Without question, 2020 has been a year of stress, anxiety, and polarization.
It’s like a classic wrestling match between Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “The Heartbreak Kid (HBK)” Shawn Michaels. The Hitman puts the Sharpshooter on Michaels, causing HBK to tap out. The only problem is there’s no referee to declare Bret Hart the winner. So, what does Bret Hart do? He maintains the Sharpshooter while HBK vigorously taps out, begging for mercy.
That’s 2020 in a nutshell: 2020 is Bret Hart, and the rest of us are all Shawn Michaels. We tapped out a long time ago, but the pain keeps coming!
I hope most of you understood the wrestling reference. If not, what I’m basically saying is….
2020’s kicking our asses in.
We’ve got COVID-19, unemployment rates skyrocketing, schools are closed, polarizing political and social issues, etc., etc. It’s extremely overwhelming for so many of us. Consequently, overall health and wellness has taken a major hit across the nation.
What can be done about it? What can you do to ensure you stay as healthy as possible during these trying times?
Get Back to Working Out
I know. I know. This one is pretty obvious. Unfortunately, hundreds, if not thousands of gyms have yet to reopen across the country. Leaving many people without an important, positive outlet to keep themselves active.
Even so, folks. You gotta exercise!
I understand workouts at home, or outside might not sound all that fun to some of you. Does this mean you should stop putting your body to work? No. It doesn’t. What it does mean is you gotta be willing to compromise for the time being.
If you can commit to 3 workouts a week at home or outside for 20-30 minutes, it’ll at the very least help you maintain your fitness levels.
Incorporating something like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an excellent way to keep your heart rate up, feel the burn, and increase your stamina. What is HIIT? It’s performing one exercise after another with little to no breaks in between. A fairly basic HIIT workout would be something like: 1) Crunches 2) Push Ups 3) Burpees 4) Planks and 5) Air Squats.
I understand the idea of a calisthenics (bodyweight) workout might not sound all that appealing to some of you. However, this is the time to try things you normally wouldn’t do. The gyms won’t be closed forever. For all you know, bicycling, or running, or something as simple as jump rope could be a newfound, enjoyable addition to your workout regimen!
Bottom line is you don’t want your body to do nothing. That’s the worst possible thing you could do. Stay active. Keep the body working and the mind fresh.
That last part brings me to the next section.
Give Some Love To Your Mental Health
Please, don’t think you’re alone in feeling stressed out during this time. I don’t know of a single person who hasn’t felt mentally drained by 2020. It seems impossible to not feel drained. There’s a ton of unknown uncertainties at play. People are unsure if they’ll keep their job. Parents are concerned about financially supporting their families. Small businesses are closing left and right. Talk about stress!
We’re all just waiting for things to get better sooner rather than later. A sense of normalcy would be greatly appreciated by all of us. In the meantime, we need to make sure to take care of our mental health.
Here’s what I suggest to give some love to your mental health:
1. Talk to a friend or family member you can trust. Someone you feel you can open up to. Let them know how you’re doing. Ask them how they’re doing. As I said earlier, you are not the only one struggling right now. Conversing with loved ones, opening up about your feelings, and supporting one another are imperative during this time.
2. Watch and read material that’ll make you laugh. We could all use some laughter in our lives. Seems rather hard to come by these days. That’s why putting on a hilarious sitcom, or reading a comedic novel can be all the difference in bringing a little sunshine to your day.
3. I know it can be difficult, but try to limit the amount of political material you look at each day. We live in an era where politics surrounds us 24/7. It used to be easier to take a break from it. Once upon a time you had to read the newspaper or watch (objective) local news if you wanted to know the state of current events. I don’t care what your political affiliation is. If you engulf yourself in politics all the time, it’s going to drive you bonkers. Take-a-break.
4. If your financial situation allows it, consider meeting with a therapist or a psychiatrist. Stigma has hovered over mental health challenges like a thundercloud for far too many years. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help to have peace of mind. Let me give you some perspective. Why do you think clients hire me as their trainer? Why do people hire personal trainers in general? It’s because by and large, these people want to reach a specific fitness goal. The problem is they don’t know how to accomplish or achieve these goals on their own. So what do they do? They hire professional assistance to achieve these goals. This type of attitude should be no different for someone who struggles with achieving mental clarity. Not everyone can reach a balanced state of mind on their own. Especially during these hectic times. A therapist or a psychiatrist is very much like a personal trainer for your brain. They can guide you in the right direction.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with admitting you can’t overcome mental and emotional hurdles on your own. Look at it this way too. If you’re not a mechanic, but have problems with your car, would you try to fix it on your own? Of course not. You’d go to a mechanic to make sure the problem was corrected to avoid further issues. Again, the same thing applies to your mental health. If you can’t “fix” the problem(s) on your own, it’s okay to seek professional guidance. Believe me. Everyone could use a therapist or psychiatrist at one point or another.
5. Have a desire to elevate your sense of self-improvement. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It may sound vague and cliche, but if you think you couldn’t possibly improve in any area of your life you’re only kidding yourself. Take a look at prolific figures you admire. Do you think they have the mindset of, “Eh. I don’t need to get better at anything. I am the perfect human. I have zero need of improvement in any way, shape, or form.” Of course they don’t. Successful people, influential people, are always looking for ways to improve. What makes you or me any different? Every single one of us could work a little harder at becoming a better person. Use this time to reflect on how you can improve as a friend, a spouse, a business owner, an employee, etc. What can you do to be better than you were yesterday?
2020 will forever be a year of global trials and tribulations. My hope and wish is for all of you to come out of this unprecedented time with a new sense of determination, growth, and self-determination.