Carrie Underwood Says At-Home Workouts Have Been Her “Saving Grace” During a Stressful Year

From Prevention

Stress levels have skyrocketed for everyone amid the pandemic, and no one can avoid the anxieties and frustrations that have come with a year of such uncertainty.

That includes country star Carrie Underwood, whose biggest stressor is one too many parents can relate to: keeping her kids entertained. “They require different things than we do. My little boys are so social, and we’re so used to being around lots of people and lots of other kids all of the time,” Underwood tells Prevention.

During quarantine, every day around 3:00 p.m., she would turn to her husband, Mike Fisher, and ask what one-year-old Jacob and five-year-old Isaiah should do next. “You have your morning routine and there’s breakfast, and then you get ready, and then it’s lunch, and now what?” she says of her family’s routine. “So, it’s been a difficult time.”

Through the struggles of parenting amid a global pandemic, the 37-year-old singer has been trying to stay positive in the best ways she knows how: keeping up with her fitness routine, spending time in nature, and focusing on creative projects. Ahead, Underwood shares her top self-care tips for stressful times.

1. Keep your body moving to keep your mind happy.

Like most of us, Underwood admits finding motivation to keep up with her fitness routine has been tough. “It can be a challenge to exercise, especially when you’re having a rough year in the world,” the CALIA by Carrie Underwood founder says. “Yes, it would be easier to sit on my couch, but that’s not going to make me feel good and that’s not going to keep me healthy. I want to choose what’s best for me‚ so I just get up and do it.”

Not only does it keep her fit, but it keeps her happy, too. “It’s so important on every level, not just from a physical standpoint because you want to do it to look good—that’s just a byproduct and it’s awesome when you’re feeling good about yourself—but for your mental and emotional wellbeing,” she says. “Even if you’re getting up and going for a walk… there’s so many benefits to movement and working your body.”

2. Embrace the at-home workout.

To get her sweat on, Underwood usually heads to her home gym to squeeze in a workout with her husband. It served as extra motivation and helped the couple spend quality time together (sans children!).

She recently launched a fitness app called Fit52 this year, which she uses anywhere from four to six days a week. “It’s been a saving grace for me,” she says. “We had no idea this year was going to happen like it happened. So to have this app that’s focused on bodyweight and minimal equipment—dumbbells and a bench—it’s been a blessing in my life to be able to have that.”

Typical exercises include burpees, pushups, squats, and resistance training moves like bicep curls using dumbbells. Fit52 also offers a range of “all-encompassing circuit training” workouts, which Underwood compares to “CrossFit type fitness.” On top of that, she adds yoga and Pilates to sneak in mobility moves.

3. Find a new hobby that brings you joy.

Underwood has been focusing on her nutrition at home, too. The vegetarian hasn’t eaten meat since she was 21, which she calls a “lifestyle” instead of a diet.

While she joked about “the old COVID nutrition” (because who hasn’t been snacking like crazy?), she’s been keeping up with her healthy eats by growing some of her own food, which has been a huge stress reliever for her.

“I have a garden outside, so I’ve really gotten to get my hands dirty this year. It’s such a wonderful thing to grow your meals,” she says. “We ended up eating a lot of zucchini, and I was finding all kinds of different ways to make zucchini because I had so much of it. There’s nothing like your own fresh tomatoes and basil.”

4. Get outside with the people you love.

In addition to gardening, Underwood found other ways to safely spend time in nature with her family. (For good reason: Even a short, 15-minute break outdoors is enough to lower levels of stress and fatigue, research shows.)

“Most days whenever we could we got outside, we’d go and have picnics or go for walks, and we have a four-wheeler that we’d get on and ride around,” she says. As for the ultimate family day out? She has horses at her home in Franklin, Tennessee, so she’d take her kids out to feed and play with them.

5. Keep the creativity flowing with exciting projects.

Underwood has also thrown herself into creative projects to keep herself busy. “We’re always working on things musically,” she says. She even released a Christmas album during the pandemic, which brought a little joy to a difficult year.

“That was just such a blessing for me to be able to go into the studio and shut out what was happening outside and just sing these songs that mean so much to me, so hopefully people can get that and hear that when they listen to the album,” she says of My Gift.

She’s also worked on some new collections and pop-up shops for her athleisure brand, CALIA by Carrie Underwood. (Find them in Nashville, Santa Monica, and Austin through Dec. 31!)

“We just kind of wanted to bring something fun and new to those areas and see what happens! I want people to come and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m loving this collection,’ or maybe spoil themselves with a couple of things or get gifts for people for the holidays,” she says.

The pop-ups are following COVID-19 safety guidelines, she ensures. “We’re requiring employees and customers to wear masks in the stores and disinfecting high-touch areas, and just doing all the things we need to be doing to make sure everybody’s safe as they come and check out what we have going on.”

Overall, Underwood’s finishing out 2020 feeling a bit more positive about what’s ahead. “I’m excited to spend the end of this year, hopefully with family, and start a fresh year,” she says. “I feel like everybody is. Let’s all be positive and look forward to what could be in the new year.”

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