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The Pulse - April 2020 Newsletter

Article – 5 Ways to Support Your Mental Health During a Time of Crisis

As I write this month’s article, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, a crisis that has never before happened in our lifetimes and hopefully will never happen again. The result has been required isolation, food shortages, serious hits to our economy, and major disruptions to life as we know it. Businesses have had to adapt change to their model rapidly or risk complete shutdown. Families who were already distant are now further removed as means of transportation have been put on hold. Individuals are limited in how they can move, both with growing concerns about venturing out of their houses as well as available means to exercise. All of these realities we are all experiencing these days make supporting our mental health that much more paramount. That’s what I want to speak to today. I want to share five ways you can boost your mental health despite all the uncontrollable factors each of us are faced with these days. My hope is to encourage by bringing some awareness back to what you can control during these unprecedented times. Let’s dive in.

  • Begin Your Day with Gratitude

Instead of getting up and turning on the news or diving headfirst into a list of to dos, pause first to consider some aspects of the day before that you’re thankful for. Mindset is guided by our thoughts. When we pause to reflect on things that make us feel good, it actually triggers the release of feel good hormones in our brain like serotonin, dopamine and even endorphins. Start your day with gratitude and turn your frown upside down.

  • Get Into a Routine and Make a Daily Schedule

The current pandemic we’re in the midst of has disrupted EVERYONE’s routine. Whether work or play, all of us are spending increasing amounts of time doing so at home. The result has been DRAMATIC shifts to our daily routines. A surefire way to support your mental health during these times we’re in is to get some normalcy back by adhering to your previously kept routines and schedules to the best of our ability. Take your morning shower and get dressed for the day. Do your workout that you always do at 10 a.m. or whatever time it is for you. Walk your dog. Just do so safely. Keep your structure as intact as you can despite the disruptions to it.

  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep

This one ties closely to your routines and schedules discussed before. When home life is the standard, we can find ourselves in front of a screen more. The ingestion of screen time wreaks havoc on our sleep quality and quantity. First, the light alone from any screen is proven to, in simplified terms; confuse our brain’s perception of day versus night. Consider also the impact of what many of us are taking in. The news is NOT good! It’s hard to rest when we are so unsettled. Last, surfing the internet or getting wrapped up in a Netflix binge can cause us to get COMPLETELY blind to time, thus resulting in later bed times as our routines get out of whack.

Ensure that your mental health remains solid by getting a good night’s sleep. Stick to a schedule that affords you at LEAST 7 hours of quality sleep each night. I’m personally getting more like 8-9 hours these days simply because I know my energy needs to be at its absolute best in order for me to continue leading as well as serving in the capacity I want to be able to provide.

  • Go Outside

These days, many are FREAKED out about going outside. Even I found myself wishing we could create some kind of substance we could spray into the air to reveal the COVID-19 virus, like the Invisible Man is revealed when the main character throws paint on him.

Wear your mask if you must, but do get outside. Sunshine is SO therapeutic. Plus, if you’re like me, you have a dog or several. They will destroy your house if you don’t get time with them! Walking is also the easiest form of movement that ALL of us can participate in. It provides exercise crucial for our hearts and our lungs. It also provides a healthy distraction from wandering into the kitchen to find something to nibble on just because you’re home and stuff’s there.

  • Eat Healthy

Who has eaten something they normally would not in the past week? Hello, who am I kidding? I’ve eaten something I normally wouldn’t have in the past day! With all of this home living, it’s so easy to just grab stuff. I believe that eating healthy starts first with sticking to the routines and schedules I spoke about earlier. Make your breakfast as you would all other days if your routines were still intact instead of grabbing something before diving into the latest news or getting a jump- start on your work from home. Keep snacking to a MINIMUM! When you do snack, make sure that you are positioning yourself for success by purging the easy to grab higher calorie stuff for higher nutrient dense stuff. Hummus with some veggies is a great option versus the large handful of chips I grabbed just the other day simply because it was there and I knew it. We all know what healthy versus unhealthy looks like. Stay rational in your decision making during these times.

There you have it! You now have five surefire ways to support your mental health from going downhill during this time of crisis. I would add one more to the list also and this one is personal. Call me. I mean it. Now is the time to put aside stuff and focus on relationships. I care about each and every one of you. You can contact me at 520-834-5700. That is my cell number and either leave a message or text me.

We will get through this pandemic together. Let’s do so with our mental health intact! Till next time, keep on MOVING BETTER to FEEL BETTER to LIVE BETTER.

~Chris Litten

Client Spotlight – Judy Reeve

  1. What was the reason you decided to go to a trainer?

I had a double reason to work with a trainer which was something I had never done before.  A few years after recovering from double knee replacement surgery, I had not recovered as completely as I had wanted to. I also wanted to support my husband after he had had back surgery. So we started at Body Basics the same winter.

2. Did you consider or participate in any other form of treatment for your reason before seeking a trainer? Examples: physical therapist, acupuncturist, medication

We each had sought several kinds of treatment before our surgeries, primarily exercise, physical therapy and medications, including steroid shots.

3. How did you hear about BodyBasics?

I learned about BodyBasics from talking with 3 different neighbors in Tucson.  This was before we fully retired. During our winters in Tucson, we had more time to focus on some sort of supervised exercise.

4. Did you evaluate other gyms or trainers before deciding on coming to us? If yes, what were other places missing that BodyBasics was able to provide?

Several years before, we had had what turned out to be an unhelpful, could-have-been harmful experience with a trainer.  So, we had been disinclined to work with a trainer.

5. Ultimately, why did you choose BodyBasics over other options?

Five years ago, I chose to work with BodyBasics on a regular basis and I have never looked elsewhere since then.  (My husband also comes in, but for ‘tune-ups,” periodically) The first appointments involved talking at length about what bothered me…even all the “little” pains, aches, etc.  The next phase of the early evaluation was to establish what I could do, a baseline to work from.  The system that underpins our work together is Functional Movement. Chris listened well and I realize even now that he’s not forgotten where I started and what needs attending to. 

It is easy for me not to work out—to be a slug!  The folks at BodyBasics somehow always draw me back.  It’s a small enough studio that I feel  greeted, welcomed and known.  There is an optimistic, encouraging atmosphere in spite of everyone working hard.

6. What goals did you have when you started at BodyBasics?

I needed to improve strength, balance and flexibility and I think, those are lifetime goals.

7. How long have you been training at BodyBasics and what specifically have you achieved over that interval?

Each winter since when we return to Tucson, I’ve worked with BodyBasics.  Even though I physically work hard in the New Hampshire landscape much of the rest of the year, I find that I have inevitably lost some strength, balance and flexibility .  So, I focus more specifically on my 3 goals during the long winter months for New England. 

Because of the Covid-19 virus this year, we returned early in mid-March.  I am happy that my training sessions have not skipped a beat since Chris has mastered on-line, live sessions with Zoom.  His ability to see exactly what I’m doing and to coach me while I’m in my home, is amazing—from 2,000 miles away!  

8. What current goals are you pursuing with your trainers at BodyBasics?

Answered above. 

Welcome New and Returning Clients!

  • Bob Duffy ~ referred by neighbor and fellow client Tom Taylor!
  • Becky Vaughan ~ referred by husband and fellow client Chris Vaughan!
  • Amy Vaughan ~ referred by brother and fellow client Chris Vaughan!
  • Alice Callison ~ referred by acquaintance and fellow client Marge Furash!
  • Lee Shaw ~ referred by Dr. Ryan Martinez at TMC One!
  • Carolyn Wittrup ~ referred by her sister and fellow client Teena Sandstrom!

“Shout Outs”

Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.

  • Bob Plymyer – for continuing to make gains, most recently doing his first ever TRX pull-up!
  • Mike Cummins – for improving his overall stability and body control to the point where he’s now walking short distances without his cane!
  • Barbro Huth – for her ability to pick up just about any exercise at this point. Amanda recently shared of her doing a completely new to her routine without a hitch!
  • Martha Eicher – For absolutely rocking her TRX workouts with the X-Man!
  • Maureen Roll – For her continued improvement all around, most recently for her single leg slides looking perfect!

Recipe – Grilled Adobo Rubbed Fish Tacos

These fish tacos are full of flavor and perfect for an evening at home. Add fresh avocado and your favorite salsa to them!


Adobo-rubbed fish

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder, preferably made with New Mexico or ancho chiles (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds mahi-mahi or Pacific halibut, or any white fish 1/2-3/4 inch thick, skinned and cut into 4 portions

Coleslaw — Prepare coleslaw up to 4 hours ahead.

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 cups finely shredded red or green cabbage
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed


  1. To prepare fish: Combine chili powder, lime juice, oil, cumin, onion powder, garlic power, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub adobo rub all over fish. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes for the fish to absorb the flavor.
  2. To prepare coleslaw: Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; mix until smooth and creamy. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  4. Oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack, or use a grilling basket. Grill the fish until it is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a platter and separate into large chunks.
  5. Serve the tacos family-style by passing the fish, tortillas, coleslaw and taco garnishes separately.

Basic Moves by BodyBasics – Learning About the Hunger Scale

Listen in to this video from the past! I think it’s VERY helpful during these days of being home, and close to the kitchen, so much.

Team BodyBasics

Chris, Kris, Kristian, Amanda, Dustin, Xavier, Aaron, Mike and Vadim

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