Focus on Wellness: Pandemic Edition

How is everyone? No, really. How ARE you? Have you settled into a new routine? Are you one of the lucky ones who can work from home? Are you studying online? What are you doing to pass the time?

I think most of us have reached the level of quarantine where the novelty has worn off. We are all a bit stir-crazy. With the new wave of protests, this is very evident. But from the perspective of public health scientists, we are not out of the woods yet. We need to keep listening to them, even if we are growing bored with our stay at home lives.

For me, I’m doing OK. I’m an introvert at heart, so isolating isn’t absolutely terrible for me. I was officially laid off as a PRN employee, and no one is hiring physical therapists right now. Grocery stores are hiring, but my applications have been met with swift rejections since I’m “overqualified.” I am extremely grateful my husband is still employed. It could be so much worse.

I am also extremely grateful my children are very self-sufficient teenagers! I have no idea what I would do if I had young kids at home. For those of you who do, I’m so sorry! I’m sure there are some magical moments, but also lots of frustration and chaos.

Speaking of chaos, my wardrobe and appearance have certainly regressed. I am by no means a high maintenance girl. The last time I had a haircut was a year ago. And I don’t ever polish my nails. But I do wear makeup to work and to go out. I haven’t worn makeup in over a month! The ads that pop up on social media for makeup are hilarious. I mean, who’s wearing makeup right now? And I have settled into a rotation of pajamas, “dress” lounge pants, regular lounge pants, and workout clothes. I think I’ve put on a real bra once during quarantine, and that was for a trip to the grocery store.

Unless I am on that rare trip to the grocery store, my brain has been surprisingly calm. I tend to struggle with anxiety and feeling down anyway, but it’s if my brain is saying, “See? I told you the bad thing was going to happen.” And I’m simultaneously anxious about the future and at ease with the present, although I’ve been having very strange dreams in quarantine. Anyone else? My most memorable pandemic dream thus far was that I suddenly had ginormous boobs, and I was breastfeeding numerous babies. I figured there must be a hidden meaning to this, so I looked it up. Apparently I miss being a caregiver. Strange dreams are seemingly common during the pandemic.

I’m coping by taking in what I like to call “comfort entertainment.” I haven’t been able to really concentrate on reading books. I’ve tried, but nothing I’ve read has really hooked me in. I don’t know if it’s the trauma of the pandemic or something else. If you’ve got any recommendations, I’d love some suggestions of good books! But lately I’ve been resorting to other media.

Do you re-watch movies? My top choices are The Sound of Music, That Thing You Do, Legally Blonde, and Pitch Perfect. Comfort in a DVD. Yes, I still have those!

My affection for The Sound of Music started at a young age. You can thank my parents for that. I looked forward to the replay on TV every Christmas. A few years ago, my brother bought me the DVD for Christmas. I love it! And now my kids do, too! Rogers and Hammerstein are Broadway geniuses, and this is their best work.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the cast reunion of That Thing You Do on their YouTube channel. I first saw this movie while I was in PT school. My study partner and I took a break from cramming for graduate school exams and watched this in the Byrd Theater on a Saturday night. It is still the only movie I’ve ever seen there, and I was lucky enough to do that on a night that they played the organ! The reunion is a fundraiser in honor of Adam Schlesinger, who succumbed to COVID-19 earlier this month. I didn’t know that he wrote the song That Thing You Do until he passed, but I did know that he wrote one of the best songs of all time, Stacey’s Mom, as a part of the Fountains of Wayne.

And Legally Blonde… well, I come by my love for this lighthearted movie honestly! One of my running partners and fellow blonde, Sarah, also loves this movie. We are most likely to bust out spontaneous quotes from the film several miles into a delirium inducing 16 plus mile long run.

Pitch Perfect has a similar feel of That Thing You Do, although much more frivolous! I love to cheer for the underdog, and I love music. This movie is also a favorite of my younger daughter. We bought her parts 1 and 2 for Christmas a couple of years ago.

Then there’s TV. I am sad that the new shows are wrapping up for the season. But I find myself going back in time to the 90’s and watching Friends. I almost forget about the present… until a commercial comes on. Most are about how companies are dealing with the pandemic. And I’m in love with the new show Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist. I’ve tried streaming some shows on Netflix, etc., but, to be honest, I’m having a difficult time engaging with some of the hot, new shows. I did binge watch Unorthodox and enjoyed it. Highly recommend! What have you been watching in quarantine?

My other new thing is puzzles. One of my husband’s relatives loves them, so the last time my daughter and I delivered food to her, we borrowed a few. (We are doing the grocery shopping for the elders in our family right now.) We are on our third one, and this one is tough! This is usually a vacation activity. I can’t say I’ve ever assembled a puzzle in my own home before now. Apparently my family is not alone in this!

One of our quarantine puzzles

I’m also trying to keep up my fitness, so that means maintaining my 3 time per week runs, cross training on the bike, and some garage workouts. I look forward to my daily exercise, but tend to procrastinate in getting out of the house to actually accomplish it. My rural roads are still so crowded with cars, it’s like no one is actually staying at home. Meanwhile, my friends in the city seem to be blissfully roaming empty streets. So I’ve been running mostly in town, even though I feel guilty because I’m not exactly “sheltering in place.” I find myself a bit aggravated when I see people on “my” trails, which are typically empty, but are now busy with people escaping their homes like me. But I am glad that people are exercising. Bike rides are getting easier, although I’m still a novice. I actually live off of the Route 1 bike route, so it was pretty well frequented by cyclists prior to the quarantine. It’s supremely humbling to get passed by someone on a real road bike, though! Mine is kind of a hybrid of a beach cruiser, mountain bike, and road bike. But for what it lacks in speed it makes up for in versatility. I can ride the trails and roads equally with no issues. (Speaking of biking, check out Sports Backers for their Bike Walk Month celebration, which begins tomorrow!) As for garage workouts, I really wish I had some dumbbells, at the very least. They seem to be sold out everywhere! As a last resort, I’ve taken wine carriers and filled them with cans to use for weights, even holding them together for kettlebell swings. I also treated myself to a new jump rope, hoping to master double unders while spending so much time at home. I wish I could report greater success with this! If you need workout ideas, try this website to construct your own based on what you have at hand and the movements you like.

My makeshift home gym, featuring a jump rope and wine bags filled with cans!

My husband is thrilled that I’ve also taken some time to organize and purge, although I’m sure he’d rather me devote most of my time to that! I even reached the level of quarantine boredom that I have made a major dent in cleaning my laundry room, had my own little sock matching party, AND deep cleaned my toaster oven. FYI, I sadly still have socks missing their mates… but now at least I can see the chairs in our bedroom. That’s been a nice place to have my breakfast and morning coffee, since our main living space is now an office.

Then there’s cooking. So much cooking! And baking. And doing dishes. I enjoy the creative outlet of cooking, but loathe the cleanup. But we’re trying to eat at home as much as possible. It’s amazing how much I’m turning to comfort foods right now. Who else has made banana bread?

My last ongoing project is that I’ve started a garden. I’ll share more about that later, but this is my first garden in 3 years.

And, of course, there’s pondering what to say to you, my readers. I’ve got lots of time on my hands now.

Take care of yourselves. I don’t think there’s any right way to endure quarantine. But we will hopefully get through this together.

I hope you all are doing well. Please share how you are coping during quarantine. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

2 thoughts on “Focus on Wellness: Pandemic Edition

  1. I haven’t worn makeup for a couple of years. Now when I put it on it feels strange, like a horrible paste over my skin and I don’t like it. I can’t understand why I ever wore it so religiously for so many years.


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