“If you want to take full advantage of the creative potential of downtime, you have to allow yourself the space and the time to get bored.”
– In a 99U talk, Kyle T. Webster validates the benefits of boredom (aka, tells us exactly what we needed to hear right now).
One common barrier to working out regularly is fear of judgement – aka, gymtimidation. Not that it’s limited to the gym: it can happen out running, biking, in a yoga class, etc.
In short, we feel inadequate. And we feel like others are judging us for it.
First thing to realize: this is normal, and you’re not alone! Now for some tips:
- Try building confidence at home before moving outdoors or into the gym.
- Remind yourself that everyone started somewhere. No one was born with washboard abs – they went through their own struggles to get there!
- Shift the focus back to your goals rather than what’s going on around you.
- Find an activity you love, and find a supportive environment to do it in.
- Make a pumping playlist that boosts your mood.
Lastly, lead by example. Do your part to make the environment positive by smiling at others, practicing good gym etiquette, and showing that everyone has a right to be there.
Got any tips of your own to add?
Multitask With Podcasts or Audiobooks
Ok, it’s true: multitasking isn’t really a thing. We may think we’re focusing on two things at once, but research shows that we’re actually just switching our attention back and forth (at a cost to our productivity).
But here’s the good news: You can still do multiple things at once as long as you choose your tasks carefully. If one task requires focused attention, make sure the second one doesn’t.
Listening to podcasts or audiobooks (look, Mom – no hands!) is a perfect way to amp up your productivity while carrying out other mindless or menial tasks.
Now, it’s no good trying to listen to a podcast while you, say, type an email. But you can pair your podcast or audiobook with unfocused activities – you know, the things you do on autopilot or that don’t require your active attention.
- Going for walks or doing exercise at home (think stationary bike or simple repetitive movements, not complex exercises or heavy weights)
- Doing household chores like folding laundry, washing dishes or chopping vegetables
- Tidying up your desk or clearing out files from your computer
Not sure what to listen to? Try Spotify’s new playlists for “best podcasts of the week” or short, interesting “brain snacks”.
Deepak Chopra, Author
In a 2019 interview, author and spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra gave this rundown of his morning routine:
- He makes sure he gets 8 full hours of sleep.
- Does anywhere between 90 minutes and 2 hours of meditation. “That includes reflection, mindful awareness; it includes mantra practice. It includes intention setting; it includes awareness of body, awareness of mental states, awareness of perceptual experience, and I transcend it to mantra practice.” (Woah.)
- Drinks three cups of black coffee.
- Does an hour of yoga.
Why it works:
- Sleep is super-important to our health (see wellness tip above!)
- Meditation has a raft of benefits – but don’t worry if you’re not Chopra-level! In fact, here’s a 2017 study from Waterloo University which found that just 10 minutes of daily meditation is enough to improve focus and calm anxiety.
- Chopra isn’t wrong there’s science to back up the health benefits of coffee. He points to his Harvard-professor brother (this article of his has a good roundup of the research) to validate this. That said, moderation is the key here. Chopra is wise to get his caffeine intake before midday so it doesn’t mess with his sleep.
- And finally, yoga has been shown to decrease stress, improve heart health, reduce inflammation, fight depression, and more.
Ready to try some of this for yourself? Why not start with just a few minutes of meditation in the morning (let’s face it, how many of us even have two hours to spare?!) In fact, here’s a guided meditation from Chopra himself you can try at home that takes less than 4 minutes to complete.