These are strange times, chaotic times, special times, unique times - These sayings have become ubiquitous in our conversations lately. Whatever we want to call it, things are different for all of us in one way or another. Most of us have experienced huge changes to our routines. The gym has closed, our kids aren’t going to school, we’re working from home, and other extracurriculars have been cancelled. While I don’t have much experience and therefore can’t offer much help on how to deal with kids at home, I have had experience with remote work and working from home, and can help offer some suggestions to help you navigate through this new (hopefully only temporary) norm.
There are some key things we can do to keep ourselves healthy, both physically and mentally, during these turbulent times!
In the first 2.5 years of 6S, I was working full time in the chemistry field. I was fortunate enough to have a completely remote position which allowed me the flexibility to work on and coach at 6S at the same time. But working from home and being remote definitely had its challenges as well!
Here’s what I learned from my time working remotely along with some other tips I’ve gathered that are applicable to this especially “unique times”.
1. Maintain a Routine
It’s easy to think that working from home is going to be a luxury with a number of new perks. We’ll often glamorize waking up later, making huge breakfasts and working in our PJs all day but these novelties wear off quickly and whether we recognize it or not, we start to long for our old routines. We need to find creative ways to maintain the old routine.
Here are some easy strategies to maintain routines:
2. Make time for social interactions
This is a challenging, but very important one in our current circumstances. I found when I was working from home that I could quickly feel very isolated. You might not notice it but when you work in an office there are usually a large number of mini social interactions and this is important for our mind as social animals. Even if Gary from accounting gets on your nerves most of the time, you may find yourself longing for one of his corny jokes or know-it-all comments. So try to build these into your day. Head to a coffee shop and chat with the barista. Go to another small business in your hood and chat with the staff. They’ll all be very happy to see you as well!
If you’re self isolating and staying out of the public, use social media. Start conversations in Facebook groups and on instagram (6S members if you’re not in our private FB group click here to get in!). Facetime your friends and family, make sure they’re doing okay! Our coaches at 6S are staying in touch on a regular basis with a ton of our members through online personal training - talk to your coach. If you want to have a Zoom call with myself or Julia, book a goal setting session and let’s have a chat! (Link Here). Sometimes you might feel bad about taking a few minutes for yourself during the day when you think you should be working but these little interactions and micro breaks happen naturally at the office. I’m not recommending you binge a season of The Office during work hours but don’t be afraid to take a few minutes here and there to take a break from work and connect with other humans!
3. Keep up with your nutrition and lifestyle habits
At 6S we are fresh off a nutrition challenge where 40 6S members committed to building sustainable, healthy lifestyle habits. Whether you took part in the challenge or not, now is a great time to focus on maintaining and building new healthy habits! Working from home can easily become eating non-stop and with the added stress of our current situation it’s easy to binge on unhealthy foods or forget to eat entirely - depending on how we respond to stress! So make a commitment to maintaining and building healthy habits.
Here’s a few easy ones to focus on:
4. Create a separate and clean workspace
In Toronto, space isn’t something many of us have a lot of. But it’s important to separate our work life from the rest of our life the best we can. The office naturally does this for most of us but when working from home it’s easy for the lines to become blurred. If you have a desk, keep it clean and work from there. If you need to work from your kitchen table, set up there but once the work day is over, put all your things out of sight and away. If you find yourself getting restless and anxious, try working from another space for a little while. In your office you might move to a conference room or a bean bag for a while so try moving to your couch or standing in the kitchen. Set a timer to remind you to get up and move. You probably don’t have to walk as far to go to the bathroom as you would at the office and you’re not walking to other peoples desks to chat. Every 30 min get up and go look out the window, feel the sun, do a 5 minute stretching routine and then get back to work.
5. Stay Physical!
Working out is so much more than just staying physically healthy and prepared. It does wonders for mental health as well. We’re all a little more stressed than usual and having an outlet through physical work can help us get through this. It’s nice enough now that you can go for a run or a bike ride. There’s tons of online resources for at home workouts including here from our blog.
I’ve already heard from many 6Sers that they very suddenly learned that they are addicted to the gym. It’s only been a day but this is something they are missing greatly. It breaks our hearts at 6S. We built 6S to improve lives, provide sanctuary and spread joy and happiness through fitness and right now we’re limited in how we can do this. While the physical gym may be closed, we’re staying committed to our members and we’re NOT going to stop coaching and providing value! Many of our members have signed up for our remote personal training program and coaches are working with them daily to keep them accountable, motivated and on track during a time when it could be challenging to stay focused! If you’re not working with a coach and would like to, click here to get started!
Even if you don’t want remote coaching, get involved in our 6S at home BINGO! Start a mobility routine, walk your dog more (they’ll love that!). It’s a unique situation we’re in and while we may think we’re someone who can’t workout at home, we need to stay adaptable and focus on why we should instead of why we don’t want to. Commit to taking care of yourself and let’s make the best of our circumstances so we can come out of this stronger and more confident!
6. Finish your day with a routine
Similar to how you started your day, finish your day with routine. Create a plan or to do list for tomorrow, then close up your computer and put everything away and out of sight. If you normally walk or bike to work, go for a walk or a bike ride. If you normally workout after work, get that in now (take a selfie and tag @crossfit6s, #athomewith6S). Many of us have social routines after work, so call your friends or your family, have a virtual coffee or beer with them. Use your free time to learn something new and stay productive. Experiment with new recipes for dinner and meal prep (Recipes here!)! Find an online course to learn something new. www.udemy.com has cheap online courses on pretty much any topic you can think of!
Our lives have been turned upside down. Our norms have all changed and we need to adapt. You’ve built up a buffer of resilience, physical and mental strength and adaptability with your training in the gym. This might not have been what you were preparing for but now’s the time to put that training into practice. You’re strong and able and can get through this. Continue to focus on why you’ve chosen to prioritize your health and maintain your commitment to it. It might look different for a little while but you’ve got this and soon enough things will be back to normal. If you find that you're struggling or need guidance, we’re here for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to one of your 6S coaches. Even if it’s just to chat about the weather or to share a picture of your pet. We’re here to help, don’t be shy.
CrossFit 6S team helping you achieve your fitness goals.