We are all struggling with a ton of uncertainty. The moment we turn on the news, there is a sense of threat or fear. This constant state of stress can create inflammation in the body and can push us into a state of hyperarousal. Alternatively, some people respond to these types of fear triggers by shutting down and becoming immobile. Either way, we need to find a healthy outlet to release that tension.
For me, it’s exercise.
Prioritizing a regular exercise routine has never been more important than it is right now. It will boost not only your immune system, but your mood as well.
EXERCISE IMPROVES OUR MENTAL HEALTH
In the first month of quarantine, I found a video on YouTube in which leading trauma psychiatrist Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk addressed the issue of immobility. He explained that when we’re in this immobilized state, trauma and fear can get stuck in our bodies (and our subconscious). We need to have healthy daily rituals to move that negativity out—and he cited physical exercise as one of the most important things we can do to avoid an energetic shutdown.
When we move we’re lowering cortisol levels, which helps us respond to stress differently. Exercise also produces happy hormones—endorphins.
You may be reading this thinking, “Ugh! Can’t she just give me a positive affirmation instead of telling me to work out?!” I get it. So here’s a perceptual shift for you: If you don’t like to exercise, try to reframe it as part of your spiritual or personal growth practice. You are moving so you don’t get stuck in a fear response.
MOVE (IN SOME WAY) EVERY DAY
You can keep it simple. I have always loved my mantra: “I choose to move in some way every day.”
This simple intention keeps me committed to exercise without the pressure of trying to get in an hour workout or do a certain amount of cardio. Taking the pressure off helps me keep it simple and stay committed.
Moving in some way can be as simple as a 20-minute stretch routine that you find on YouTube, or a half-hour walk outside while you listen to a podcast. Keep it simple so that you can commit. By giving yourself permission to just move in some way every day, you will create a new habit. You can even count the days of your movement routine. Studies show that 30 days of daily repetition create new neural pathways—and a new pattern in your life. In time you won’t want to miss a day of movement!
If you’re a busy mom or dad, working from home while figuring out school and childcare, this is a fantastic way to connect with your family. Set a time each day for the family to move together. Busy parents, even if you only have 20 minutes after dinner, take a walk around the block. Do some kind of movement. One of my “move every day” routines is to walk up the hill near our home with my son. Often Zach will join us. This family movement time is great for our bodies and for our connection.
TAKE TIME TO HYDRATE
My #1 exercise non-negotiable is hydration. It literally helps your whole system run properly—and that means your heart, brain, muscles … everything. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush out the bacteria from your bladder, improve your complexion and even help you concentrate. Fun fact: Your brain is 75 percent water, so making sure you are hydrated is essential for you to stay focused and can even enhance your creativity.
I take this very seriously. Last spring I went to the emergency room with severe dehydration because I was working out but not hydrating enough. I never want to feel that way again! One of the doctors in the emergency room suggested I drink electrolytes daily to stay on top of my hydration. Since then I’ve made daily electrolytes one of my highest priorities.
I’ve tried several different electrolyte brands, but my favorite is LMNT (no sugar, super tasty). A little science lesson for you: Electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water. They have all these amazing properties, like regulating nerve and muscle function, hydrating your body, balancing blood acidity and pressure, and even helping to rebuild damaged tissue. The team that created LMNT did a ton of research to make sure their products have no dodgy ingredients.
Want to try it yourself? You can test out all the flavors here.
FIND A WORKOUT YOU LOVE
Finding a workout you truly enjoy takes out the pressure and instead, turns it into something you enjoy (maybe even look forward to!).
I feel like I’ve been training for this quarantine for years. As a self-employed entrepreneur who’s always worked from home, I’ve gotten used to exercising at home on the fly. When I was in my early twenties I would wear my gym clothes all day long because I never knew when I’d find that window to work out. I had to be workout ready!
Now, I’ve learned that having a morning routine is something that helps me to accomplish all I need in the day. Exercise is a big part of that, but I have chosen workouts that I actually like…and prioritize them.
My favorite at home workouts are:
I’m proud to say that Melissa Wood is an alumni of my first ever Spirit Junkie Masterclass training. She has merged her spiritual foundation with her fitness expertise to create a game-changing fitness app that supports your mind, body and spirit. Melissa’s workout, the MWH Method, is a Pilates-based exercise routine that is easy and effective. You can expect major results with only 20 minutes a day. Plus she has beautiful guided meditations.
Another Spirit Junkie Masterclass alumni I want to brag about is Megan Roup. Her app is amazing! Dance workouts can be intimidating, but not Megan’s! She created an athletic approach to dance cardio—simplifying it so anyone (at any skill level) can do it. She mixes up the dancing with light weights, bodyweight exercises, sliders and even ankle weights. This is a seriously fun workout.
Then there’s my girl Cassey Ho, founder of the world-renown blogilates. Cassey is a YouTube sensation whose videos have gotten countless people moving. Each video is free on YouTube and it’s an incredible workout. What I love most about them is that you can really feel the effects with only 15 to 20 minutes of exercise. Cassey also has such a cheery and spunky personality. You’ll be having so much fun, you’ll forget you’re getting in a great workout.
If you want to go BIG, check out LEKFIT by my friend Lauren Kleeban. I used this workout to gain strength after my pregnancy. It’s a cardio-sculpt routine that tones every inch of your body. Lauren teaches trampoline (one of my favorites) in addition to kick-ass sculpting classes. LEKFIT videos last around 45 minutes and are definitely a challenge.
One way I like to let loose, feel a little sexy, and also get a great workout is S Factor (inspired by the S shape of the female body). It was created by another great friend, Sheila Kelley. The foundation is pole dancing, but so much more. The goal here is to tap into your inner feminine fire and sensual identity. You’ll combine ballet, yoga, Pilates and pole dancing for a killer workout that will seriously transform your body. If the pole isn’t for you, no problem. They have other things like sensual yoga, dance (with no pole) and other virtual classes. You’ll feel confident, powerful and will really elevate your energy levels.
Attention pregnant and postpartum mamas! This is the absolute best workout for you. Fit Pregnancy Club is what I did throughout my pregnancy with Oliver. It’s gentle and conscious. There’s a great emphasis on strengthening the pelvic floor … because it’s all about the pelvic floor! They also have live virtual classes to work out with other mamas.
Another awesome in-home workout that’s really rocking right now is The Mirror. It’s literally a mirror that projects workouts on it. Everything from strength and boxing to cardio and yoga. It looks cool in your space and you can make sure your form is on point as you workout. Certified trainers from the country’s top fitness studios provide motivation and live feedback. I’m a Global Ambassador for Lululemon and I’m proud to be the first meditation teacher on The Mirror. If you have one, don’t miss my meditations!
Oh, and a major reminder to all of my Miracle Members: In your bonus section there is an hour-long mantra, meditation and movement exercise workout with me! If you’re a Miracle Member and you haven’t tried this out, do not miss it. I guide you with positive affirmations along with a Pilates-based workout.
Not a Miracle Member? Check out the Miracle Membership here.
Just Move … Anywhere
I’m a mom, a business owner, and a private chef to Oliver and Zach. So I try to find movement wherever I can. But some days when I don’t have time to exercise, let alone walk up the hill, I’ll literally do leg lifts while I cook. No joke!
MOVEMENT IS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
When you wake up with a purposeful heart, setting intentions and prioritizing self-care, you are making a conscious choice to let go of anxious feelings that can disrupt your day. Exercise for me is a spiritual practice. I’m doing something good for my body and my mind.
You have the opportunity to change bad habits and reframe negativity through movement and meditation—and you can combine the two. One of the most beloved meditations is my 6-minute walking meditation.
If you are pressed for time, or just need a great way to start your day, lace up your sneakers and try this. I promise it will leave you feeling refreshed.
No matter what exercise inspires you to move, take that time for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Keep it simple, and make this your mantra: “I choose to move in some way every day.”
SHOP THE BLOG
If you dig the Spirit Junkie sweatshirt I’m wearing above, check out all of our awesome merch here.
- Want the next best thing to having me as your personal coach? Become a Miracle Member here.
- Don’t forget to hydrate! Check out the LMNT DEAL.
Note: I’ve partnered with LMNT because I truly use their products every day and also because hydration is really important to my exercise routine (and life!).