Honestly, I feel like this whole pandemic has actually been similar to marathon training. It’s been hard and rewarding with a lot of shifts and adaptations to achieve what I want to achieve.
As I was thinking about sharing my marathon training experience, I wanted to write about it so it was relatable. Not everyone is actually training for a 26.2 mile race right now, but my assumption is that we are all up against some sort of challenge or our own race right now. So as you read this, consider your own race you’re up against.
By the time you read this, I’ll be eleven weeks into training. Over these eleven weeks, it’s been a consistent push-pull of going for it and wanting to sit down.
There’s been self resistance and push-back. It shows up mostly in the morning during a mid-week long run or just before my long run on the weekend. The resistance shows up as bartering, self-loathing, what if’s, and slight irritation. The questions come up as: “what if I didn’t run today and did it tomorrow instead?” “Why do I keep putting myself through this?” “The marathon date is already pushed, it’s not really necessary that I run 18 miles today.” The excuses, what if’s and self-induced peer pressure come flying at me to knock me off course. However, what I will say is this: no matter how tempting it is to shift my run or not do it, once I get running, I’m fine, in fact most of the time, I’m great. I have also found that once I’m done the distance, I’m grateful I did it and feel so empowered.
I was talking to a client recently about this idea of being half-way up a mountain. Picture you’re half-way up a mountain and feel completely depleted; mentally, emotionally and physically. At this half-way point, you’re at a crossroads. You can keep going, or you can turn around and go back. How would you feel in each scenario? That’s how I picture these training runs; if I didn’t do it, I would feel like garbage and the irritation and frustration would probably be exemplified. However, if I did it, the elation, pride and empowerment would carry me through my day and completely lift my mood.
Whatever race you’re facing right now, whatever challenge is in front of you, take a minute and envision how it will feel when you overcome it or envision how it would feel if you quit pursuing it. Which scenario feels better to you? Whatever scenario feels better to you, do it.
And maybe “quit” is a strong word, because honestly, sometimes the things we pursue are not actually in alignment with our essence. When you find yourself at a crossroad of todo or not to do, take a minute to tune in to your intuition and listen to your higher self. Figure out what is true for you, determine if it’s a yes or a no and go with that. Ultimately, what I have found is if I stay in alignment with my truth, then there’s no room for regret, guilt or shame.
I have done significant exploration around this idea of perspective; how to shift my perspective so it serves me and then live a life holding onto this idea that everything that happens, happens for me.
When we received the results of our COVID-19 test results, I managed my fear and anxiety by frequently addressing these questions and ideas:
What do I know to be true?
What can I control?
We would not be given anything we could not handle.
I am right where I am meant to be.
I used these questions and statements as a way to ground myself during quarantine and I continue to use them in the uncertainty of this pandemic, during this season of significant change and during a time that feels chaotic.
After the initial shock of COVID-19, I let go of this perspective of “this is happening to us” and was able to quickly shift into a state of “for whatever reason, this is happening for us.” Now that we are through it, now that we are back to work, daycare and school and even during our time of quarantine, I could and can clearly see why COVID-19 was for us.
During this time together, the two weeks in our home, just the four of us, we shared the most special, sweet and memorable experiences. The extra snuggles, the laughs, the scavenger hunts, the scarecrow making, the paper airplane races, the games, the movies, the arts and crafts, the playing outside mid-day, the swinging on the swings, the going to sleep knowing that we’d all wake up in the morning and get to spend another day together without having to leave. For some, the idea of not being able to leave might feel and sound suffocating, but for me, it was liberating. The idea of not having to rush out the door first thing in the morning, the idea that we could stay a little longer under the fuzzy blanket with Curious George on the TV and the idea that I could drink a hot cup of coffee a bit more slowly were the most comforting thoughts and feelings. In those moments, we were right where we were meant to be – with each other.
I am not discrediting the fact that my family is healthy. I am not discrediting the fact that we are blessed enough to have a home and to have food on the table. I am not discrediting the fact that this tag-line to this email could be triggering for some. If you have lost a loved one to COVID-19, I hold your family and the loss you experienced closely to my heart.
What I want to say is this: even in times of stress, even in times of overwhelm, even in times of fear there is ALWAYS a reason for whatever you are experiencing. It may take years to figure out how a tragic event was for you or how a serious illness was for you, but if you can give yourself space, time, trust and freedom to be open to the idea that this is meant for you, you will be serving yourself and cultivating a life of hope and openness.
Choose to look for the good because you will always find it.
If you are dealing with something hard, if you find yourself ill or unwell, if you are facing change, if you are stuggling with fear and anxiety…ask yourself, how is this situation, feeling and/or challenge for me? It’s okay if you can’t find the answer right now, but I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that you would not be given anything you could not handle and you, my friend, are right where you are meant to be.
COVID-19 Walked Through Our Door and Straight Into Our Home
Throughout this year, my fear and indifference in regard to this virus has vacillated. One day, I think the media has set up such fear mongering and blown everything completely out of proportion; the next day I’m frozen with fear and can’t put down the hand sanitizer. What I will say is this: as soon as I found out we were exposed, the paralyzing fear came crashing in. I thought of all the stories I heard about babies being hospitalized and dying. I thought of all the stories I heard about young men being put on ventilators and suddenly dying; the fear was overwhelming.
Here is a brief review of our experience with COVID-19 – the down and dirty, the truth, the rawness and the reality of what it was really like in this house during quarentine.
On our way to our initial COVID-19, PCR test, I wrote this: “one week after the event and we’re on our way to get COVID-19 tested. This is how I feel:
Angry – for having to do this. For being in this position. For exactly what I didn’t want to happen. For not listening to the voice inside my head.
Frustrated – that this is the world we’re living in.
Negative – I’m assuming we have it, because why wouldn’t we?
Mistrust – whether the results are negative or positive, I don’t trust the system. All the tests that have been retracted, the severity of this damn virus… I don’t trust the system.
Shame – for putting our family in harms way. For the people I’ve been around.
Wrong – I did something wrong and therefore, I am wrong.
Not enough – what I did wasn’t careful enough. As if I didn’t wear the mask properly enough.
Bad – what I did was bad and therefore, I am bad.
Scared – for having it and for giving it to people that are more vulnerable. Scared of the girls getting sick.
Embarrassed – for acting so “recklessly” which is the stupidest thing I think I’ve said, we went to a damn family event – how “reckless” of us!
A statistic – despite following the rules.
Here is how things unfolded: We went to a family event on Saturday 10/10 and that following Friday we found out someone at the event tested positive for COVID-19. We scheduled testing for Saturday; Alex, Ella and I all got tested. The stress, the spiraling thoughts and the fear started to overwhelm me that weekend. Alex developed symptoms on Sunday: congestion and a cough. I had symptoms of a burning chest, dry cough, fatigue, intermittently nauseous and disconnected – all of which could be related to stress. On Monday, we received the results that Ella and Alex were positive and I tested negative. On Tuesday, Adalyn tested positive and on Thursday, after I had my second test, I tested positive. This week was probably one of the hardest weeks I’ve been through. On Monday, I decided that I needed to stand strong in the uncertainty, fear and anger and devise a plan to get our family through this time. So, being someone that thrives on a schedule, I determined that we needed a routine for our weekdays and we needed to have an “activity calendar” for at least one special event / activity per day. Our time in quarantine consisted of fort building decked out with Christmas lights (my favorite!), scavenger hunts, scarecrow making, airplane races, movie nights, pumpkin carving, racetrack building, dancing, a lot of books, arts and crafts and snuggles. In addition to all of these sweet activities, this week has also consisted of some serious breakdowns, I am speaking mostly for myself. Crying, sobbing, withdrawn behavior and overwhelm. It has consisted of juggling work calls, coloring, and working late in the evening after the girls go to bed. It has consisted of poor sleeping patterns with bad dreams. It has consisted of a messy house, dishes in the sink and toys everywhere.
Alex had the following symptoms: cough, congestion, headache, lightheadedness/dizziness, rash, extreme fatigue and brain fog. Ella had the following symptoms: spiked a fever, cough, runny nose, fatigue and some clinginess. Adalyn had the following symptoms: dry cough, sneezing, runny nose, fatigue and extreme clinginess and fussiness (lord, help us!) My symptoms: nausea, cough, congestion, fatigue, headaches and back aches.
In case you find yourself in a similar situation, this is how we stayed grounded and healthy:
I continued with my morning routine: gratitude, dreams and daily goal/intention.
We ate whole foods – all the fruits, vegetables, grains and abundance of water. Minimizing refined/processed sugar to optimize our immune systems.
We got outside EVERY DAY.
We moved our bodies EVERY DAY.
Sleep – We tried very hard to get enough sleep which was the most challenging with a 10-month old who was regressing. So we stuck with early bedtimes and would rest during the day as needed.
Supplements of: zinc with elderberry and vitamin D3 (not medical advice)
Having fun – during this stressful time, my most favorite moments were in our fort, with the Christmas lights on playing, coloring and laughing with my loves.
With all of this said, I will also say this: we did nothing wrong; we worked within the parameters of the current state regulations. We are not bad for living our freakin’ lives and celebrating with family.
This virus is here to stay. It is all of our responsibility, when navigating this time to understand ourselves, what we feel comfortable with and what we don’t feel comfortable with. For you, that may mean only being around a handful of people. For others, that may mean not wearing a mask. For others, that may mean living right at the parameters that the state mandates. Ultimately, every time we go to a grocery store, every time we go out to eat, every time we go to the MD office, we are putting ourselves at risk for any and all things – car accident, virus, freak accident etc. It is up to you to determine how you want to live your life and I just hope that we all can give each other a little grace when someone elses’ choices are not in alignment with our own.
Let’s minimize the victimization, judgement and mistrust in peoples decisions, give a little more compassion and grace during a very challenging time, we’re all doing the best that we can.
Between March and April, out of almost 6,000 patients hospitalized in NYC with COVID-19, the following were the top 3 comorbidities: 56.6% with hypertension, 41.7% with obesity, and 33.8% with diabetes.
One way to prevent these chronic conditions starts with lifestyle: keeping a healthy body weight through a balanced diet and physical activity.
Now, more than ever we are seeing first-hand the importance of our health, immune system and ability to fight disease and virus’.
Are you an individual that is considered high-risk for COVID-19 complications? If so, let’s get started strengthening your immune system, minimizing your risk for these chronic conditions, managing these chronic conditions and optimizing your health.
“Nothing but uncertainty is certain. Circumstances come together only to fall apart moments or months later, and then in a flash we must rise up and regain our footing. In the rearview mirror, I see so clearly what escaped me then. It’s not that the ground underneath me was suddenly shifting, it’s that the ground underneath us is never still. That’s part of the work of my journey, getting comfortable with life’s groundlessness.”
Alicia Keys More Myself: A Journey
I see you. I hear you. Through this time, be still and know.
The month of May was going to be the first marathon of the year for me. I was going to run the Vermont City Marathon; it’s been postponed until October. My goal this year was/is to run multiple marathons, however I’m concerned a lot of them are going to get pushed. I have shifted my marathon training schedule for my first marathon in July. Things are shifting and changing everyday, how are you managing the changes? Are you seeing them as disappointments or pursuing them as opportunities?
This is what I am finding I need most during this season:
Patience – for myself, my husband and my kids. Boy – some days are harder than others, but I am willing to put in the work to be the most patient and present person I know because that’s how I will show up as my best self.
Adaptability – this marathon training is a great example of this. After feeling slightly defeated 2 weeks ago with this shift in the marathon, I realized that I just needed to stand back up, adapt the schedule and restart. It took a few days for me to come around to accepting the adaptability, but once I did, I started feeling better.
Intentional time to reset – during a time where we feel isolated, I am finding that my “me” time or “alone” time is extremely critical for my mental and emotional health. I am a mama to two very little girls that have high needs and sometimes it is overwhelming and frustrating to be consistently called upon. I know that when I am getting irritable or short, it’s time for me to take a time out.
Laughter – this is the best medicine. I am finding that during this pandemic, I have been laughing more. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m going crazy, I’m more present or I’m just enjoying the simple things, but damn it feels good to laugh.
Grace – we all have days that are more challenging than others or days that we may not show up as our best self; my goal is for the days that I don’t show up as my best self, to give myself some grace. We all are doing the best we can right now.
Perspective – constantly working to shift my perspective to a victor standpoint vs. victim. How is this happening FOR me?
What do you need most during this season and how are you getting it? How are you turning your disappointments into opportunities?
I recently went to a RISE conference where we spoke a lot about perspective. And given the current situation of life right now – hey COVID-19 – how are you using your perspective to benefit you?
We can look at the COVID-19 situation in two ways: “damn, this sucks” AND “okay, how is this for me?” To be honest, I fluctuate between these two perspectives most days. But I find solace in the fact that I am fluctuating between the two versus staying stuck in “damn, this sucks.”
Our perspective has the ability to break us down or make us stronger. If you sit in a state of, “damn, this sucks” throughout the entirety of this experience, trust me, it will completely break you down and destroy you. The time will go by, you will have been stuck in this state and you will be depleted of energy and/or motivation to pursue the things you always say you want to pursue but don’t because you don’t usually have the time. DO THE THINGS!
Shift your perspective to a state of “how is this experience for me?” Do you have more time at home and are now able to try out those recipes you’ve been wanting to cook? Do you have more time with your kids and can spend time playing and teaching them? Are you being forced to get out of your comfort zone to continue your business? It doesn’t have to be big; changing your perspective can help you change your mood. I know the COVID-19 situation is uncomfortable and unknown right now. I also know that this time is forcing me to be more present, to have more dance parties, to be more aware of finding joy and things I’m grateful for and is pushing me out of my comfort zone in regards to stretching and changing my business. It’s also helping me realize what I want and don’t want as a nurse.
Find meaning in everything that happens. What if this virus is happening for us? Giving us an opportunity to slow down, to re-organize our priorities and to recognize that if everything is important, nothing is important. This virus is helping us narrow our focus which can allow us to eliminate the stressors in our life that we really don’t need.
If you let go of those un-needed stressors – imagine who you could be, imagine how freeing life could be. Shift your perspective even just for a minute and imagine how this is serving you.
In a time where the world seems like it’s ending and we’re all doomed (it’s not and we’re just fine) – here are a few tips to care for yourself and maintain control.
We are what we consume.
Keep this in mind as you scroll social media for the hundredth time or watch the news for the 6th time today – if you are hearing and reading about fear, anxiety and the unknown than you will take on those emotions as your own.
Move your body.
When you move your body, you change your mind. Feeling scared or uncertain? Go for a walk, go for a run, take a yoga class or play with the kids – whatever you do, move your body and you will change your mindset.
Eat foods that serve your body.
People often stress eat or don’t eat when they are anxious. Stay focused on consuming whole, natural foods that will give you energy for an extended period of time.
Drink the water.
Yes, I mean water. Often times when people are stressed, they reach for a numbing agent: alcohol, sugar, prescription pills, tv, etc. These things help an individual disconnect from reality. Drink the water, stay present in the moment and lean into the feelings you are having – they are valid and you will overcome them.
Yes, we’re still in the winter season but it is so empowering to be outside in the fresh, crisp air while you soak up the Vitamin D.
It’s okay to be fearful and anxious about the current situation. However, you have the power to let it consume you or to be informed and to keep on living. The choice is yours.