Keeping Healthy Routines When Life Gets in the Way

It’s been a crazy summer for me and I’m having a difficult time keeping healthy routines because life is getting in the way.

I’d like to blame the virus. It certainly didn’t help.

My time the past month has really been refocused as a caregiver, so while I don’t have free time, I do have “hang out” downtime.

My normal summer routines include:

  • Hours of bike riding. Usually two rides a week
  • A two hour short ride and a longer really fun day ride with a big group on the weekend.
  • Group exercise at the gym
  • Big veggie salads at potlucks with friends
  • Some summer fun on the lake
  • A week vacation on the ocean beach with lots of walking and contemplation

This summer has been very memorable, but not a good workout way. I’ve been squeezing in ways to keep up my fitness

  • Bringing hand weights and dumbbells with me
  • Bringing my bike in my car (along with helmet, gloves, bike shoes, water bottles and fanny pack) and taking the opportunity when I can go for a short ride, even just for 15 minutes!
  • Walking in a parking lot before doing the “pick up” at the grocery store
  • Doing more stairs while carrying small loads while doing laundry and cleaning out old faded holiday decorations
  • Switching dinner from a “meal” to an earlier in the evening small snack to reduce my overall calorie intake

I’ve also had to do a lot more driving in my car in the last month, so I’m trying to focus on getting back into my positive mental attitude by listening to uplifting podcasts again. Of course I have been revisiting some of my favorite Fit Strong Women Over 50 episodes. They always inspire me.

To me being fit and getting stronger is about strengthening the mind to become more resilient as well as the body.

Mental fitness has been a big focus for me. Here’s what I’ve been doing to stimulate my para sympathetic nervous system (the relax and restore response instead of fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system):

  • 5 or 6 minute meditations (close eyes, focus on breathing and letting thoughts slide by like passing cars on a street)
  • Yoga nidra for deep relaxation (especially at night or early morning.) One of my favorites is a 10 year old podcast from UCLA with 3 short episodes as well as Dr. Melissa West for longer guided yoga nidra meditations
  • 4-7-8 breathing (4 inhale, 7 hold, 8 mouth exhale for 4 rounds)
  • Remembering and reciting in my some of my favorite “hang in there” mantras. This too shall pass. You can do hard things. Just for Today.
  • When I feel anxiety start to build, I may do some EFT tapping.
  • Focus on the horizon, the longer term instead of what is directly in front of me

I’ve especially been trying to keeping food in perspective. With my eating this summer, probably the thing that is serving me best is planning ahead. I have been focused on two parts: meal planning and meal prepping.

By making plain chicken in the slow cooker for the week ahead, I can add fresh vegetables, some cheese or other sides to switch it up, but not require lots of cooking while away. Using pick up from a grocery store helps cut down time (as well as avoid exposure) and helps me not impulse spend as well.

Full disclosure – don’t get the idea that I have it all together! I’m still trying to get a handle on it all. Forgetting to set the timer is not a good way to make cabbage steaks. I usually love sliced cabbage with some olive oil roasted in the oven for about an hour (turn once) but I forgot and when my nose smelled something I realized I really should have set the timer.

Cooking Fail — Crispy cabbage was not what I was going for…

I have a little cooler that has been really helpful on these hot days. Keeping water and healthy snacks in it has made a good difference. Because of the changes in routine, I’ve been fighting the urge for stress eating as well. I keep reminding myself, it doesn’t solve anything.

What tricks do you use to keep your good healthy and fitness when your normal routines are completely changed?

3 thoughts on “Keeping Healthy Routines When Life Gets in the Way”

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one to burn up roasted vegetables! Sometimes it’s just hard to pay attention to things. Lots of great information in here. I really like the meditation info, yoga nidra, and thoughts on how to reduce stress.

    I’m so impressed by everything your doing!

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