By Jessica Schmidley
I had dessert every night for 10 weeks.
Let’s face it, shelter in place was stressful. Is sugar the best way to counteract that stress? Probably not. But you know what? While the world felt like it was going crazy around us, my future felt uncertain, my stress level was at an all-time high...dessert was something that I could look forward to every night.
My husband said it best, “vacations are canceled, all social events are postponed for the foreseeable future, and the world feels like it’s falling apart. We could all use a little something to look forward to each day”.
When he put it like that, I couldn’t help but agree.
So I went ahead and had dessert every night. Some nights it was as simple as a few pieces of dark chocolate, others it was ice cream. I don’t regret it.
So how did I feel after 10 weeks of that? Not terrible but not great either. We were diligent about activity and kept our meals as “normal” as possible. However, we got to a point where it was time to adjust our habits because dessert every night (or cocktails or pizza or whatever the vice) wasn’t going to keep us on track for our goals over the long haul.
Quarantine threw a lot of people off of their usual habits. People who are normally very diligent about their workouts or eating were suddenly forced to change their whole routine. Parents were suddenly homeschool teachers, managing e-learning while doing their daily jobs and tasks. For many, it meant that their workout had to take a backseat.
Say this with me.
"Whatever happened during quarantine, stays in quarantine."
Quit trying to rationalize your behavior, or beat yourself up about it. It happened. It’s in the past, move on.
Moving forward, here are some easy and inexpensive ways to start feeling normal again after quarantine.
Sometimes the simplest of habits are the ones most often overlooked. Have you thought about how hydration affects your body day to day? Even mild sustained dehydration can wreak havoc on everything from your brain function to sleep patterns and digestive tract.
Get yourself back on track by making a plan.
I’m a notoriously bad sleeper, so I find I have to set goals and plans like anything else in my life. Lack of sleep for even just a few nights can throw off your energy levels, focus and eating patterns. Next time you have a bad night’s sleep, pay attention to your food choices the following day. Chances are, you will crave simple carbohydrates, our most simple energy sources. Basically, when you are tired, you seek energy.
Carbohydrates aren’t bad in essence (think fruits and grains), however, most tend to lean towards processed carbs (sugary snacks, chips, cereal) when they are lacking energy because they are easy to eat and get to your bloodstream fastest.
Beyond eating patterns, lack of sleep can cause other systems of the body to slow down to a drag including digestion.
Kick start your sleep routine by choosing a few things to focus on:
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. You have to move. Movement positively affects every system and body part: digestion, sleep/relaxation, brain function. You don’t have to go out and seek a new, extreme workout routine. Just move more.
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. If you came out of quarantine with your clothing feeling a bit tighter, it’s going to take time for your body to get back to where it was before. Through conscious choices throughout the day and some patience you’ll get there. If you gained 10 pounds over the last 3 months, it may take that long or longer to shed that weight off.
Take a few of the above suggestions and implement them, give yourself a week or two, and see how you feel. Gradually add more positive habits, and consciously get rid of some not so good ones.