First, I hope everyone reading this is doing ok. I hope you’re healthy and still finding some bright spots in your days.

Your health matters as much now as it ever has. It is still something that can work for you, or against you. There are many facets to your health, and they all have an effect on you. Your physical health, your spiritual, mental, emotional, and relationship health all matter. In times of normalcy and routine, we are able to work on these things and develop them. In times of stress, things get a little fuzzy and we lose sight of some of the pieces. In times of crisis, which this current situation may feel like, we tend to completely ignore areas of our health and become a martyr.

I say this as a person who has been incredibly stressed over the last week, not sleeping, not eating on my normal schedule, not working out on my normal schedule, making rash decisions and actions instead of listening and waiting. There have been fears of losing my livelihood, opportunities that I was working towards being gone entirely with no sure chance that they will come up again, many lost dollars with fear of lost time and possessions. This is where I am at.

The realization that I quickly had is the same thing that I tell all of my clients – in times of crisis, some things will fall to the wayside. Just make sure that you’re actually in a crisis, and not overreacting.

Self-quarantining due to fears of COVID-19 to protect loved ones (or yourself) who are in an at-risk population is not overreacting nor is it unwarranted. Practicing social distance to the letter is important…I just had the cable guy at the house – he walked in, tried to shake my hand, and I directed him over to the nearby bathroom to wash his hands before operating in the house. He said he already sanitized in the car, but I still had him wash his hands. This is ok, and not taboo. It’s just being safe and cautious.

If you’re not aware of the current plan at large in America to stop the spread of COVID-19, here it is.

Practicing social isolation is what we need to be careful of.

Social Isolation

Social isolation is damaging to ALL parts of your health. It is damaging to your physical health because your nervous system is in fight or flight mode due to the constant stress and worry that you’re putting yourself through. Fear of losing a job, a loved one, and panicked action can cause this.

Social isolation is also damaging to your mental and emotional health. The mild to potentially severe depression caused by feeling isolated (and actually being isolated) from friends and the daily social interactions that you might regularly have (even if it’s just going to the grocery store), as well as the potential damage to your relationship health and trust in people. The stigma that can come with any pandemic (right now it’s at travelers, anyone who coughs or sneezes in a public setting), as well as people from areas of the world most affected by COVID-19 is very real, and has long lasting potential damages that go beyond just your relationships.

Maintaining our Health

Self-quarantining, social distancing, and personal hygiene all really matter right now. Of course they do. What keeps this situation a little bit more normal is avoiding isolating ourselves from what makes our lives (and our health) feel rich, creative and adventurous.

Here is a list that you can use to make sure you aren’t socially isolating yourself. A daily to-do list, if you will.

  • Did you go outside today?
    • Start with a walk out in the driveway or the yard. Did you walk down the street? Around the block? To a park? Did you see other people and wave or greet them in some way? Get some sun!
  • Did you have a conversation with someone outside of your immediate family and coworkers? 
    • A friend that you may usually see that you aren’t right now? Try a Zoom call, or FaceTime! See that person’s face and have a conversation. Could be 5 minutes, could be an hour. Just check in with your people and see how they’re doing.
  • Did you workout like you normally would?
    • We post At-Home workouts for our clients regularly right now, and are moving to a guided At-Home workout format as well. We’re also running small group workouts at the local park for our current members!
    • We know how important it is to take care of our physical health. Don’t stop just because it feels like the sky is falling! It needs to be here for you when this time has passed.
    • If you’re someone who has relied on gym equipment to work on your fitness, now is the time to reconnect with your body on a deeper level and do things with your health and fitness that you’ve neglected. Running, yoga, guided meditation, bodyweight workouts, etc. The list is endless!
    • Already a bodyweight ninja and bored? Build an at-home gym with dumbbells, kettlebells, and possibly barbells as well!
  • Are you maintaining healthy nutrition habits, or are you stress eating?
    • Maybe you aren’t eating the Ideal Plate (click for blog post) in every meal, but are you eating the same number of meals at the same times as you normally would? Are you snacking way more? Are you ignoring whole foods and going for the easy to access processed foods? Two pro tips: first, it takes just as much time to eat a whole foods as it does a processed food. I have found that many people forget or choose to ignore this…Second, whole foods are in abundance at the grocery stores right now, thanks to all the “preppers” hoarding all the cinnamon rolls and pancake mix (not that I would know or anything!)
    • Focus on taking your time, slowing things down, and taking a deep breath. Eat slowly, and focus on mindfulness.
  • Are you still getting your space from family and work?
    • Don’t be a workaholic. Especially right now. Keep your head on calm, keep focused on your goals, and maintain your health.
    • We all need space. Please take it!

If you can work through this list daily, you’re in good shape. If you’re having trouble with any of these, please reach out to Gifford Fitness via email (click the link to send). We can help with a solution while practicing social distancing and personal hygiene with any of these areas!

Nick Gifford (CF-L3)
Nick Gifford (CF-L3)Author
Nick Gifford, Head Coach and Owner of Gifford Fitness, CrossFit Red Lion and Gifford Barbell has coached over 3000 athletes since 2012. He has worked with athletes from all walks and stages of life, focusing on health and wellness, balance, and pursuing excellence.