The year 2020 was supposed to be groundbreaking for many of us. A lot of people expected big changes and improvements in various areas of life. No one could imagine that we are going to spend the majority of this year stuck at home. Some people are privileged enough to work from home, so at first glance not much has changed for them. However, we started noticing that home office has its disadvantages, especially related to our physical condition and emotional state. It’s a completely new lifestyle that we have to get used to, mainly because it’s more than likely that such working style will stay with us for longer, even after the pandemic comes to an end. It’s crucial that we learn how to make the best out of this situation. Staying at home gives us a little more time to take care of our health, both physical and mental. As a yoga teacher and self-care advocate I prepared a few recommendations on how we can enhance our everyday lives with just a few easy to implement steps.
The main issue of working from home is the fact that we’re no longer on the move. Staying at home means that we move way less than before. Our everyday commute to the office could be considered a physical effort, even if it was only a short walk to a bus stop. Some of us also no longer have a possibility to go to the gym. What can be done to stay in shape and avoid gaining excess kilograms? Specialists recommend up to one hour of physical activity every day to maintain correct weight, feel energized and healthy and even extend life expectancy. It’s also beneficial to our emotional well-being.
The best solution that will bring balance to our lives is combining two types of physical activities – yin and yang. Yin and yang is a dualistic concept from taoistic Chinese philosophy that describes how completely opposite forces balance each other out creating perfect harmony. In terms of sport, yin (feminine energy) corresponds with soft, more static movements. Great examples would be yoga, tai chi, qigong, stretching or any kind of activity that lowers stress levels, relaxes both the body and the mind and helps to wind down after intense and emotional events. Such sports are not only relaxing, but also are extremely beneficial to joints, spine and deep core muscles. Regular practice helps maintain good posture, keeps the body in shape, improves breathing quality and allows us to stretch after the long day of sitting in one position. In fact, one of the main reasons why yoga poses where created was to prepare the body for long hours of sitting still in meditation. We can now use this ancient wisdom for our advantage. Even 15 minutes of yoga every day brings amazing results and people are no longer in pain after sitting at their desks for eight hours. According to ayurvedic medicine yoga or similar yin activities should be practiced in the afternoon, so right after work is the perfect time.
To balance out relaxing activities we need to add some more dynamic sports. Yang (masculine energy) relates to every activity that increases the heart rate, stimulates the metabolism and burns calories. There is a wide variety of sports to choose from. At home we can do some cardio or hiit – high intensity interval training. If we are able to go outside, we can go for a run, ride a bicycle or even go for a long walk, anything to break a sweat. According to ayurveda it’s best to do such sports in the morning, to wake up the body and set the tone for the day. Additionaly, if you start your day with training, you will be less likely to overeat or choose unhealthy meal options throughout the day. Yang activities should be avoided right before going to bed. They can disturb your sleeping schedule and cause insomnia, since they energize our bodies and minds. If you have trouble falling asleep, do your training a few hours before going to bed.
Another benefit of regular exercise is that we can build a daily rutine around it. Having a schedule has many benefits when it comes to mental health. The mind is more calm when we know what to expect and we gain a sense of control over our lives. Hence, it’s not only about having a beautiful, healthy body, but also a sense of purpose and wellness. It’s highly recommended especially to those of us who suffer from depression or anxiety. Taking care of the physical body is the first step on the journey to healthiness.
It may seem overwhelming at first to start a completely new fitness regimen. In such case it’s best to start with baby steps. Maybe implement a short stretching session in between the online meetings, or go for a walk during your lunch break. It doesn’t have to be a big and drastic change from day one. In time, if you feel more comfortable, try to add more to your schedule. And remember, when you will notice the first results, you will be more motivated to stick to this new routine.