Covid-19 and Your Fitness- “Staying sane in an insane world”
“Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” Quite a fitting line from Arthur Fleck aka “The Joker”, and this appiles to covid-19 and your fitness!
Arthur was found saying this only months before physical fights were breaking out in supermarkets over packets of toiler paper. The Joker is one of my favourite movies of all time, it blends two of my greatest interests together: stories and psychology. It shows the descent of the human mind through episodes of psychosis and leaves the viewer questioning what is real and what isn’t. It shows what a chaotic society combined with an unstable mind can result in. In many ways it parallels the situation we encounter today; there is mass hysteria in the news and individuals are left in complete uncertainty as to their physical, financial and psychological security. To take another line from The Joker, “It is enough to make anyone crazy”. What we are left with is a world where it is scary, and even illegal, to continue on with our regular routine. The question arises: what can we do to survive in such a state of chaos. In this post, I will shed my thoughts on one way in which you can deal with such a situation: The Schedule.
Schedules are a powerful tool and should never be overlooked. A schedule brings order out of chaos. It is one of the easiest things you can actually develop that will instantly bring clarity to your life, while improving your covid-19 and your fitness program. I use a schedule religiously. Some people need more plans than others, and that is fine if you are one who wants less rigidity in your day, but for me, I like to know exactly what I am doing. Here is a thought process that never works: “I am going to be productive today”. Okay great, first of all what does that even mean? And second of all, how the hell, after defining what it means, are you going to meet those requirements for productivity? The likely answers are, you don’t know and you aren’t going to. A schedule helps you to design your life in a way such that you can be productive and you know you are being productive because you have set tasks that you want to accomplish and you work towards achieving them. Here are some tips I suggest for making your schedule.
Understand the two-key components: your schedule should be a healthy balance of purposeful activity and self-care. A purposeful activity is a goal-directed use of time. You might have a goal of going to sleep in a clean house, therefore undertake the purposeful activity of cleaning. You might have the goal of having your reports completed and thus undertake the purposeful activity of writing. Self-care is any type of activity that you do to maintain your own physical and psychological health. It might be exercise, reading, eating healthy, relaxing at night, or any other number of things that you enjoy and make you feel good. Consider the specific type of these activities you need and want in your day when writing your schedule.
Design the day you want: do not try to tyrannize yourself, it won’t work and if it does, you’ll resent yourself for it and not be willing to do it again. Bargain with yourself and decide what is the right amount of work to be met with the right amount of reward. In The Shining, Jack writes a book that is the line “All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy” over and over again (a moment sadly missed in the book). Do not try and be like Jack, balance purposeful activity with self-care.
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Start small: If you have taken this time as a bit of a break from reality, then do not try and jump back into a routine that would make Elon Musk look like an unemployed teenager. Here is a good rule: schedule what you would do, not what you could do. I am sure if a gun were pressed to your head, you could exercise for two hours today, then read 100 pages from War and Peace followed by meal prepping for the rest of the week. But, without such persuasive techniques encouraging you, it might be more difficult to do all of that out of nowhere. Start with something, anything, you would be proud you did today and reward yourself for it. That way tomorrow, you will be more likely to do it again.
Sleep: One of the first things most psychologist do in treating mood disorders is look at the patients sleep wake schedule. Is the person going to bed and waking up at the same time every morning? Or, are they all over the shop, going to bed and waking up at all times? The time you wake up and the time you go to bed strongly influence your hormonal balances throughout the day. An unsteady sleep-wake pattern leads to an unsteady hormonal balance and ultimately leads to fluctuations in mood, energy and cravings, to name a few. If you can only do one, pick to wake up at the same time every morning. Allow yourself half an hour on either side maximum per week and you will be far better of for it.
There has it, the importance of a schedule and four tips for your creation of one. Consider what I’ve written here and try to implement the strategies into your own daily planning and kick some goals through covid-19 and your fitness plan. You will find that having a clearer structure to your day will help to keep you on track, and keep you sane, in this insane world.