Zoe Binder is a freshman English major.
By now, many of us are nearing the two-month mark of social distancing. Does it seem like every week is the same, and it’s never going to end? Yes. But we can also look at it this way: Our time in quarantine has presented an opportunity for people to reconnect with themselves and develop healthy habits, and many have done exactly that! In fact, most people I know are doing their best to take full advantage of this time and make impressive changes in their lives.
From what I can tell, my classmates, friends, and working family have managed to keep their priorities straight most days by resisting the temptation to do nothing at all. Most of us have tried baking or cooking, attempted something creative like writing or drawing, or even picked up those dumbbells that have been collecting dust in the closet for years. While fewer of us have honed in on a particular skill or interest during this limbo phase, the people in my life who have found the most balance, it seems, are those who have begun to exercise regularly and create healthy routines for themselves every day.
When I first arrived back home to Berlin after leaving USF, my house had been transformed into a mini-gym, thanks to my sister. In the middle of the living room, where a couch and table used to be, stood a massive metal pole with a sturdy base that my sister had bought for her intense pole-fitness sessions that began about a year ago.
Naturally, I really wanted to try performing tricks on it, but laziness and travel fatigue held me back. So, after taking a few days to settle in, I eventually put on my workout clothes and let my sister guide me through one of her vigorous workouts. After we warmed up, she demonstrated the “easy” tricks she could do on the pole, like holding onto it with both hands while lifting her legs off the ground, or curling one leg around the pole and spinning.
She made everything look so effortless, and I got ahead of myself. I jumped on the pole with enthusiasm and failed immediately because I had absolutely no experience or training. My sister, on the other hand, kept doing those exercises for an hour and has continued to do this for an hour each day since quarantine started.
What’s the result of such intense daily training, you might ask? When I watch my sister work out now, I feel like I should be paying for an acrobatic show. After six weeks of daily practice, I can not only see stronger muscle definition, but also a noticeable improvement in her attitude. She often says, “Doing what makes you happy is key during this quarantine,” and it just so happens that what makes her happy is also benefiting her health and fitness. Since she started this routine, my sister has stopped complaining about quarantine and has found more balance in her daily life.
Admittedly, I have not found the kind of healthy balance my sister has during quarantine, but she has inspired me to take up other habits that make me feel good, like practicing yoga daily. Rather than doing an intense workout the way she does, I prefer joining her for a morning yoga session every day. We follow along with guided practices on YouTube that focus on deep breathing and stretching, and I’ve found that after just a few days of this, I have far less tension in my muscles, and I feel much more relaxed. These benefits have inspired me to continue with daily practices even after quarantine is over and my life becomes a bit busier.
My sister is lucky to have found a hobby that brings her joy and is available to her 24/7 in our home. While not all of us have that same opportunity, many of us have more time on our hands now to try experimenting with new activities. Building a daily exercise routine could be the best way to relieve stress and help balance your everyday life during this quarantine. So, what are we waiting for? For however long we’re going to be indoors, let’s get moving!