The Weekly “Girls Night In” That’s Been Good For My Wallet & My Life
If there is one thing TFD has taught me, it’s that small shifts in behavior are more likely to yield results compared to massive lifestyle overhauls (at least in my case). With that in mind, I’ve tried to become more attuned to recognizing when small easy adjustments have had big impacts on my overall happiness and health. One such change has been swapping out my weekly booze-centered socializing activity for a fitness-focused evening.
The fact that I’ve never watched a full episode of Sex in the City was somehow not enough to stop me from subconsciously absorbing the message that meaningful and deep social connections were forged over fancy cocktails and multiple bottles of wine. Like many millennial women, drinking was both the engine and the glue of my social life, something that the arrival of Covid-19 did little to change.
At the beginning of summer, when lockdown was implemented in my city, my two friends and I decided to maintain our social bubble and forgo meeting up at bars and restaurants. Instead, we scheduled weekly at-home hangouts, usually involving a bottle of wine, a fancy cheese plate, and maybe a couple of cocktails.
While the in-person socializing was doing wonders for our mental and emotional health, the three of us lamented that we were struggling to stay physically active. Fitness centers had re-opened, but none of us felt comfortable returning to our respective gyms and studios. To kick-start the habit of working out at home, we decided to swap out weekly wine and cheese plates for YouTube at-home workouts and healthy snacks
Now I know the whole “workout with friends” is over-played but this small change in my weekly routine has yielded positive results.
Here are the five benefits I’ve noticed since we’ve started our weekly fitness hangouts:
- I might not be motivated to workout, but I am usually very motivated to see my friends and catch-up. That alone is often enough to get me to show up (and showing up is half the battle).
- Instead of waking up the next morning feeling groggy and hungover, I’m waking up feeling accomplished and refreshed (and a little sore but in a good way).
- It’s been great for my budget. Whether it’s a couple of bottles of wine at home or cocktails at a bar, socializing around alcohol is expensive – the buzz I get from working out is free!
- When I work out with friends and have placed aside a whole evening for that purpose, I feel less compelled to take shortcuts. No more rushed warm-ups and skipped cooldowns. The result? Much better – and more effective – workouts.
- When I have a scheduled workout every week, I’m more motivated to get my solo workouts done at other times. It’s kind of like a positive manifestation of the sunk cost fallacy; since I’ve already committed to doing part of my weekly workouts, I may as well do the rest.
Now the success of this strategy is generally rooted in two things. The first is that one of us has a living space large enough to comfortably accommodate three people flailing about on their yoga mats. The second was the relatively low mental energy it took to implement this new routine. We were already regularly scheduling and setting aside the time to hang-out, it was just a question of swapping out the activity rather than having to build an entirely new routine from scratch.
As the pandemic progresses, I am sure that new challenges will arise to disrupt this routine. Instead of fearing those challenges, I am trying to have faith in my ability to adapt to them. Maybe we’ll have to move our weekly hangouts online or outside. It can be frustrating to think that from one moment to the next, any good habit I’ve spent energy developing can be thrown to the wayside by a change in the global situation. However, the reality is that, although the future seems bleak and uncertain, the choices we make now will matter. Investing time and energy into building better habits does give me a sense of control.
As the end of 2020 approaches, I encourage you to take stock of the little changes you’ve made for the better. In a time where many of us have seen our bigger plans take a backseat, it’s important to celebrate small victories. Mine was drinking less and moving more, while simultaneously investing in the friendships that matter to me. What are your small wins for 2020?
Hannah is a born-and-raised Montrealer with big goals and a short attention span. She believes the key to a good life is everything in moderation, including moderation. Her hobbies include spending too much money at second-hand bookstores and hunting down the city’s best $1 oyster deals.
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