Life in This Strange New World
Updated: Sep 27
I wrote a brief post on training in this new — but temporary — reality. If you’re an athlete, you should go read that, and others on the subject. There will undoubtedly be more important posts on this subject as we all adjust to this new adventure!
This post is more about your everyday life. You can share it with your non-running friends. It may even be more helpful for them since they don’t have running to distract them!
Your thoughts and emotions are valid.
Yes, no matter what they are. This is an unprecedented time for us in the modern world. I don’t think any of us expected it. There’s no manual on getting through this. That’s why you see varying and evolving responses from those in Government. While there are certainly some epic fumbles happening, there are also plenty of government officials who are just as confused and frightened as the rest of the world. Whatever you’re feeling is okay. Embrace it first, then work past it if it’s unhealthy. But even that unhealthy emotion is you and you’re important and accepted the way you are.
Limit Screen Time.
Come on, we know this! Yet when cooped up at home, it’s what we all turn to. Since many of us are being kept away from friends and even some family, it’s probably an important means of communication. That is 100% okay. It’s probably your primary means of working from home if that’s what you’re limited to. That’s okay too; I’m in the same boat. That said, it’s easy to get sucked into mindlessly scrolling Facebook or Instagram, liking memes and shared content. My advice is: schedule your screen time into categories. If you’re working, then work. If you’re communicating with friends and family, do it in the most “live” way possible, ideally phone or video chat. And of course, do give yourself a little time to mindlessly scroll to take your mind of things. Just limit it!
In the past few years, our social media has become a world of memes. Yes, they’re funny and clever, sometimes downright hilarious. But we see the same ones over and over again. It’s dragging us into a thinking “rut,” if you will. Even those clever memes follow the same pattern, day in and day out.
So my challenge to you in this time of uncertainty is to create content. Make photographs, write poetry, write music, comment on books, music and current events, even just create your own simple text posts. It doesn’t need to be perfect, or even good, it just needs to be authentic. That’s what we all need right now, authenticity. Add something to our collective consciousness, don’t just mindlessly reshare. (Unless it’s adorable dog/cat/baby videos... in that case proceed at will!)
Find your hobbies.
I think all of us have things in our lives that we wish we could do more of. Whether that’s reading, playing music, knitting, woodburning, making photographs, hiking. Whatever it is, now is your chance!
Follow CDC recommendations and local restrictions, and pay attention as they change, but for now, GO OUTSIDE. It’s spring for many of us. The sun is (often) shining. You’ll get your Vitamin D, you’ll get fresh air, and you’ll experience movement. Even if you just go walk around your yard and stretch, you’ll reap some benefits. If you’re cooped up for whatever reason, sit by an open window. Yes, even if it’s cold, sit for 15-20 minutes with a sweatshirt on. It’s worth it for your mental state. If you’re truly stuck indoors, you should probably supplement with Vitamin D too.
Schedule your time.
A lot of schedules have been shared for parents who are now dealing with their kids at home full-time for the foreseeable future. They can be great (but modify to fit your family and lifestyle). What about those with no kids or older kids? You still should schedule your time. It doesn’t have to be strict, but you should change activities frequently.
Here’s an approximate idea of what I’m doing personally! (I spend no more than 90 minutes on any one activity, usually an hour or less for many of them).
Whatever you’re doing, you should avoid the temptation to multitask. When you feel yourself getting the itch to check your phone, or whatever, just switch tasks early, and adjust your schedule if necessary to come back to whatever you were doing.
Coffee, emails, check training logs, check for social media notifications (no scrolling)
Run and mobility work
Shower, breakfast and mindlessly scroll social media briefly
Check Google Classrooms, answer emails from students/parents/coworkers, etc
Practice piano, trombone, trumpet, clarinet or guitar
Lunch while reading a book
Create content and lessons for students
Bike ride or strength training
Check Google Classrooms, make posts and assignments if necessary, answer emails
Create content and lessons for students at school
Create content and lessons for students
Reading and/or music practice
Check training logs
Last-minute foam rolling, etc before bed
This is what works for me. Because of the varying lives of the kids I teach, my schedule changes daily to ensure all kids have access to the support they need. However pretty much every day includes this kind of variety.
Ask for Help
If you are struggling with figuring out the balance of running and training in your life right now, please reach out for advice; I’m happy to give it. If you’re struggling with your kids’ distance learning plans, I’m happy to recommend resources, as I’m a PK-8 Music Teacher who’s fairly well-versed in other academics as well. If you’re struggling with mental health, please reach out to a professional. There are virtual therapy sessions available, so please explore that!
We’re all working through some unprecedented changes to our collective human experience. Be patient, loving and kind to those you interact with on a daily basis. YOU may be what keeps their day bearable. Stay positive, find your joy, and above all, keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.
You can read the other posts I’ve written here.