There's no doubt that 2020 has so far been a challenging year. With the outbreak of COVID-19, we've seen lockdowns, restrictions, curfews, and regulations put in place. To help stop the spread of the virus, many of us have also seen significant changes in our lifestyles. It's essential to support one another during this time and remember that we're all in this together.

It can be hard keeping motivated at home when we're so used to attending events, malls, gyms, and venues. So, we reached out to Melbourne based Les Mills Body Attack instructor, Personal Trainer to-be, and Happy Way ambassador, Dianna Yota.

A PhD candidate, Dianna, works as a university lecturer and facilitator. She has a strong passion for healthy living, and she enjoys creating healthy and delicious recipes to share with her online community.

Through her expertise, Dianna loves reaching out to her community, inspiring them with motivating ideas. And so, we've chatted with Dianna, asking her for some tips that we hope motivate you during these unusual times.

How are you keeping yourself motivated during COVID-19?

Currently, I am working completely from home and have been for the past six months. What I find keeps me motivated to live healthy through these challenging times is my daily structure. I always ensure that I plan each day (i.e. work, exercise, meals, breaks etc.) either the night before or in the morning, which involves writing a nice long to-do list prioritising my tasks for that day. I like to see all I have to do in front of me so then I can tick each one off as I achieve them throughout the day. I find it very rewarding, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment! Also, one of the most essential things I find that assists with keeping myself motivated is to do a workout each morning before my workday begins. The workout doesn't have to be too strenuous or long, but I find that moving my body each morning makes me feel amazing for the rest of the day! Lastly, spending about 10 – 15 minutes journaling in the morning puts me in a positive headspace for a productive day ahead.

How are you staying connected with friends and family?

I try to check in with my family a few times a week whether it be via a text message, voice call or video call. During this lockdown, there have been a few family events we have conducted over Zoom, yet still tried to make them as special as possible under the circumstances. For example, each household would cook a delicious meal each, and we would eat it together (i.e. entrée, main and dessert) like we were having a virtual dinner party!

To stay connected with friends, I usually check in with them through Instagram daily. For the coupled up friends my husband and I have, we usually organise a Zoom catch up and have some wine while chatting, which turns out to be very fun despite not being in the same room physically together.

All in all, I try to keep connected with both my family and friends as often as possible, as I believe it's important to socialise with others for our mental health even if it isn't face-to-face.

Do you have any at-home exercise tips? What are some workouts that can be done at home?

From my experience, it can be challenging to motivate yourself to exercise from home, especially if you are new to exercise and do not know quite what to do in the gym. What I have found most helpful is to have my workouts structured for me already, so all I need to do is follow that particular program for that day. My personal favourite workouts to do from home are of a group fitness nature. I love using Les Mills on Demand to pick a workout from as it's all pre-choreographed and has the best music to exercise to! My other workout of choice is F45 LIVE. These classes are conducted via Zoom and involve the trainers leading the workout and coaching the participants the whole time! What I also love about F45 is the amazing community behind it. As it's online, anyone can join regardless of their location worldwide!

Are there any activities or hobbies you've taken up to keep motivated at home?

I have taken up a few new things to keep me motivated while at home! The first is doing a 30-minute walk every day as I don't move around as much now being at home all the time. Also, the best part about it is that I have several people joining me on these walks via my Instagram community!

Also, I have taken up further study during this time. I wanted to make the most of this lockdown situation and thought it was a great time to upskill while I have a little more time these days. I'm very much about being productive and using my time effectively!

Are there any meals or recipes you've enjoyed making that you'd like to share with our readers?

I have so many recipes to choose from on my Instagram page! My recent Choc Top Raw Blondies have been really popular with lots of people recreating it, so I would highly recommend that one! It contains the delicious Happy Way vegan vanilla protein, which not only favours it but keeps you feeling satiated until your next main meal.

The majority of my recipes include a Happy Way product as they are such staples in my household. At the moment, I love all the variations of my "bread pudding" that I make for breakfast, which uses the Happy Way vanilla whey protein. It has to be one of the simplest recipes ever and fun to eat as it's made in a small single-serve dish!

What is your advice for our readers to keep positive at home during current conditions?

I would recommend scheduling in one or two things to look forward to during the week. Even though my husband and I are in lockdown, we are both working from home, so we don't get to spend much quality time together. Therefore, we have dedicated two nights a week where we spend some time with each other as we feel it's essential to prioritise our relationship. So, on Wednesdays, we have "take out" night, where we order some takeaway food. It's great for me as I don't have to cook one night and therefore have this extra time to relax with him. Then on Thursdays, we have "date night" where we choose a movie to watch (usually a classic one as he knows I love them), prepare a few snacks, light some candles and spend this time together.

Are there any inspiring quotes you love reading that are uplifting?

Yes, I have a few that motivate and inspire me to continue being positive, motivated and determined to reach my goals!

  • Just take it one step at a time
  • Be anxious for nothing
  • If it were easy, everyone would do it
  • Be kind always

What is your favourite Happy Way product?

Such a hard question!!! I would have to say the Happy Way Fat burner in Mango! I must take this before a workout as it really gets me "in the mood" to exercise. I love how it is a natural product yet still provides me with enough additional energy for my workout.

What are ways to reach out to our loved ones to ensure they're keeping motivated and positive during current conditions?

It's so important to check in with loved ones during this time. Sometimes all people need to help keep them motivated or positive is just to know that someone out there is thinking of them and cares about them. Sending a quick text message, Facebook message, Instagram message, etc., to your loved ones, asking how they are, can make a world of difference in their eyes.

Are you after more inspiration? Check out all the Happy Way blogs here!

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