Health, Lifestyle, Stress, Wellness

What Does Your “New Normal” Look Like?

woman connecting virtually with family

After a long hiatus, it feels good to be back writing Wellness Wednesday. But I have to admit that it also feels, for lack of a better way to put it, a little weird.

Normally, I’m eager to share tips for adding more vegetables or finding fun ways to get active, but I find myself struggling with what to say this week. After all, our “new normal” is anything but. Writer’s block aside, one truth that remains is wanting to hear from readers like you.

How have your healthy lifestyle habits changed over the past few months? Maybe you’ve been cooking at home more. Maybe you’ve learned to love weekly phone dates with friends or chapter members. Or maybe you catch yourself nervously snacking more or growing tired of yet another Zoom meeting request.

Whatever the case may be, I want to hear about it. And I’m not here to judge, I’m just here to listen.

32 thoughts on “What Does Your “New Normal” Look Like?

  1. Michigan is finally opening up however instead of finding myself rested and refreshed and focused on myself as you might with “time frozen” during shelter in place I find myself just the opposite. I am an essential employee that was blessed to work from home. I found myself crazy busy helping co-workers (I am HR) dealing with COVID, my family balance with life and distance learning and everyone home, helping my church members in Bible Study and my TOPS members balance and deal with the anxiety of this all. I would like to think I was successful in helping my chapter deal and cope, even with some great weight losses we believe! I am looking for direction as a leader how to refocus on me and my weight-loss journey and how to layout a plan to rebuild my work out routine. And consistency…how to stay consistent with my plan. Maggie, I have re-written this a couple of time and feel like I am rambling but I am looking for guidance! thanks. Look forward to new blogs! Welcome back!

    1. Thank you for sharing and please don’t feel like you’re rambling (although I get it because I feel like I ramble all the time, haha). It sounds like you’ve been so helpful to those around you and now is a great time to refocus on you. I recommend checking out a webinar we held at the beginning of this year – “5 Ways to Win the Day” with Becky Allen. Even if you’ve already watched this, it may be a great way to hit the reset button. All webinars can be found in the Members Area of the TOPS website under My TOPS Resources. I also recommend starting small and looking for ways to make simple and doable adjustments to your workout routine. For example, I no longer go to the gym and, even though I miss the classes and the community, I’ve found a new love for free online yoga classes. I can do them at my own pace, in my own space, and always feel better after. Plus, they help my perpetually achy hip 🙂 Thank you for reading and I hope this helps in some small way.

      1. Thank you Maggie! that webinar was just what I needed! I watched it on my lunch today and will block time this weekend to get my plan together!

  2. Our TOPS chapter meets every week via Zoom or some other platform. We also have a private group on Facebook. I have taught from home – and juggled with the work of my daughter (Mask making) and son-in-law and 4 grandchildren. Using the Pahla B Fitness workouts on Youtube have helped me exercise every single day this year. Being home allowed me to better track my eating and I am happy to say that I weigh less now, than I did when we started isolating on March 15. THe new normal will take more getting used to!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Marcia! And that’s great to hear that you’ve found a workout plan that works so well for you. Awesome job!

  3. RoseMary, You sound like a wonderful leader in every sense of the word.

    Maggie: New normal – it really, really helps if you are an introvert like me…after initial panic, developing sanitizing station near front door, piles of Amazon & grocery deliveries, I’ve returned to myself. I’m reading/learning/experimenting/cooking, etc. on things I didn’t have time for (I volunteer at hospital/been making masks) & I feel so enriched & full of enthusiasm. Not bored. I tend to treasure my private time so I’ve filled it with learning more geology than I knew, Scottish history, brushing up on my Scots Gaelic, practicing on my mountain dulcimer. In my heart I feel like I’m actually ahead of the game right now because of what effort I’ve devoted to enriching my mind & body. Need to exercise & do strength building a lot more though!!!! Seems like its all about what each of us needs. At my age, I’m extremely careful & somewhat afraid but I do feel enriched. Even bought a computerized Bernina sewing machine & am ready to let it fly like I know it can with decorative stitching, etc. I also recognize I must be a non-stop learner & this isolation has taught me that so I’ve benefited to that degree. Food is back under control but I went through a long time as you described you have and have found that light at the end of that tunnel isn’t a train heading my way. LOL Good luck. I totally understand where you are. Good points.

    1. As a fellow introvert, I know what you mean, Barb! And I absolutely love that you’re a non-stop learner. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Started out only looking at two weeks at the time. The online resource has been very helpful to me. Never knew I was in the “elderly” group until coronavirus. I realized early on it was very necessary to be consistent in my approach to stay home stay safe so no one felt slighted. It has been a challenge. It was actually easier when things were closed and there was not the expectation to do things as usual.
    My theme has been to “Use the Things I have Learned”. I began TOPS with an inspiration board, Looking Back, Moving Forward. Bernie was the star. Cut a hundred, burn a hundred. I love my morning walks and have felt so much joy picking blackberries and blueberries from my back yard along the way. In the evenings I have a added a new friend to my schedule “RISE UP with Jennifer” for toning. Along with audio bible reading. Beside my chair I have things to keep my hands from snacking which includes “senior” coloring, puzzles and books. I still try to “if you bite it write it.” It has been harder to eat fresh with the drive up grocery delivery and sometimes just lack of energy to do it. I think summer should help. With the salons closing I have chosen to use this time to go grey and keep healthy. Looking forward to a date in mind to see my TOPS friends and share all we have been through. As I remember I am to be an example as I take (Keep) off pounds sensibly.

  5. at shut down time, I was 4 pounds from goal, and had been at that weight for 2 whole years, down 67 from when i started 3 years ago this past January. i am habitual, and ritualistic, hubby is also. we do everything by the clock, withour routine broken and no way to even come up with new habits, i started to graze. the first 8 weeks, i played with 3 pounds doing the up and down up and down. by week 10 i was up 4, 11 i was up 6 then I hit 7 up. that scared me, i dropped 4….back to the 3 to play with. today I am up 2.
    i am not eating unhealthy foods, I just eat to many times a day… to much fruit, to much of what i do eat… we have had no meetings, our group does not have enough people to that are good with computers or phones… most of us are way above 70, i am pushing 76…i find I have fallen into a hole of don’t care if i do or don.t and there is nothing anyone can say to change it, change comes from within us and is a MIND SET… working on my MIND trying to reset it…

    1. You’re so right that change has to come from within, Sandra. Thank you for sharing your story and for being candid and honest.

    2. Hi, Sandra! I saw your post at EXACTLY the right time…I was headed for the kitchen (and the Ghirardelli brownie mix). I live alone during the week, and with B/F weekends. Between the virus, the heat, and only phone contact with kids and grandkids, motivation to reach goal (30 lbs to go) is at an all time LOW. I, too, am now pushing 76 y.o., wondering how THAT happened without noticing the years going by.
      Perhaps the diet Angels will pay a visit during our sleep with ways to shake the doldrums. I’ll share if you will! Thanks so much.

  6. Thank you for sharing, Barb, and what a great example of being kind to yourself (something I think we all struggle with) and using what you’ve learned to continue to grow and move forward. I’m so thankful for readers like you sharing your journeys. 🙂

  7. I think the slow down was great. The first weeks I worked on cleaning closets, pantry etc.. Then because the libraries were closed I started reading my collection of “Rivers of America” series history books and working on family history. My KOPS weight remained good and the only thing I missed were the meetings and seeing TOPS friends.

  8. The first few weeks I had loses, but then I was not exercising like I should and put on a couple of pounds. It does not help that hubby would come home 3 days a week with lunch. Of course, he knows what I like! I said to him that I cannot keep doing this because I am putting on weight! He said “Heidi, you are working from home, not even getting the exercise you were getting just going to work. It will be okay.” That replayed through my head and I realized that if I keep watching what I am eating that it will even out, and to stop beating myself up. So, I have tried to find things to do in the house while working from home. Like walk around the yard, check the mail a couple of times a day just for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time to get my steps up. I have not gained the Covid 19, under 5 which I think is great! I know it could be a whole lot worse! We have our first meeting tomorrow after 3 months, I am the leader, I think I know what our program will be!

    1. Thanks for reading, Heidi. Sounds like you were able to get creative with finding ways to add steps which is great. Happy to hear that you’re able to get back to meetings 🙂

  9. Initially it was nice to be able to cocoon at home. The stress of having to run to appointments and meetings was suddenly gone. My husband has dementia and he did not handle it well at first. Once we got through his adjustment to the situation, he found a new routine though he was still quite grumpy.

    For myself, I have my gerontology thesis to write. I also found it nice to be able to do clog dancing with fellow cloggers on Youtube and other venues. I lost more than 5 lbs during quarantine. Clog dancing is a low impact exercise and the concerted effort to produce 3 teaching programs a week by instructors from around the world kept cloggers active and in practice.

    My friends from church kept in touch with phone calls and texting links to funny videos. We are all older retirees and we do know how to use tech. It’s just that we still like to talk in person.

    Our state has reopened and our TOPS meetings have resumed. We truly missed being together: meeting and finding that encouragement again was like a cool glass of water in a desert of isolation.

    1. Thank you for reading, JC! I love that you kept active with clog dancing. I appreciate you sharing and keep on dancing!

  10. Glad to have you back with our wellness news letter. All is well in Okeechobee, Fla All of our snowbirds have left us will not be back till late fall. Have a great summer.

    Phyllis Stone,Leader FL047

  11. We are still not back, our last meeting was March 5th. We will hopefully be going back the second week in July. I had lost 60 pounds over 2 years, and the first 5 weeks of this pandemic I went crazy, but then thought about how hard it was to lose the weight and told myself I don’t want it back, so I took off the 8 pounds I gained, and right now I am back to where I was when we left. Struggling, but not losing…… Stay Strong!

  12. Initially, I cleaned around my house, cleaned out my garage, repainted walls in my house that needed it, rearranged my shelving, soon after that I lost focus. Thank you to our member Anne Marie who got us all on Zoom, we now have a meeting at our regular date and time. Feels good to reconnect with everyone.

  13. So glad that you’ve been able to reconnect, Loretta. I love hearing that chapters have found virtual ways to “meet.” 🙂

  14. It’s getting even harder now, as the weeks drag on at home. Here in California we have not been able to have TOPS meetings since March. We’ve only had ten meetings this year. This is an extraordinary situation.

  15. Waited to reply to this one. I get encouragement from your posts seeing what works, and seeing that you gals have struggles, too!

    Our group started meeting again in May. Yet I feel that the room is not a safe place to be. Sometimes I go and weigh in, most mornings have not gone at all. We are a small group, and older women. During the no meeting time, our group was great with snail mail, e-mails, and phone calls.

    I do exercise, drink my water, and still keep honest food records. I get out to grocery shop. Will go for walks and ride my bike. Fortunate to have good neighbors that I can social distance visit with! In Feb. I was at a great low weight. Yet have allowed myself to eat foods that I normally stay away from! So, the weight came back on. 🙁 I joke and say that I am a member of POPS (Put On Pounds, Silly!). I don’t do much cooking, so, it has been a challenge. Why is it that the comfort and fun foods get eaten first?!

    I watched several cooking videos on YouTube. Recipes look so simple and yummy! My husband retired last October. He was a night worker for so many years. Our eating schedules still don’t line up very well. If I eat with him, alas, it is late night eating. I need to treat those late night times as hefty snacks, and not meals. I think that will help.

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