Fit for Fall and Well for Winter

Want the secret for staying healthy? The secret is…there is no secret. Staying active, eating wholesome foods, and cultivating stress-less lives is clearly the way to a healthier, happier life. It’s just a matter of actually doing it. And during this time of isolation, it is even more important to take care of ourselves: not only to ensure our health, but to help support those close to us. 

The Wellness Committee at Clarity has created a Slack channel for healthy inspiration. The summer months brought shared healthy recipes and showed off hikes and outings. The intention is to inspire our colleagues by sharing what we are doing to stay healthy during these times. 

But we’re nearly eight months into the pandemic, and winter is approaching. In Oregon, that typically means short days and wet weather. This can often “dampen” my primary wellness activity: running. And without my usual running clubs, how can I ensure that I stay active and healthy through the winter? 

Finding Motivation with Social Groups

During “normal” times, I participated in a local women's run club as well as our in-house Clarity Run Club. These co-running groups were the motivation I needed to head out in the cold and rainy weather. Working remotely, I’ve had to come up with different ways to find motivation. Thankfully, the Clarity Run Club has its own Slack channel to keep each other motivated from a distance. If I see that two of my colleagues went for a run, I need to get outside and run as well! 

Using apps is a way to stay connected to other running friends. I use Strava, a run and cycling tracking app, which also incorporates social features. I can see a feed of my friends’ runs and comment on them or “like” them. Although it’s something small, getting positive feedback from friends is a great boost. And sure: a little peer pressure is a fabulous motivator!

Mixing it Up with (Free) Apps

I’ll be honest: I’ve not been the greatest at mixing it up when it comes to workouts. Sometimes it feels like I’m going for a “rut” more than going for a “run.” After running the same routes over and over, I needed a break from the same old, same old! Back in March—a hundred years ago—I purchased a Peloton indoor bike for cycling workouts. But the real treat is the accompanying app loaded with a variety of workout types, including biking, strength, yoga, and even meditation. Psst: You don’t need to bike to enjoy the app, and there is a 30-day free trial to test it out. 

For those unwilling to invest in a living room bicycle, there are a variety of apps—both paid and free—that offer workouts online. A quick YouTube search for at-home workouts yields hundreds of results, like Fitness Blender, which even offers recipes, or the free Nike Training Club. There are endless activity options without having to leave the house or heading to a (yikes) gym!

Diet and Self-Care: Wellness is More Than Just Working Out  

Eating well is another piece of the wellness puzzle. I have a baby and a toddler, so I don’t have the time or energy to cook elaborate meals. I keep it simple with meal prep, and try to serve up plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains… and I consider chocolate an essential (it’s an antioxidant or something). Additionally, I try to realize that this is a difficult time in my life, with a pandemic and two young children, so getting food on the table is a celebration itself.

The area I struggle with the most is self-care. Getting enough sleep and having time to myself is impossible with two small children, with little-to-no help beyond occasional workday daycare. I grab bits of time when I can: working on a puzzle or watching TV after the kids go to bed, and going for runs by myself during naptime or a break during the workday. 

Celebrate the Small Wins

Staying healthy in both mind and body is not a complicated concept, but it is not easy to maintain. Winter and a pandemic are enough to derail even the most well-intentioned efforts towards wellness. This season, why not aim for drinking enough water, or having your five-a-day fruits and veggies servings? Working to find motivation in creative ways, taking small strides, and remembering to celebrate even the smallest of wins is how I plan to make it through the dark, dreary days ahead. What is your plan?