately, time with my step-son is only virtual for the time being.] That said, we may have gone a little too far on adjusting our practices and lost touch with some of our most-valued habits. Soooo… we had a “family meeting” and made a commitment to restore or reframe our healthy habits and routines.

Below are some of the agreements we made as a household and some of my personal commitments:

Household:

o Daily walk

o Weekly review of finances (preparing to be a one-income household soon)

o Daily ten-minute tidy up of the house fueled by music — everyone helps!

o Everyone available sits at the table for dinner (including at least one weekly virtual dinner with my step-son)

o Make a weekly list of who we want to connect with from a healthy distance and new things we want to try like Dance Church

Personal:

o Rise by 6am starting with daily movement (run, yoga or HIIT)

o Get dressed for work (at least from the waist up), then actively commute to my desk at home (i.e. walk around the block)

o Put a full water bottle on my desk before I start working

7 for 7 challenge from my colleague Lyz accepted (seven minutes of movement for the next seven days booked in my Outlook calendar)

o Read or journal daily

o Pack lunch the night before work days (even if working from home)

o No screens past 9:30pm

o Weekly beverage with friends via video chat

Please be gentle with yourself, remember not all habits work for all people and do not practice social distancing like this cat. Also, we would love to hear about the healthy habits and flexible routines you are committing to during this uncertain time. Please add your comments below.

With gratitude,

Jenn

** Here are some additional ideas from the workplace health team on ways to adapt, maintain or re-frame your routine or healthy habits:

o Habit stacking: use your morning routine to do the things you’re committed to, like exercise, meditation, tackling a big work project, etc. Plan for your day the night.

Time block media and news consumption

o Explore online options for exercise ideas and motivation (consider pairing up with an accountability buddy): Do Yoga With MeFitness BlenderYoga with Adriene and Nike Training Club (app)

o Re-ignite the step counter and aim for 10,000 steps a day (walking meetings, walk over lunch, walk to check-in with family and friends after work, walk when you listen to the news).

o Binge read books, not Netflix

o Involve kids in the new routine and in discovering better quality screen distractions

o Join a social media Easter Egg Hunt With Social Distancing in your neighborhood

o Create chalk messages on the driveway

o Involve kids in cleaning and developing the schedule for the day

o Use kids as extra weight for pushups and more!

o Start or maintain a mindfulness practice; Every day at 12PST there is a live guided meditation

o Use my calendar as I do when in the office — otherwise very easy to let things slide, work a longer day, etc.; pay attention to time management

o Plan social connections with physical distance:

o Virtual birthday party

o Gaming online with friends

o Using social apps such as Houseparty or Netflix Party

o Writing emails to my parents: asking about their lives, what they know about their grandparents, etc.

o Daily tidy up or cleaning plan (especially your high touch surfaces); creating a home project list of activities (organize kitchen shelves, organize storage, wipe down balcony rails, etc.) and commit to completing them

o Connect regularly with colleagues (say hi each morning, or have a team stand up virtually or at a health distance)

o Meal planning and creative substitutions to reduce frequency of grocery store visits

o Setting up my partner (the primary parent) for the day: put away dishes, wash the bottles, etc.

o Establish an evening ritual that prepares you to rest fully that could include meditation, journaling, a bath and/or reading

Author: Jennifer Garrett

Twitter: @GarrettJennL

This blog post is reposted with permission from the author. It was originally posted on medium.com. Thank-you, Jenn, for your contribution.

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