How To Keep Active In The Heart Of The Shutdown


Jul. 17 2020, Published 4:11 a.m. ET

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Just like so many, I have been working from home for way longer than I could ever anticipate. It’s been a big adjustment from the very active day-to-day I’ve been accustomed to for the last few years.

I work in animal care and recently started a new role as an intern at a non-profit facility in Brooklyn. A few weeks later, after I had just gotten used to the two hour commute, the city took a turn for the worse. Even though I am unable to come in until further notice, my supervisor reassured me I can return to work as soon as it was possible. Luckily for me, I have some research-based projects to keep me occupied. I still need to figure out a full-proof plan to keep myself sane beyond the illumination of my laptop.

The thing about living in New York City is that it’s been pretty scary, to say the least. Overall, nine states in the United States have reached over 40,000 reported cases of Covid-19 and New York ranks number one with nearly 350,000 cases. Seeing the city that never sleeps shut down has been a surreal experience. I was born and raised in the Bronx and I’ve always loved venturing out across the city’s five boroughs. One of my favorite things about New York City is the flexibility to just get up and go wherever my heart called me to for the day. Now I was faced with a huge dilemma. All of a sudden, with my active lifestyle coming to a halt, I found myself with a lot of extra time at home.

Whether or not you’re looking to keep the wheels turning in your mind, your legs moving or just need a gentle reminder during this time, I’ve got you covered! My routine changes daily but I’ve listed out what I’ve been experimenting with.

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Three Tips For Keeping Your Mind Active

It’s so easy to let your mind wander off to a thousand places during these uncertain times. Here’s what you can do to stay grounded:

1. Pick up a book

Now’s a better time than ever to get lost in a good book. Normally I’d suggest a physical copy over an eBook. Given the circumstances though, I say work with whatever you got.

2. Take up a hobby

It could be something completely new, or maybe something you’ve put on the back burner. The possibilities are endless. Cook that dish you’ve always wanted to try, knit those socks, or paint that picture. If you find it easier to have your materials delivered consider ordering a kit on Amazon, Etsy, or Target. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new!

3. Learn a new skill

You can really get the brain going while learning a new skill that’ll also amp up your resume. There’s plenty of career-focused resources available. Due to the pandemic,  companies are offering free courses for a limited time (like Udacity), or putting out free resources (like a PDF from Google developer Ben Collins).  There’s something out there for  just about everyone, no matter what you’re looking for.

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Three Tips For Keeping Your Body Active

Something I struggled with the most was getting up and making sure I was getting some exercise in. Especially now that I’m spending more and more time at home. Here’s how you can keep it moving:

1. Get out the house

It may sound obvious, but remember to get up and move around. Grab your mask and be sure to follow any rules set in place for staying safe. Try and get out for at least 30 minutes a day, even if you’re just going around the block. Starting out with a small change to your daily routine can make all the difference!

2. Relax with yoga

Yoga might be more your speed, if you’re not quite ready for an intense workout. You can’t go wrong with a good stretch! The great thing about yoga is that there are multiple skill levels. YouTube is a great place to start your search, especially if you don’t have a go-to instructor. You can also find various infographics on Pinterest. Adding some mindfulness to your routine is a good way to seize the day!

3. Follow a fitness routine

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With gyms being closed it’s been difficult to get a real good workout in. As mentioned before, YouTube hosts a variety of fitness channels. Planet Fitness has begun their United We Move movement, hosting equipment-free home workouts. I personally follow MrandMrsMuscle, as per the recommendation of a friend. Warm-up before and stretch after a workout, don’t forget to pace yourself!

Remember to Rest, Reflect And Reconnect

1. Rest

There’s a global pandemic happening! Everything feels overwhelming because it is. There is a lot going on all over the world right now. Rest up when you can, and when you need to. There’s no need to feel guilty if you haven’t gotten a concrete routine down. The greatest thing you can do for yourself is try your best and figure out what your limits are right now.

2. Reflect

Getting into the habit of writing in a journal can serve as your own personal safe-space. It can be really hard to find a moment to get away and think. Take a few minutes of your day, it can be however long or short you’d like, and put your thoughts onto paper. Think about how the day went and what your expectations for tomorrow are. Sometimes we really just need to pause check-in with ourselves first.

3. (Re)Connect

We are all in this together. Realistically it may be a long time before we can reunite with our friends, family and even coworkers; but that doesn’t mean we should disconnect completely. If you have the capacity to do so, make sure to check-in with others as often as you can. I like to schedule regular video calls throughout the week to take a break from my hectic workload. If you don’t know where to start, check out the #JustCheckingIn tag. You can use those ten simple questions to get the conversation flowing.

Stay healthy, stay safe and be sure to keep it moving!

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