This time last year, I remember questioning if things would “be back to normal by 4th of July 2020....” Turns out, we were only seeing a glimpse of the COVID iceberg.
When the world was shutting down, we were first told “two weeks”. I felt a distinct *sigh* across Denver, as if my working colleagues and neighbors were grateful for a “forced pause”. Let’s be honest here, I was even grateful to not be flying for a few weeks. Talks of binge-watching shows and spending time at home catching up on the “things I never have time for” was a commonly heard expression.
Then that “forced pause” extended to a month and eventually no timeline was given.... (insert unsettling feelings here).
The light at the end of the tunnel started to fade with heightened restrictions: limitations on store capacities, regulations on household purchases (toilet paper anyone?), and mandates on daily activities due to COVID cases rising were the “new normal”. People were losing jobs weekly, schools were closing with little to no information on re-opening, sports and music events were canceled indefinitely, and phone *pinging* alerts of “stay in place”.
It was a weird time.
The most common thing I heard was how “unhappy” people were feeling and it was stretching over months now.
Maybe that’s why I rolled out my yoga mat, I felt the “funk” like many of you.
I had a minor essential surgery in March which I had to go to alone due to COVID restrictions. I was laid off from my full-time job with no promise of return (like many of you). Quickly, I learned how messed-up our unemployment system is. Experienced heartache and loss after saying goodbye to my best friend // dog of nearly 12 years. I lived completely alone so isolation was my “new normal”. My apartment never felt so empty and I had never felt so lost.
There were some major moments that have forever changed my future, for the better though.
I hired a therapist to help coach me on making impactful and authentic decisions: personally & professionally. I made a vow to exercise daily, budget money weekly, and only consume 1 drink per month (next is to cut-back on my caffeine addiction, stay tuned). I’m writing more, organizing my thoughts, and mapping out my next 2-, 3-, and 5-years goals. Hiking weekly, almost always solo, because it was the only time I feel truly “grounded”. Planning a trip monthly, even if it’s close to home, because I need those moments to exhale.
My “work-life balance” was non-existent for a while... I was working TVLA from 4:30a-7am, working 10 - 12 hour shifts at the clinic, commuting over an hour each way, and then coming home to wrap up emails and finish with meditating or reading. Going to bed around 2am and doing it all over again.
One night, in child’s pose, eyes closed with my forehead pressed against the ground thinking “An Align[MAT]... who would have thought in 2017 I would create the one thing I would desperately need during a pandemic in 2020?”
Maybe that’s why I hyper-focused on TVLA, because there was a shortage in fitness accessories. I couldn’t find weights anywhere and I didn’t have a mirror in my apartment. I got creative with our TVLA Balance Blocks – staggered pushups, squat series variations, lunges with my front foot on, asymmetrical balancing series, cardio burst toe taps, core work block passes from my hands to my shins. You name it. I probably gave it a try or 100x. I was using our Sightseer Strap to train arm binds (birds of paradise, bound half-moon, garland, etc). I attended some online continuing education platforms, co-wrote a yoga series curriculum for a school district in Denver, and was doing my best to “redefine” what my future was going to look like.
Now, over a year has gone by and things are starting to “re-open”. As a fitness instructor, I cannot explain to you how good it feels to be teaching in real life. There’s a shift in perspective, a sense of gratitude in the studios. The energy in the room is different – it’s less ego, more nurture. Many individuals are questioning “is this worth it” when it comes to work // life balance // physical health // mental well-being. I love hearing people say, “my priorities have shifted, for the better”.
What changes have you made from your experiences during the pandemic? Are you better for it?
As the world starts to re-awaken, my one question is “if not now, when?”.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes friends.