I got the keys for my new apartment on March 1st and on March 2nd Washington state saw the second death linked to Coronavirus. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression in the past, I was incredibly naive about the impact that this virus was going to have on the world.
Washington state issued its stay home order (Stay Home, Stay Healthy) at the end of March and like many others I was filled with dread about what the coming weeks and months could look like.
I am incredibly fortunate and privileged to have a job that allows me to work safely from home, and to even have had a job throughout all of this. I'm writing this post to reflect on the things that got me through the last few months, not to prescribe a one size fits all approach to dealing with the state of the world.
Back in October 2019 I started working with a personal trainer to meet some of my fitness goals (mostly weight loss). I was going to the gym maybe 2-3x a week and seeing minimal progress. Eventually, I was able to start getting to the gym just about everyday. I was building up a lot of muscle and my weight was still dropping.
As the state began to shutdown I went to the store and grabbed some snacks and got ready for a two-week hibernation at home. I stocked up on pasta (which I really haven't made consistently since college) and my activity fell to zero. Then, my weight started to climb back up.
I started using noom to track my meals and I returned to deliberately trying to fill out my Apple Watch activity circles everyday. I've worked up to about 6 miles and I go probably 5-6 days of the week.
I use the time to catch up with friends on the phone, listen to music, and listen to audio books. Here's a few that I've finished recently:
- Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
- Radical Candor by Kim Scott
- Range by David Epstein
- Blink by Malcom Gladwell
- Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Simple Rules by Donald Sull & Kathleen Eisenhardt
Getting back to a healthier diet and going on regular walks really made me feel like I was more in control of my time than I might've actually been. I felt less guilt about "wasting" my days inside and losing my progress from the gym.
Shortly after Washington lifted some rules to allow for more outdoor recreation, my friend and I started hitting the trails (early in the morning, before the crowds show up).
I love hiking in general, but it feels really good to get in a full workout before your day really starts. There are so many amazing hikes in this area that it'll probably be months before we really need to double up on any single trail.
There were many weeks where the only places I'd go were:
- My house
- My parents' house
- Grocery store
- Our weekly hike
Trying out different trails broke up the monotony of the week and also really made me feel like I was getting out and about; instead of the anxiety that builds up from sitting still all week.
Attending #BLM Protests & Marches
When the quarantine first started, I thought I was months and months away from standing in a crowd and seeing friends. During the first protest I attended, I distinctly remembered thinking I'd be more anxious to stand in a crowd.
Attending the protests and marches were very cathartic for me. It was very important to me to stand with the black community and protest the police killings of black folks; and to be a part of that movement. Thankfully almost everyone attending the protests and marches were all wearing masks, and as a result the protests didn't contribute to rising coronavirus cases.
The virus brought our country to a halt and surfaced a lot of the inequality in our institutions. There was a lot of tension built up and felt all over the world, and these protests were a good catalyst to start some of those bigger conversations.
It's hard to classify the protests as a "positive" thing, but they were important and I'm glad that they happened. I'm hopeful that they have a lasting positive impact, and that we can move towards justice.