Build Your Exercise Routine Back

Are you out of shape after the pandemic? Many people had exercise routines centered around going to a gym or participating in a team sport. During the pandemic, that kind of exercise was not possible. Few have had the willpower to implement a corresponding solo regime, so we’re out of shape.

But now gym reopenings are beckoning, and you can soon go back to your weekly aerobics or Taekwondo class. To prepare for that, start going a little bit of exercise every day. If you’ve not been training at all, start with ridiculously small amounts of exercise, but add a little every day. Write down in your journal what you did and make sure you do just a little more each day. If you jogged for 100 yards yesterday, jog 150 yards today. If you did 3 jumping jacks yesterday, do 4 today.

Movement is important for both your physical and mental health. Start building your exercise routine back.

Numbers Optional

Do you run your life by the numbers? Some people meticulously record their steps, their time, and their diet, and the media and the internet is full of well-meaning advice from these people. And there is of course a gadget or an app to track and register everything.

This approach works for a specific kind of people. However, if you are not a numbers person, there is no need to feel guilty because other people say you should be tracking steps, calories or anything else.

If you want to improve your life, you do need to take time to reflect on what you are doing with the days you have been given. But tracking exact numbers is purely optional.

Read Books

What book are you reading right now? Books are a great way to relax, immerse yourself in another world, and learn something. And paper books don’t affect your sleep like reading on a screen does.

People have announced the death of physical books for a long time, but 2020 saw more paper books sold than ever before. If you’re not reading a book right now, find one on your bookshelf that you have meant to get around to, and get started tonight.

E-mail Self Defense

Be careful when you check email. Lots of emails contain things you need to do and meetings you will have to attend. Everybody starts thinking about the potential problems with the tasks or the possible unpleasant things that might happen at the meetings. Especially if you suffer from anxiety, you need to practice some email self-defense.

Here in Denmark, there is a citizen’s initiative aimed at forbidding government agencies, counties, and municipalities from sending out messages outside of normal working hours. It was started by a person who sometimes got anxiety attacks when receiving officiel mail, and getting a message on a Saturday morning when his therapist as closed for the weekend was a major problem for him.

In Germany, there is a law that forbids companies to send email to employees in the evening and weekend. The boss can send it, but the company email system holds it until the morning of the next working day.

Even if you are not protected by national regulations, you can help yourself by setting an email-checking schedule. Also consider removing your email accounts from your phone. In that way, you will have to open up your laptop to check mail. That extra work will give you the chance to reconsider if you really need to check email right now.

Make a Change

When you want to make changes to your life, it is a good idea to connect them to something else that changes. That’s why we make New Year’s resolutions, and why we decide on our birthdays to establish new habits.

If you live in American and got a new president yesterday, you can also use that as a trigger for a change in your life. If you have a goal or a change you want to implement, today is a good day to start.

Build a Health Habit

A lot of people have a health goal among their New Year’s resolutions. Goals focus your attention, but health goals tend to be “I should” goals set with your mind instead of your heart. Ideally, you would work on finding your true “why” and set a heart goal that will be much easier to achieve. But the next best thing is to build a habit instead. If you can create a habit of exercising, or a habit of eating home-cooked food instead of takeaway, your health will improve.

In Denmark where I live, we have costal climate. That means it doesn’t really get cold in winter, and snow is a rare occurrence. But we just had snow and we’ll have freezing temperatures this weekend. I’ll be taking some long walks this weekend. What will you do to support your new health habit this weekend?

Habit Tracking

If there is a habit you wold like to start, re-start or strengthen, maybe a physical calendar will help remind you to do it every day. Print out a calendar of the entire year and make a checkmark every day you did the action you are trying to turn into a habit. Reddit user Propelissa helpfully created one to print out for your 2021 checkmarks: https://i.imgur.com/7JQNGs9.jpg. Ready, set, go!

Brightening Days

It’s winter solstice on Monday – here in Copenhagen, the exact time is 11.02 AM. Humans have always looked for and celebrated watershed moments like this. Even though your life will not automatically change for the better when the days start getting longer again, you can make it so.

Make a list this weekend of old habits and behaviors that belong in 2020. You can’t quit coronavirus safety rules just yet, but there might be worries or fears you can put behind you. On Monday, crumble up the list of old ways and write a new one with new habits and behaviors you are going to implement in the brightening days that will be starting soon.

Keep the Good Habits

The pandemic has forced a lot of changes upon us, and some of them have been positive. Working from home has freed up time you used to spend traveling to work, and has given you the flexibility to distribute your work time freely across the day. With less opportunity to go out, maybe you have been walking more, reading more, or spending more time with your partner or children.

Make a note of the positive changes you have experienced and you want to keep once all this is over. Put it on your desk, on a post-it note on your computer, or on your fridge as a reminder to stick with the positive new habits you have developed.