Lifestyle 20 April 2020
I have seen so many blogs, tweets, Instagram posts, and even memes that have extolled the opportunities we have now that we have no choice but to stay in. I've even written my own. It is enticing to think that a global pandemic might actually give us the chance to achieve our dreams!
Unfortunately, this attitude fails to take into account the circumstances of our isolation. This is not a period of quiet we have chosen to write a novel or start painting. It is a terrifying situation, fraught with uncertainty about our very existence. Chances are you feel less motivated than ever to get anything done. It is important to know that this is perfectly okay.
Personally, I still intend to pursue a few of my "when I have the time" dreams. However, I'm trying not to be hard on myself. Self-care has become a crucial part of every single day. Self-care means something different for everyone. For me, it means yoga, warm baths, and wine. Lots and lots of wine.
The good news is that I've come across the ideal way to turn this self-care habit into something more productive. Online wine clubs are a relatively new phenomenon. With a monthly subscription, you get wines delivered to you to try. You get to use the opportunity to cultivate your palate, so that you're actually in the process of becoming a connoisseur rather than just drinking in isolation.
These delivery services are perfect, considering it is not ideal to leave the house to stock up. Furthermore, by choosing the best affordable wine clubs you can save money. You don't have to be rich to know the difference between varieties of wine.
You can choose wine clubs that provide specific types of wine. Being an avid wine drinker and aspiring connoisseur, I thought I'd share some tips on how you can choose between red, white, and rosé wine clubs.
Red Wine Clubs
Not long ago, if you had asked me what my favorite wine was, I would have simply answered red! I would not have been able to distinguish between a Cabernet-Sauvignon and a Merlot. Yes, I now understand that they are vastly different, but at that point it all seemed like the same thing.
If you join a red wine club, you will begin to understand the difference between varieties of wines, as well as characteristics of different Cabernets, Merlots, Pinot Noirs, and so on. You will start to understand the importance of tannins and whether or not they're a good thing (spoiler: they can be good or bad!).
White Wine Clubs
We all know the basic characteristics that differentiate white wine from red wine. They tend to be dryer, best served chilled, and paired with fish. You can get sweet dessert wines and bitter white wines best enjoyed on their own. Of course, the characteristics go far beyond these simplistic descriptions.
When you join a white wine club, you will begin to learn about Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Grigios, Rieslings, and more. If you struggle to enjoy dry white wines, you will start to acquire a taste for them, appreciating them in their own right and opting for them at the right moments. You will understand why Chardonnay is sometimes looked down upon and why it can be a very cultivated choice.
Rosé Wine Clubs
Do you know what a rosé is? Chances are, your understanding is limited to the fact that it is a pinkish color, has a light taste, and is looked down upon by men suffering from fragile masculinity.
The reality is that rosé wine is a delightful variety in its own right. Yes, it is sometimes easier drinking, but that does not detract from its subtleties and delicious taste. Rosé wine is made by soaking the skins of the red grapes in the liquid for a short period of time, infusing it with that light color and taste.
There are as wide a variety of rosé wines as anything else, as all red grapes can be made into a rosé. You're not missing out on any of the cultivation and subtle experience by choosing a rosé wine club. On the contrary, you are likely choosing something you know you'll enjoy, before learning to appreciate it even more.
Affordable wine in isolation
We do not know when we will be able to move on from social distancing. For now, we have to wait and hope. The good news is that it is easy to get wines delivered to your door at an affordable price, giving you the opportunity to cultivate your taste and experience a wide variety of grapes.
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With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.