I think we can all agree that life right now is VERY different than what we’re used to. Most businesses are closed, essential items are becoming scarce (Toilet Paper has become a unicorn of sorts – RARE and difficult to find), and social distancing is lingo that everybody knows. To top it off, the one place where you probably go to blow off steam, sweat out stress, and feel better physically and mentally – your AFF gym – is closed.
You’re probably feeling a lot of different things right now – confusion, anger, stress, sadness. Or maybe you’re numb. Or maybe you’re still processing it all. Whatever you feel (or don’t feel), your reaction is valid. Our world has collectively come to a halt with no clear indication as to when things will start back up and return to “normal”.
So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? When we feel stuck, whether it be physically or emotionally, it can be difficult to “do” anything to feel unstuck. And everyone handles “stuck” differently – you may do nothing at all, or you may do anything and everything to distract yourself from where you are. Considering our current situation, we can only get so unstuck physically since we have to stay home. But there are things we can do to get “stuck” energy moving.
Acknowledge and sit with your emotions (or lack thereof).
Identify how you’re feeling. Are you stressed? Angry? Scared? Find the words to express what you’re feeling. Write them down if you want, say them out loud, or say them in your head. Naming your emotions can help you separate them from who you are and make it easier for you to manage them. And remember, we are all navigating this situation for the first time in our lives, so there is no right or wrong way to feel. Your emotions are valid.
“Sitting” with your emotions simply means being with your emotions. Say (out loud or in your head) “I feel ________.” Then allow yourself to feel it. Notice what happens physically – are you tensing up anywhere in your body? Has your breathing sped up or slowed down? Are you sweating or getting goosebumps? Simply notice what’s going on and start to separate your mind from your emotions.
Handle your emotions how you need to.
Once you identify how you’re feeling and how your feelings manifest physically, you can make efforts to manage them. (Side note: this is where you can have some fun if you want!)
Being a fitness professional, my #1 recommendation for handling emotions is (drumroll please) – GET MOVING! Exercise has been proven to help manage symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression by boosting endorphins, thus improving your mood and even helping you sleep better. Break a sweat by doing a HIIT workout (we find that Mossa Move’s Athlete30 gets the job done) or move gently with a slower-paced Yoga practice. If you’re feeling cabin-feverish, take a walk around your neighborhood. Remember, moving isn’t the only way to handle your feelings – you may find that Facetiming a friend and talking things out makes you feel better, or being creative with art is your preferred outlet. Meditation can be what helps you process everything that’s going on. Take time and explore different ways to handle emotions and find something that helps you work through them.
You know how you feel – now step away from it.
You’ve acknowledged and handled your emotions, but it’s important to not let them take over who you are. Step away from them and enjoy yourself. I know that can seem like a tall order with what’s happening outside our doors right now, but it’s okay to enjoy yourself — spend time with loved your loved ones, start that Netflix show you’ve had in your queue for the past year, start reading through the pile of books stacking up on your dresser, or start alphabetizing your pantry (hey, whatever brings you joy, right?). Take time for YOU.
There’s no how-to guide for getting through a situation like this. But together we can work our way through this time by acknowledging and understanding our reaction to it. We can and we WILL #StayAFFStrong together.
Lauren Rinker is the Group Fitness Manager at Virginia Center Commons and teaches a variety of classes, including POWER®, CORE®, BLAST®, Yoga, and Fusion small group and team training. She started her Group Fitness career in 2012 after her childhood dream of being a 🌪 chaser didn’t work out due to immense fear of 🌪s, and accredits Group Fitness for transforming her life 💪. She loves how Group Fitness and Social Media share the same impact of making and maintaining meaningful connections between people ❤. When she’s not teaching or taking 📷s for the VCC Facebook page, you can find her 🏋️♀️-ing, 📚️-ing, checking off her To-Do lists 📝, drinking ☕️, or eating any or all of the following foods: 🍣🥞🥓 A self-proclaimed cat lady 😻 and night owl, Lauren loves to recharge in the evenings by watching Netflix with her two Instagram-famous cats 🐱 🐱