June News – Your Call to Action

by | Jun 8, 2020 | Newsletter

Truth time. Are you moving your body on a daily basis? Are you getting your “steps”?  

If your answer is “no,” please rephrase that to “not yet.” 

Today is the day you commit to prioritizing daily motion! Why? Increased daily steps are associated with reduced all-cause mortality (this is not Kathleen optimism; I am referencing a POEMs research summary), moving improves mood, exercise helps manage depression and anxiety and supports immune health, and the very act of deciding to do something and then doing it provides a much-needed feeling of “being in control.” I’m not sure about you, but that “in control” feeling has been severely lacking in my life these past few crazy months! 

Olive is essential to my COVID19 Sanity Pack!!!

I challenge you to consciously increase your step count. Get a baseline. Then, slowly improve on that number. If you currently take 4,000 steps, work to take 4,500. If you currently take 7,000, work for 7,500. Set an alarm to remind you to get up and move, take conference calls as you walk around the neighbourhood, have a dance party, or phone a friend and go for a walk and a talk. 

To make walking more interesting, try Fartlek intervals or listen to a podcast. I absolutely love walking and listening. Try my interview on The Simply Human Podcast. I love Mark and Rick. Who else can chat about stoic philosophy, Anne of Green Gables, and Back to The Future in the same interview? For the initial 15 minutes I had no idea they were recording so you get a very uninhibited version of Kathleen! Another favourite was my episode with Amanda on the Fit Chicks Podcast. There’s a reason I have been on that show three times. Amanda is a kindred spirit – a fitness sister. We always have lots of fun.

Not into walking? Try the 20-minute HIIT workout I created for Blender Babes or twist and balance your way to health. Watch me on CTV Ottawa and CHCH to learn how. For other tips on staying active during a pandemic, read my article for 360 Magazine.

If you haven’t gathered yet, the theme of this month’s newsletter is “control what you can control” and “make daily motion a non-negotiable.” The exercise of the month is a “fun” twist on the burpee – burpees can be done at the local park or at home – no gym required. The article of the month contains three sure-fire ways to stay healthy during unusual circumstances.  

Articles and links to help you get through these crazy days and nights!

Now, I know that this pandemic has made life complicated. The hard truth is that the virus will continue to make life complicated even as things gradually return to a “new normal.” I am not arguing this whole “activity thing” will be easy. What I am arguing is that moving will help you manage stress and that it is critical to intentionally create new health habits. Whether you like it or not, COVID-19 has changed our life rhythms and habits, and when the scaffolding of your life changes, your habits automatically shift to reflect new interactions, environment, and behaviours. As we shift into the next phase of this pandemic our rhythms will most likely shift again.  

The question is and will continue to be: are you creating your new habits by default or design?  

You have lost many of your “lifestyle steps.” You no longer get the built-in steps and mental break of going to buy lunch or walking to an external meeting. You are no longer taking the TTC to work, or even walking from your home to the car and from the car to the office. It is up to you to consciously create new rhythms that serve your health.  

Again, I challenge you: be more intentional about your movement – take back control of what you can control. 

Think… how are you “controlling what you can control”? To paraphrase the famous F.M. Alexander, we don’t determine our future. We determine our habits. Our habits form our destiny. 

How intentional are you being about the things within your sphere of control? How are you consciously establishing habits, environments, rituals, etc. that will serve you? How are you setting up your workstation? Does it serve you? Can you raise your laptop? Create a space that feels office-like? Get a headset so you don’t scrunch your neck to hold your phone? What about your work hours? I know from experience that when working from home it’s easy to let home and work bleed into each other.

I am absolutely not perfect at setting boundaries. I know that “diminishing the bleed” is something all of us (including me) might want to tackle. Maybe establish a ritual, in leu of transportation time from office to home, to signify to your brain that you are “going home.” Listen to a particular song, state a mantra, or go for a walk around the block and enter your house by calling out with excitement “Family, I am home from work!” What about your workouts? Have you set up a home gym? Have you blocked off time for exercise in your schedule? This will help you create habits by design, habits that will serve you.