Unprecedented times arouse unprecedented responses, on or off our plates. And while we're all adjusting, sheltering in place and navigating our new pandemic normal can have us feeling off the beam. That's why we're concentrating on things that can provide us with structure and accountability and we've got Whole30 Certified Coach Kristi Hujik sharing her top 4 Necessities for Pandemic Wellness.
ABOUT KRISTI HUJIK
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in January of 2017, Kristi found Whole30 and her symptoms and life changed drastically. She learned that sugar, dairy, and wine were triggers for adverse effects on her body and, armed with that knowledge, she eventually settled into her Food Freedom. A natural coach and leader, Kristi now lives in Winter Garden, Florida and can be found spending time with her husband, dog Kahlua, and coaching other Whole30ers with compassion and care.
"But this is also probably not the time for perfection either. So I do my Whole30 knowing that whatever I do is good enough."
It’s a simple but critical phase during this unprecedented time in our history. We can’t control the outbreak areas, the restrictions, the government, or what the norm looks like. But there are things we CAN control that are important to the health of your mind, body, and spirit. I'm sharing with you these four important areas that can help bring structure and normalcy in a time of internal and external chaos. If "controlling" some of these areas don't serve you, try and find an alternative that brings you a similar sense of peace and routine.
I am living comfortably in my Food Freedom. It took a while to get there but I honestly felt like I wouldn’t be doing another Whole30 for a long, long time. Until a pandemic hit. Food Freedom suddenly didn’t feel right for me. Would I choose to eat the pizza from the local pizza place because I thought it would help keep them in business? There was too much ambiguity for me being at home all the time and I felt the focus on wholesome, nutritious meals slipping. I wanted the structure and the rules of a Whole30 and I was happy to do it along with my clients during our #whole30athome campaign. It’s something I CAN control during a crazy time and quite honestly, it feels easy. It is easy to go back to what I know. I can control what I eat and how I eat.
The Whole30 taught me what nutritious, healthy foods can do for my body and mind and you want to be strong now more than ever. If you’re going to go toe-to-toe with the Coronavirus, it’s not the time to trade green leafy vegetables for chocolate chip cookies that’s for sure. Your immune system's health starts with food. But this is also probably not the time for perfection either. So I do my Whole30 knowing that whatever I do is good enough. If it’s Whole30, I eat it. If it’s not, I don’t. Here are some common tips that help me.
- Whether you’re on a Whole30 or not, there are still challenges. On the positive side, you likely won’t be dealing with tricky social occasions, eating out, family gatherings, or business lunches. You can also easily control portion sizes at home.
- On the negative side you might be dealing with working from home, a house full of kids and family, and the constant pantry temptation. Don’t become the “grazer” this is where mindfulness comes in. The mindfulness learned from my many Whole30's serves me well right now and it can help you too.
- Be aware of what you’re doing and why and try to stick to three meals a day. You also might be meal planning less with fewer trips to the grocery store, and ingredients that have suddenly become scarce. Have a back-up plan and frozen foods are your friend right now!
- Chances are you’re either cooking less or more. I started the quarantine as the former but now I am the latter. Maybe your meals aren’t as fancy, maybe the recipes aren’t as elaborate or maybe you felt the desire to dust off those cookbooks and increase your kitchen skills. I’ve started to make a bunch of new recipes now.
- Please allow yourself some grace during this time. If you’re not on a Whole30 and you stress ate the chips it’s ok. Say it with me, “it’s ok”. Slip-ups happen. But do what you’ve always done. Reset, and get back to your healthy ways because they will serve you well.
Raise your hand if this pandemic has made your daily routine look like swiss cheese - lots of holes! Don’t let this pandemic change your focus because a lack of sleep can lead to serious medical conditions.
As a nation we are collectively fighting the Coronavirus and rest is critical to keep your immune system strong! Get 7-8 hours of sleep but try to stick with your normal routine. That’s getting up at the same time and going to bed at the same time every night. That new Netflix series can wait, so don’t stay up all night. Laying around in your pajamas all day can make you feel so lethargic. Get dressed, get ready to start the day, and get moving!
- Exercise and Movement
Which brings me to the next thing that can enhance your quarantine wellness: exercise and moving your body. Movement will also boost your immune system and boost your mood. If you can go outside and breathe the fresh air it will give you a shot of energy. Many people have turned this time into a positive one. I feel like there are more people active and exercising than before COVID-19 came around!
Establish a new exercise habit. Online resources are now more accessible than ever and it seems like everywhere you look someone is hosting a free class. Many popular workout platforms and apps are offering free ways to stay fit. Challenge yourself and check that fitness tracker daily. Get your steps in and close your rings. Use the time to incorporate a new workout you’ve been wanting to try or mix a new workout into your rotation for more variety. Take advantage of the opportunity.
Allow yourself to feel. We’ve all had moments of frustration, sadness, and bewilderment. This is uncharted waters for all of us. Stress levels are up and anxiety is high, but we will get through this together. Avoid the energy vampires - don’t let them suck you in. Do your best to have an attitude of gratitude and I know it’s not easy when lives are lost, jobs are lost, and life is disrupted. Use phrases like “I can, I will, I am." Not “I have to, I don’t, I’m not."
Lift each other up and use face-to-face connections by utilizing the many resources available. It will keep your spirits and theirs up. Doing something for someone else picks up my spirits every time, even if it’s just a quick Zoom call.
Use this formula - allow yourself to feel - acknowledge those feelings - but try not to stay there for long. Deep breaths and meditation refocus me and get me back to my positive ways quickly. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for even the most positive people. But I believe that on the other side of this there is something even better waiting for us.
All four of these things work in unison to boost immune strength and mood, and it’s not the time to neglect any one of them. Control what you can and invest time and energy into those tasks and practices that provide structure. Stay safe and stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit, Coach Kristi.