Five positive changes I’ve made during quarantine

Hi, my friends! How are you? I wanted to switch it up today and bring you a fun post all about what changes have been going on in our lives during the last nine weeks of quarantine that may be worth continuing when this is all over.

I have learned a ton, and I thought it would be a good exercise to capture some of it in a blog post, especially if any of it may inspire or help you as well.

Before we begin, I think it’s important to mention that my heart goes out to everyone who has been negatively affected by the quarantine, both with business and health. I completely understand that this has been a devastating time for the world. But that’s not what today is about. Today, I’m looking for the good, because there’s always some good to find and hold onto.

Five positive changes I’ve made during quarantine

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs the last couple of months, but here’s the good stuff (and by the way, these things work for me, but it’s very important to find out what works for you) …

Five positive changes I've made during quarantine by A Lady Goes West

#1 Eating lunch together with Brady at the table most days of the week.

Before the quarantine, almost every single weekday, I would have “the great rush.”

It went like this: Brady and I would get home from errands, preschool and the gym around noon (or later on days I taught a noon class, and those days were by far the worst), then it would be a huge frantic-paced frenzy for about 45 minutes. I would gather all of our belongings from the car, make multiple trips inside, put away everything we had with us, and then I’d quickly prepare Brady’s lunch so he could eat it in the high chair in the kitchen, while I got organized in the kitchen. Then, I’d put him down for his nap and rush back to the kitchen to prepare my own lunch. We were eating separate things, and I was spending valuable nap-time moments cooking my own food, eating it and cleaning it up too.

Not to mention, after I made my lunch and he was sleeping, I’d eat that lunch in front of the computer working from the couch — a bad habit I needed to break for years.

Honestly, I don’t know how this arrangement came about, but it did. 

Shortly after quarantine started, Brady asked if we could eat his lunch at the dining room table. And I figured, because I’d be sitting there with him, I may as well make my own lunch too. Well, I liked it. And he liked it. And on days Dave has been available, he’s sat down with us to eat too (and we’ve been doing this every weekend day together too). I realized this was a nice little moment for us in the middle of the day that we’d been missing.

This may seem like the simplest change ever, but it’s been big for us. Brady loves eating together, and I feel like I’ve freed up some of his nap-time for me, so I’m not using it to cook, eat and clean. This is a change that is sticking around moving forward, and I’m sure of it — even if we head back to our morning outings with gym, preschool and errands one day in the distant future. 

And also, I’m finally not eating lunch in front of the computer, and that’s something I needed to get away from for a very long time.

Eating slowly and mindfully away from technology is one of my five healthy eating tips too, because it’s better for your digestion and appetite awareness, so it’s super important.

#2 Doing my daily morning meditation before getting out of bed for the day.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been meditating regularly for more than a full year.

I’ve only skipped a couple days here and there and am currently on a 310-day streak. I won’t say I’m an expert meditator at all, because many times, my mind wanders like crazy. But the point is, I show up every day and try.

Positive changes I've made during quarantine - by A Lady Goes West - May 2020

(These are my tried-and-true noise-cancelling meditation headphones.)

My usual routine leading up to quarantine was to get up with my alarm, head to the kitchen to get some breakfast things started, get our stuff for the day set out and even check my email. Sometimes I’d also take a quick rinse, get dressed, and finally attempt to do my meditation and then get Brady up. If I was running late, I’d have to push the meditation until later and always felt a little uneasy about that, or a little rushed during the meditation, knowing I should probably go get Brady or we’d be behind schedule.

Well, right after quarantine started, when I realized Dave and Brady would be here and I wouldn’t have my alone time to meditate unless I made sure they were not in the room, I had to move things. I decided to do my meditation sitting up in my bed right after waking up (I mean within the first five minutes of waking up, before checking my phone or even leaving the bedroom).

I now go from sleeping, to wake, to meditating, to starting the day. And I must say, I love this change. Nothing gets in the way of the meditation, I don’t feel bad that I’ve missed it, and I get the day going with a little zen.

I’m definitely going to keep this change moving forward, because it’s totally working for me.

By the way, you can read more about the benefits of meditation in this post I wrote about my first 90 days of starting a meditation practice.

#3 Increasing my hydration on a daily basis.

This one is worth mentioning again, even though it appeared as a current favorite a couple weeks ago.

I preach about the importance of hydration high and low, but over the last few months, somehow, my hydration had slipped a bit. I had been using a metal cup and metal straw and was always fearful about drinking it while walking or driving.

Then I started leaving that cup at home (so I had one less thing to bring in during “the great rush”). Next thing you know, I wasn’t even slightly tracking my water intake and would sometimes find myself thirsty. 

Well, if you find yourself thirsty, you are way past the state of hydrated. Right as quarantine started, I pulled out this super old water bottle that holds 48 ounces, and now I finish one before lunch and one after lunch.

Then I also drink one sparkling water, two tea lattes and a protein shake. I also make sure to drink at least 20 ounces of water as soon as I wake up before I consume any other liquids or foods — a super beneficial thing to do to begin the rehydration and cleansing process after you sleep.

I think it’s safe to say that every single day of quarantine, I’ve had at least 150 ounces of liquid, and that’s a lot. I’ve noticed the difference, and I’m here for it. I will not let it slide again. My skin looks more hydrated, I have more energy, and overall, I just feel better.

Five things I've changed - by A Lady Goes West - May 2020

(Currently on my nightstand, “Untamed” and “Change Maker.”)

#4 Embracing the 30-minute workout as enough and spending more time working on what my body needs as well as doing new workouts.

This point has several parts …

Shorter workouts

As a group fitness instructor who was teaching multiple one-hour classes a week, I was constantly working out for more than an hour a day. I’d practice for my classes, teach the class and then occasionally take a class or do a solo workout. It wasn’t too much for my body, because I slowly worked back up to that workout load after several years of keeping things really light to heal my hormones. But I was able to build back up to maybe 7 to 10 hours of exercise a week and feel good.

Well, once quarantine hit, all of a sudden I didn’t have the lovely people in gym kid-care to watch Brady so I could get my workout in during the daytime (outside of his nap, which I try to save for working only). This has been one of the biggest struggles for me during this whole situation. Because in addition to missing my gym people, class community and the energy of the group fitness room, I missed the freedom to do my workout uninterrupted for as long as I wanted.

It hasn’t been easy to find the time to work out during the week, but I’ve been compromising with Dave and fitting in one 30-minute session a day usually around 4 p.m. and sometimes at noon. And 30 minutes is enough, if you are smart about your movements. (Side note: I also added teaching 45-minute virtual classes three times a week during the last month, and Dave has been great about jumping in to care for Brady for those classes.) 

And the thing is: I’ve been sticking to 30-minute workouts, which means I don’t have any time to dawdle — all movement needs to have a point.

I’ve been doing Les Mills GRIT Strength (via the Les Mills On Demand app, which you can try for free for 30 days using this special referral link), Peloton cycling classes or Peloton strength classes, in addition to POP Pilates. These are what my body needs. 

It’s been awesome for me to work with individual weight plates instead of a barbell (like I was used to using for BODYPUMP) to fix a few of my strength imbalances. It’s also been awesome for me to increase my cardio capacity and for me to continue to improve my mobility. 

Realizing that I can, in fact, get in a good workout at home

I’ve had to learn to embrace a home workout, which I was hesitant to do at first, because I so prefer to be around people. While I can’t do a lot of impact and jumping on the floors in my house, I can do quite a lot of other beneficial movement. And now that we have the Peloton bike, I can do great cardio workouts, which I’ve been lacking in for a long time.

When this started, I was convinced I wouldn’t do a good workout at home. And at first, I couldn’t. But now I know that the environment is not what makes it a great workout. It’s me. 

Trying new programs and switching it up

For the last few years, I’ve spent so much time teaching classes and preparing for classes, that I’ve had virtually no extra workout time available to try new things. Well, once quarantine hit, first I kept up with the programs I teach regularly. Then I realized it was probably time to switch things up.

I tried all sorts of different things, including an Orangetheory workout (which I hadn’t done in years), the very different LEKFit Method, and of course, all of the different workouts on the Peloton app. It’s been a breath of fresh air to get out of my Les Mills bubble for a while (other than Les Mills GRIT Strength once a week or every other week). I also really enjoy finding new things and sharing them with you. 

I’ve been re-inspired in the fitness world by branching out, and I want to continue doing that, so I don’t get in a rut again.

Overall fitness benefits

Overall, I know for a fact that I am not in the shape that I was when quarantine hit, but I do feel like the change of pace has been good for me. I will be excited to get back to the gym and classes one day, but I’m taking a lot of new fitness ideas with me, and that’s a positive change for sure.

Five things I've changed during quarantine - by A Lady Goes West - May 2020

#5 Connecting with friends and family virtually.

I’m pretty caught up with most of my friends and family right now, and that’s so nice.

Somehow, in the busy-ness of regular life, my conversations with friends tend to fall to the wayside, outside of the walks or coffee dates that I would do every other week or so with local people, with Brady tagging along of course.

The last few years, it’s been hard to stay in touch, especially with my East Coast friends, because it’s not as easy to find times to talk that work for the time zone difference. (Other than my momma, who I always talk to at least once a day, no matter the quarantine or not.)

Over the last couple of months, Dave and I have had at least one or two FaceTime or Zoom dates with friends a week, and I’ve also had phone calls and FaceTime dates with my girlfriends quite often too. Some of the virtual activities have been ones we’d love to continue — including trivia night with our best friends in Ohio, which we’ve done twice.

Right now, it seems like we all have a little more time available, and we’re all in need of connection. I hope to keep this up.

I love people, and I love catching up and connecting with the people who know me, and who make me feel good. Three cheers for connection all around.

Five positive changes I've made during quarantine - by A Lady Goes West - May 2020

(In these pictures, I’m wearing the cotton v-neck by Everlane, some home-made jean shorts, these earrings and this nontoxic shade on my lips.)

A few other beneficial things I’ve done during quarantine …

  • Re-certified for my NASM certified personal trainer certification. Every two years, you have to re-certify to stay active with most personal trainer agencies — showing that you are always working on your craft and learning. I submitted all of my continuing education credits and even got a fresh CPR/AED certification during this time. I’m now all set with NASM through June of 2022. Yes! Even though I don’t train clients one on one any longer, it’s very important to me to have this credential as someone in the fitness space. Learn more about the NASM process here.
  • Finished my Precision Nutrition level 1 certification. I wrote a whole blog post about this, so you know I did it, but it felt great to finish up this course just a few weeks into quarantine. I’m loving the extra knowledge I gained and the resources, and I am still planning new ways that I can use this coaching credential. Learn more about the Precision Nutrition program here.
  • Focused on improving the blog back-end and SEO. Last month, I invested time and money working with two different companies to clean up the blog — something I hadn’t done in far too long. I had a designer upgrade the homepage to make it a little more simple, then I worked with an SEO consultant to fix my site speed and upgrade a few back-end things. This is something I should have done a while ago, and I’m pleased with the improvements.
  • Worked with a life coach to clarify my vision. I haven’t talked about this on the blog yet, but I’ve been working with a life coach. Guys … it’s pretty awesome, and I have a ton to share from the experience. We meet virtually (of course) every other week and talk about my vision, goals and challenges. And I’ve totally made some changes based on what I’ve learned about myself. Much more to come on this.
  • Learned to teach virtually and actually enjoy it. I love to teach in-person group fitness classes, and I was incredibly hesitant to dip my toe into the virtual fitness pool, because I was worried about the quality of the experience for the participant and all the other things I can’t control. Well, I was presented with a great opportunity to try my hand at virtual teaching for a big tech company, and it’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve learned new skills, accepted and embraced the virtual fitness world, and I can see myself doing much more of this in the future in new ways. Learn more about tips for teaching and taking virtual fitness here.
  • Soaked up all the family time. I feel like I’ve mentioned this over and over again, but the very best thing to come out of quarantine is spending so much time with Dave, Brady and Rudy. We only really got to do that during the weekends before this hit, because of Dave’s busy work schedule. And we will always remember and greatly appreciate this time together. We will be very sad to see this part of our lives change when things open up again. It’s the best.

Thank you for reading the blog today, my friends! I hope to see you over on Instagram until we meet back here again. Be well! 🙂 

Some other posts you may like …

Many of these were linked above for reference as well …

Questions of the day

What’s something good that has come out of quarantine for you?

How are you doing?

What’s something you most look forward to doing when quarantine is officially over?

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4 Comments

  1. I appreciate that this time has allowed me to SLOW DOWN and really savor the moments with my daughters and husband. We are usually so go go go that I don’t always stop and just be present in their company. I’m definitely making sure I remind myself to be present when life picks back up again! I’m so glad you’ve been eating lunch with Brady! I’ve always wondered why his meal times seemed separate from yours. I always eat with my girls as I think it’s so important to model eating habits and meal time conversation with each other. I’m glad you’ll be carrying this habit forward!?

    1. Hi Erin! Before this, we would eat lunch with Brady on the weekends only, so this is definitely a nice addition to be doing it everyday. And Brady and I eat breakfast together a lot too, but not always. It sure is nice to slow down a bit, and yet, having kids can keep you on a nice daily schedule too. Thank you for reading and for saying hi, my friend! 🙂

  2. Oh I can’t wait to hear about your life coach experience!!!
    Please include how you decided to get one and where you found them.

    I have an amazing Mentor.
    But a coach is different!

    One of my positives is how much I enjoy sitting with music. I love TV and movies and it’s always been my favourite form of media and entertainment.

    But I have yappy hour every day as a operator between work and non work time. My dog gets a peanut butter bone and I get a drink and we sit in the window with music on and just sit.
    Next thing I know, it;s 2 hours later and dinner time!

    1. Hi Sabrina! hahaha I LOVE yappy hour. What a fun idea! I’m also happy to hear that you have a mentor. I actually don’t have a mentor and have wanted one for a long time! Yes, I will share more about the coaching experience. Hope you keep up the great work being positive, enjoying your music and yappy time!

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