"How can I cope now?" These self-care strategies can help.

We have all had difficult times in our lives.

But sometimes, something comes crashing down everything.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are collectively facing something we have never seen before.

For many of us, nothing feels safe or stable anymore – simple activities, human interaction, our daily routines, and even the air we breathe.

People get sick and die.

People are losing their jobs, businesses and livelihoods.

We all want to stay safe and healthy and help others do the same.

However, at the moment, we may not be able to do what we want our body to do.

Indeed, it may be insignificant to think about staying in shape or eating healthy. Or it may be critical. Or overwhelming. Or simply. Impossible, if you can't even find or buy food in stores with empty shelves.

Each of us will have a different relationship with our physical health. Some of us will be lucky enough to enjoy it and keep it. Others will not. We cannot control everything that happens in our body.

We at Precision Nutrition can't fix things.

We cannot remove uncertainty or pain.

But after guiding more than 100,000 customers (who often go through difficult times), there are some things we know.

We have learned a lot from the people we trained.

As human beings, we tend not to consider change until not Change feels too painful to endure. Guided by definition often involves the path with our customers in times of crisis, transition and loss.

Many of us are familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Few of us know post-traumatic development– Discovering and cultivating our strengths during and after difficult times.

The reality we have seen in the guidance of over 100,000 customers is:

  • Anxiety and bloating can happen together. Lyrics from the famous musical Fiddler on the Roof He goes on to say, "Life has a way of confusing us, blessing us, and biting us; let it be happy even when our hearts are lying on the floor."
  • Like physical health, much of mental and emotional health comes from what we do.
  • Also, like physical health, small practices increase.

So we can't tell you how to fix things. (Again, sorry.) But we can…

  • Tell us what we know about supporting the human heart and mind through times of change and difficulty.
  • Help you take care of your inner world.
  • We support you in building your resilience I already have.

That's why we wrote this article.

To be clear: This is not a list of things to do.

We do not want to give you more reasonable "advice" jobs or obligations. We don't want to add more "stuff" to your already full plate.

But small steps forward – even the most stretched and minimal tricks – can make things a little more manageable and help you keep going in times of great uncertainty and difficulty.

So please think of them as ideas. Opportunities Things to hit – something like this science experiment at home with the kids that exploded over the kitchen counter this morning.

As much as possible, go easy on yourself. Try to embrace a "progress not perfection" slogan.

We promise: The little things really add up.

1. Focus on what you CAN check.

There is so much we can't control.

This sometimes feels very scary. We desperately want to know what is going to happen in the future. (Preferably, everything will be fine.)

It can be very easy to wander into a frenzy of uncertainty, panic and / or frustration about things we have no control over. Or double our efforts more difficult to control.

However, you probably have more control than you realize.

There are factors and elements that YOU can control in healthy and productive ways. You can show up for those things, own them and actively participate in shaping them.

Focusing on those things you can control can help you feel calmer and more able to keep going.

Illustration of control spheres. The innermost sphere bears the indication

This may be the case here.

Jennifer Broxterman, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian, Level 1 PN Coach and Managing Director Rx diet, puts it this way:

"We have without control over the virus itself. And we can't control what our governments or politicians say or what laws they enforce.

We may have some control from influencing others around us to practice proper hand washing or to maintain a proper physical distance.

What we have total control over?

Things like:

  • How we use the food we have
  • Moving our body (doing workouts at home or going for walks if possible)
  • Stress management (practicing habits such as the ideas mentioned in this article)
  • Washing our hands
  • Our mentality and attitude or the story we tell about what things mean
  • Connect with people we care about
  • Helping those in need
  • Maintaining our physical distance
  • Following the guidelines for public health

It is important to bring our focus, mentality and actions to the forefront total control, because that's what will affect you the most. "

So, if you feel shocked:

  • Make a list of things that are under your control right now.
  • Consciously commit to focusing and acting those things, and not those that are beyond your absolute control.
  • Spend some time grieving the loss of control, if necessary. It is difficult to agree with the fact that much of the world operates without us as general manager.
  • And, honor the fact that you tried. It probably shows that you really care and want the world to be a better place.

2. Have a "clean slit policy".

Let's be honest: When things hit the fan, so can many of our habits.

Maybe the ice cream and beer disappear from the freezer and the fridge a little faster. Or maybe you were in a full, multi-day binge.

Guess what?

It is OK.

Seriously. We still like you. We understand you more than you can realize. (Oh, don't look in the recycling bins.)

You still have that.

You are not spoiled or broken. In fact, you work beautifully.

The coping mechanisms – overeating, eating, smoking, spending the night playing video games, accumulating in bed under a blanket – are intended. They offer comfort, comfort, distraction and emotional anesthesia.

Think about it:

Even if you don't face it Good, are you eaves. Or at least I'm trying. That's wonderful.

Whatever you do, silly, crazy or dysfunctional as it seems, is a sign that your body and brain are trying to help you feel better.

You are trying to alleviate your own suffering.

Stop and think about what a wonderful thing it is and what elegant mechanisms our brains have to help us relieve pain.

It may not be ideal way of dealing with it, especially in the long run, but it is important to recognize that it is attempt in self-compassion and soothing.

Do no further harm to yourself by hitting yourself afterwards.

You will cause yourself more pain and anxiety, which makes you face it harder… and so on. Self-criticism only reinforces the stress response loop.

Instead, try this.

  • Gently acknowledge what really happened.
  • See if you can identify the thoughts and feelings you have. (If you can't, that's okay.)
  • Recognition: This is normal.
  • Then – move on.

Clean the plate.

At any time, you can wipe the board and start fresh. In life you have infinite erasers.

Every moment is fresh. What happened yesterday – or an hour ago – has nothing to do with your NOW.

Right now, it only matters. Every day, every hour, even every minute, you can wipe the plate clean and move on.

Clean Slate Policy means you don't hit yourself for your mistakes. You don't crumple. You don't call names. And don't say "F-it, I'm screwed forever" and stop.

Instead, you put the past in the past and move on. And, ideally, be kind to yourself as you do.

How are you doing? We suggest: Do a 5 minute action.

3. Take a 5 minute action.

One of the most fundamental practices in our training programs is the 5 minute action.

There is nothing special for 5 minutes. It could be 10 seconds or 1 minute or 10 minutes.

The thing is:

  • It's something that's very, very small.
  • It's an action – something you I am doing.
  • It's something that feels easy and simple.
  • It moves you in the direction you want to go.

In his book Small habits, a behavior change specialist and researcher at Stanford University BJ Fogg, PhD suggests a simple ABC formula to build and enhance a small action:

  • ONEnchor Moment: Something specific in an existing routine that "challenges" you to do the new behavior. For example, "After brushing my teeth, I will…"
  • Microscopic sibehavior: The very small action you have chosen to take.
  • doelasticity: Consciously strengthening your new action and you are proud of your success. It's important to use a celebration that suits you – something that makes you feel happy and successful.

For example:

  • I will leave a glass of water on my bathroom counter. After waking up in the morning and using the bath (A), I will drink a sip of water (B) and then myself five (C).
  • I will keep the pre-packaged chopped vegetables in my fridge. At dinner (A), I will eat a handful (B) and make them extremely special with the salsa I love (C).

As the adjective of Dr. implies. Fogg "tiny", these 5 minute actions must be very simple, small and feasible. Like:

  • Get out of your home, or on your balcony, or open a window and take 5 deep breaths of fresh air.
  • Lay your bed.
  • Arrange a shelf or drawer.
  • Play 1 minute toy with your child and the last roll of toilet paper.
  • Send a text message to someone.
  • Slowly enjoy a glass of wine. (I'm kidding. Sort.)
  • Scan the mind-body. (We'll show you how to do that in a minute.)

And so on.

If it seems too simple, we assure you, it is not. Minor actions increase over time. Do what you can, whenever you can. We promise you that is enough.

(To hear more from Dr. Fogg and Jennifer Broxterman, see our conversation with them here.)

How can I maintain my health and fitness at such a time?

Maybe you've started to improve your exercise and diet, or maybe you have your healthy habits in an art.

And then, KAPOW. Life was completely interrupted.

Now what?

Your fitness routine? Forget it. Perfectly designed meals? No. Good night rest? Ha!

At a time like this, it can be very easy to pause – to say, "I'll be back to this later when things are less obvious."

But now more than ever, it's important to stay in the game.

Even if it just means appearing and taking five minutes of action, as we described earlier.

You may think that "it's not the time" to take care of your health and fitness.

We support that it is time to show up for you.

In fact, this is the perfect opportunity for radical action on your part. Even if the radical action only means a few deep breaths when you may have been terrified before.

So how do you go about it? Try the "call method".

Think of health and fitness habits as dials.

When you are completely in your game, you can call things. You can exercise more or pursue more demanding goals.

However, in times when you are already stressed and taxing, you can call the same downward habits – doing less, simplifying things and / or making a smaller / easier version of what you usually do.

The trick is not to turn them off completely.

Zach Pelo, its owner Pello Fitness and a member of the Coalition of Health and Fitness Leaders, offers an example of how he uses this method for himself.

"I think about it almost every day. Well, right now, I'm still meditating – but I only do five minutes a day. I keep doing it because I know that when I get out of it, I will be able to invest more time in it when the time is right. So, try to change your efforts, but do not neglect them completely. "

(For more on using the call method and avoiding cessation of health and fitness habits, take a look: How not to press "pause" on your health and fitness again.)

4. Breathe. (Really.)

How are you breathing now?

Short and fast or long and slow?

Do you breathe from above your chest or from deep in your abdomen?

When we are anxious and anxious, our breathing tends to respond. your chest may feel tight and your breathing may become short and fast. You may find yourself holding your breath, sleeping in the air, or even feeling like you're on the verge of a panic attack.

The good news is that paying close attention to your breathing can be an amazing antidote to stress, sending the message to your body that you are in a relaxed, safe state. In turn, your body and brain can begin to calm down.

Michael Gervais, PhD, creator and host Finding dominance podcast, mentality trainer for Seattle Seahawks and its member Coalition of health and fitness leaders, recommends breathing exercises for those suffering from anxiety and stress.

"When you feel tight, when you feel your heart skipping a bit, when you feel that your breathing rate is changing, when you feel nervous or that your inner 'feeling of scratch', breathing is a massively useful ability," he explains.

Why does it work so well? "A long exhalation sends a message to our ancient brain that we are safe," says Dr. Gervais. "He sends a signal to the brain that says, 'Hello, there is no tooth tiger.' You have the luxury of a nice, deep, relaxing breath. Well, relax, man. ""

Here's a simple way to do it:

  • Blow up a fantastic balloon very slowly, trying to clear your lungs.
  • Then relax your body and let the breathing happen naturally.
  • Blow up a balloon again.
  • Relax and let the breath happen again.
  • And so on.

For a slightly more advanced version, Dr. Gervais suggests something called box breathing. See how it works:

  • As you inhale, practice breathing for 4-5 seconds.
  • Then hold your breath for 4-5 seconds.
  • Breathe slowly for another 4-5 seconds.
  • Then hold your breath for 4-5 seconds longer.

Then you can repeat it as many times as you want. Dr. Gervais suggests doing this for 12 breaths, although you can start with just one slow breath.

Do you want some help coordinating your breathing? (Or does it just calm down?) Try a mind-body scan.

Mind-body scanning is like a simplified meditation technique that helps you feel inside and connect with your body. Want to do a test? See that free mind-body scanning worksheet.

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