Resetting your system during self-isolation
While many states around the country are slowly beginning to transition back to normal and are integrating reopening policies, many of us are still practicing safe social-distancing and at-home isolation. After spending over two months out of your regular routine and away from friends, family, and co-workers, you may be feeling like you’re living a Groundhog’s Day and need to shake up your routine (we sure are). That’s why we’ve put together 15 ways you can spend 15 minutes to break up your day and increase energy, wellness, and productivity.
- Take a coffee break. A mid-day coffee break used to require stepping outside of the office and into the fresh air, waiting in line to place and receive your order, and then sitting down with a co-worker or friend while drinking your coffee. That small block of time away from work can refresh your mind and body, so try implementing the same routine with a home brewed cup of coffee and a FaceTime friend. While our sleep expert Dr. Allison Brager recommends cutting caffeine consumption at least 7 hours before you plan to hit the hay, a late morning or early afternoon coffee break is well-advised.
- Walk around the block without your phone. With more home time and less commuting, you may be finding that your number of total steps per day has dramatically declined. Researchers have found that walking reduces the risk of cardiovascular events by 31%. So ditch your phone, and spend 10-15 minutes circling the block between work calls or homeschooling sessions.
- Breathe. The research on breathing to enhance physical and mental health and performance goes back decades. Breathing influences every system and function within the body, and proper breathing will promote oxygen transport to all the vital organs and tissues of the body. Our friends at XPT have curated breathing advisors and staff to find the most effective methods for every situation (like activating, performing, and resetting). Plus, their app has several breathing exercises for free that are under 15 minutes.
- Get in some core work. Your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. A strong core also enhances balance and stability and can improve back pain, posture, and everyday tasks that involve scooping and bending. Momentous Athlete and Big Mountain Skier Johnny Collinson has been prioritizing his core strength while training at home, so we’ve turned to his Instagram for some inspiration. Try any of his routines if you’re looking for an advanced challenge in core stabilization.
- Take a long shower. While the benefits of cold tub immersion or taking a cold shower have been a hot topic for a few years, there are also benefits to taking a longer, hot shower. Research is showing that a long, hot shower can help lower blood sugar, relieve muscle tension, help you fall asleep faster, and lower blood pressure.
- Find your flow. While 15 minutes isn’t long enough to squeeze in a full yoga studio session, it is long enough for a short flow and stretch. After a quick search on youtube, we were able to find many free options to choose from. Another favorite program of ours is ROMWOD (yoga for functional fitness and strength athletes), which now provides both a short and long version of their daily yoga program. Plus, they offer a free 7-day trial.
- Get creative in the kitchen. If your kitchen is now closer to your workspace than it’s ever been, it can be hard to avoid the constant snacking temptation. Planning ahead can be one of the most effective ways to prioritize nutrition and remain purposeful with your choices. So, take a quick break and spend a few minutes planning out your meals for the day. We turned to San Francisco 49ers Dietitian Jordan Mazur for some inspiration — he’s been sharing meal ideas on his Instagram including the two healthy, budget-friendly recipes he shared with us.
- Read an article (that’s not the news). There are so many news articles circulating around COVID-19 updates that it can be a bit overwhelming. So, if you’re turning to your phone for a quick break, choose content that can provide you with some escapism or connection with a topic you feel passionately about. The marketing team at Momentous has been immersing ourselves in articles and podcasts that focus on topics like American history, Formula-1 cars, and DIY home projects.
- Play catch. With Father’s Day around the corner, get off the couch, turn off the TV, and ask someone (Your kid? Your dog?), “Do you wanna have a catch?” Playing catch has actually been researched for its health benefits — child development specialists extol the virtues of building eye-hand coordination and instruct you on the right age to start your toddler off with a soft, squishy ball. There has also been research done on Parkinson’s patients and older adults proving the benefit it can have on posture and coordination. Plus, you can play catch anywhere.
- Practice your skill. If you’re a ball athlete and have been missing time away from the field or the court, there’s still room to improve your skill at home. In fact, McGill University confirms that you don’t need a 2 hour block of training in order to make skill improvements — they found that as little as 15-minutes of exercise creates optimal brain state for mastering new motor skills. We’re taking inspiration from WNBA player Maggie Lucas and professional soccer player Paige Neilson who always have a ball in hand (or on foot).
- Assess and restructure your task list. If you’re already halfway through the day and nothing has been crossed off your to-do list, take a moment to assess and restructure your goals for the day. Start by shortening the list to no more than five items and placing items you can achieve quickly toward the top. This will allow you to gather some momentum while also keeping your goals for the day realistic.
- Implement some muscular therapy. If you’re sitting more than you used to, you may start noticing some muscular aches and pains. Break up your day by standing up and applying some self-massage, muscular therapy techniques. If you’re looking for a little more guidance here, a favorite leader of ours is Dr. Kelly Starrett of The Ready State — Starrett has worked with Olympic gold medalists, UFC champions, and dozens of other pro sports organizations to provide customized mobility coaching. You can follow his Pro program online or try it out through a 14 day free trial.
- Reset your posture. Speaking of sitting more, how’s your posture doing these days? We’re finding our shoulders are a bit more rounded and our upper backs are tighter than usual. Strengthening your core can help to improve posture (see tip number 4), as will shoulder and scapular control exercises. One of our favorite programs is the Crossover Symmetry system which is designed to correct movement breakdowns that lead to shoulder pain.
- Tidy up your work space. The physical environment of the workplace has a significant effect on the way that we work. When our space is a mess, so are we. A study on the effects of clutter in the home found that individuals who felt overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” in their homes were more likely to procrastinate. Research has also found that clutter can affect our general mental health, making us feel stressed, anxious, or depressed. So spend a quick 15 minutes filing away old papers and cleaning up your work space.
- Free write. If you’re looking to clear up some mental space, set a timer and try 15 minutes of free writing (or journaling). Journaling has been found to reduce stress, improve immune function, keep your memory sharp, boost your mood, and strengthen emotional functions. If you’re having a hard time getting started, don’t think, just write. The more you practice free writing techniques, the easier it will become.