As the new year begins, we are bombarded with tips & tricks to live healthier. The best yoga classes, 14-day challenge fitness courses, healthy meal recipes are all out there. Will we make it this year? I doubt it.
The reason why most years begin with great intentions about wellness which fade out lately mid-February is that we begin with unrealistic expectations. Flawless wellness plans that spread throughout the year seem great however are usually not applicable within the big picture. Family dinners, stressed and sleepless work nights, holidays, lazy days are not counted in the plan. When they come out, the plan is to be abandoned all at once.
Throughout the years, my wellness routine looked like above, a black or white game where I was either too good or terrible at keeping up with a healthy diet and fitness routine. When pandemics hit, things got complicated. Responsibilities at home and work doubled, which completely destructed the plan for me; no time for sports, no time for cooking healthy meals, that was my wellness burnout. I was at the highest weight of my entire life and feeling truly unhealthy in my body. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel ready for another ‘’challenge’’.
This time instead of solving the problem instantly, I chose to take a look at my yearly wellness progress. It was funny to realize that it had a calendar that repeated every year:
I was mostly active in sports between February — September. Lost weight at that period.
Always gained weight when autumn hits, in September. Worst at wellness between September — January. Ate a lot, especially in December with all the new year spirit. 🙂 Then the cycle repeated.
As a differentiator, instead of fighting with myself, getting angry and disappointed each September, I decided to accept this routine. This yearly calendar was my authentic way and for me, the black — and white loop was a must. I enjoyed it, I realized that I could not keep up with the 365 days, 7/24 plan. So I shook hands with myself to keep up with this calendar, enjoy frequent dinners in December, knowing that soon I’ll be on my mat again.
I changed my fitness routine to ‘What I loved’ and this was the first time I worked out an entire year without giving up!
During the pandemics, I looked for online ways to keep up with fitness. Tried a LOT of the best content out there. Signed in and out to many programs. Most of them were terrible to me, especially because of all the videos with a continuous voiceover: Now stretch your legs, now pay attention to how you hold your arms…. I was just ending with a headache, feeling getting out of a boring class at university.
There I discovered Pamela and she changed my life. She did not talk. Plus, she included the best DJ music in her videos. Perfect views in the background and a very well-kept woman who always subconsciously reminds that those sweats grant this good look.
I began with her weekly programs which included 40-minute videos each day. But I had a challenge, I had to do it all at 5 am, before my baby wakes up. Therefore I promised myself to do min 20. min and if he’s still sleeping, finishing the whole program.
Mostly I could manage to do the 40 min. Some days it was just 20 min. In busy days instead of skipping the fitness, I just worked out 10 minutes. But that was OK for me. Because it was what fit my life.
The worst hobby of cooking
I hate cooking. Probably the most uninspiring activity of all time for me. However, needed to manage it somehow. Although I do not have a Pamela in that field yet (hope to find her one day:) ), I did find the ‘’quick recipes’’, the ones for the ‘’lazy chefs’’ on the internet. Plus I discovered a catering system which would free me from cooking some days of the month at least.
I minimized the menu with a one-fits-all strategy, cooking healthy meals that my son would also like. That saved time and energy from a field that I dislike.
Spa at Home? Just feels great.
My dedicated luxury of SPA that I went regularly for nearly 20 years was taken away from me with the pandemics. So frustrating. Or it was so, until the day I ordered online the best of shower gels, spa oils, and moisturizers along with candles, to create my spa ritual at home. After a long search, I found my favorite SPA album on Spotify. And allowed me to pause for a mini-spa treatment even in the middle of the workday (a fanatic keeping her massage oil on her desk!). I discovered that most of the SPA experience that I missed was the sensory experience it gave me with the fragrances, music, and darkness; beyond the massage itself. So replicated this part at home as much as possible. Felt great.
Quick Take-Aways on Curating Your Authentic Wellness Routine
-Embrace your ‘’fit’’ and ‘’lazy’’ times and if in balance, say to yourself that it’s OK to switch between black and white.
-Find the fitness plan that fits you. Not every trainer is a good fit for everybody. Don’t underestimate the power of music!
-Create your imperfect meal plan that doesn’t feel overwhelming and turn the cooking into a time-consuming activity.
-Include a way to pamper yourself in your routine and take this seriously, invest in it. For me, it was SPA at home.
-Most importantly, make sure you are having fun! Having fun grants you keeping up with your new routine and diminishes your probability to quit.
I wish you a happy & healthy new year where wellness feels like just the best fit for you, not like stressful homework.