It’s a tale of two pandemic responses.
Some ate and drank the pain of isolation away. Others worked out like their life depended on it (and in some cases, it did).
I ended up somewhere in the middle. The spring of 2020 started off strong, then I fell off last summer before rallying at the beginning of winter. I’m still struggling with consistency, because, well… some days are better than others from a psychological standpoint, ya know?
There’s light showing at the end of the tunnel, though. While things may not return to normal (whatever that means), this coming summer promises to open things up a bit. You’ll hang with people you may not have seen in a while. And you want to be looking good, right?
That’s what it took for Saahil Desai, writing for The Atlantic, to get it in gear:
All it took to finally motivate me was a bit of vanity. For the first time in a very long time, the pandemic is easing up in the United States. Coronavirus cases have plummeted from their January peak. Vaccinations keep climbing. Like a butterfly hatching from its cocoon, we’re finally on our way toward fluttering out of quarantine and into a world in which we can get together without the constant threat of infection.
So is vanity an acceptable motivator to get you on the path to better health and wellness? Hey, whatever it takes. And while dwelling on the opinions of others is not a smart long-term strategy, giving some consideration to how we look in public after being locked away may just be the feel-good motivation we all need.
Normalcy isn’t quite here yet, but it’s close enough for me to be vain again, and let me tell you, that feels wonderful.
Amen. Now hit those reps … March is halfway over!
I Want to Look Damn Good When the World Sees Me Again (The Atlantic)
Process Beats Vanity
Okay, you knew I wasn’t going to leave it at that. Whatever it takes to get started is all good. But to keep going you have to focus on the process of exercising as an end to itself. All the external benefits still happen whether you reduce them to external goals or not.
Your Fitness Goals Aren’t Real. Here’s What Is (BodyBuilding.com)
Purpose Provides Profit
Investors who want to make a real difference in people’s lives are diving into a new type of investing: impact investing. You may have heard of ESG or socially responsible investing. Well, impact investing takes it one step further. (Kiplinger)
The Knew Normal
If you start working out now, by June you’ll look and feel great. But don’t expect to feel “normal” necessarily. And maybe that’s not so bad.
Keep scrolling for Trudi’s take on mindful exercise to help you look good and stress less, and in the Flashback we feature Kajagoogoo’s greatest hits in their entirety.
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Use Mindful Exercise to Work Out Your Stress
By Trudi Roth
As a meditation teacher, I hear tons of rationalizations about why people believe they don’t need a regular practice. Topping the list is, “my workout is my meditation.”
I get it, although frankly it’s up there with the proverbial “dog ate my homework” excuse. A fitness-related endorphin release, which can feel blissful, isn’t the same. And as a serial solo exerciser who loves biking and hiking, I know I tend to ruminate when I’m working out.
If your mind is moving faster than your legs, it’s not meditation.
Still, you can use exercise to build both mental and physical strength. All it takes is a dash of mindfulness to get into the zone.
The Benefits of Building Your Mind-Body Muscle
One of the most powerful tools to achieve your personal best is awareness. Research shows staying present as you train improves the quality of your movement and overall workout.
There’s also evidence that the mood-boosting aspects of meditation and physical activity are complementary. A Rutgers University study showed combining meditation and exercise can reduce depressive symptoms by up to 40%.
On the other hand, when you’re driven to distraction, workouts can be counterproductive for your well-being. As mindfulness instructor David Gerken astutely observes:
Being stuck in Thoughtlandia for 45 straight minutes results in our feeling less centered afterward, which makes us more susceptible to any adversity that may pop up during the rest of our day.
Knowing that your long-term health depends on higher-quality workouts can help you take action. By introducing mindfulness into your fitness routine, you can drop self-judgment and other negative thoughts and bring a sense of peace and positivity into your day.
The benefit of intentional breathing in exercise, for example, inhaling and exhaling as you lift weights, may not be news to you. But Gerken takes it a step further by guiding you to follow your breath as you work out.
As you begin to exercise, it’s simple to focus on the task at hand. But soon enough, your mind will wander. At that point, bring your attention to your breathing and count ten full breaths.
You can also choose triggers to get your mindful breathing in, like after a certain number of laps if you’re a swimmer, at a landmark if you hike, bike, or run, or in between sets of something that requires concentration (like weight training). Shoot for half a dozen cycles of ten intentional breaths during a 45-minute session.
Practice is vital to expand both mental and physical capacity. So drop the weight of spinning on your past or future during your workouts and instead find strength in the present moment.
Kajagoogoo – Too Shy
White Feathers, 1983
I’m betting I get at least one email arguing that Kajagoogoo was more than just Too Shy, and I will remain unconvinced. (YouTube)
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