fitness · season transitions

Chronicles of December, 2020 edition

December is the most pensive month, or so it seems when I look back on blog posts past. It’s also full of advance-of-New-Year fitness promises and plans, all shiny and new and wrapped up like holiday gifts to oneself. In this post, from December 2016, I rhapsodized about my newly-conceived every-day winter walking plan:

Walking in winter (so far) also feels quieter and more calm than walking in other seasons.  Here, the trees are bare and sometimes the sky is gray, or it’s a crystal blue.  The air is crisp, and sometimes the wind is blowing.  But walking, I’m ready for it… right now, early winter walking is a quiet pleasure, perfect for the period before harsher winter arrives.

Yeah, I wafted away on a cloud of fragrant prose there. My apologies.

We all get carried away sometimes.

However, the most lovingly-laid and loudest-trumpeted plans didn’t play out the way I hoped. In December 2017, I wrote about it here:

For me, this challenge was a bust.  I didn’t have the oomph to do it.  It just made me feel resentful, overburdened, under-exercised, and inferior to my obviously-better-life-manager compatriots.

Of course this is no surprise.  Challenges can be motivating, but also can trigger resentments, fears, anxiety– you name it.

Now here we are, a year later… In the midst of it, I feel– calm. A bit quieter than usual.  Slow and deliberate. The indirect light suits me.  The early dusk I find entrancing.  This is a new experience and completely unexpected.


Jean-Luc Picard is also frustrated by my continued lack of self-knowledge.

Sigh. I’m afraid to say I continued in the same vein, burbling on about everyday yoga (which I did actually do) and setting up my bike trainer for regular indoor workouts (which I didn’t do).

By December of 2018, I had wised up to my inner Bronte-esque winter fitness heroine, stopping her in her flowy tracks before she could trip me up again. In this post, I admitted that my previous posts were more aspirational than realistic. The two pictures below illustrate the contrast.

My plan for the month was as follows:

  • doing a bunch of yoga, mostly in very small bits
  • walking more
  • sleeping 8 hours at least, because I have to in order to function
  • being present for my family, trying to maintain boundaries of some sort
  • accepting that my house will be super-messy and my writing obligations will have to wait and that my body is actually helping me do all these things so thank you body

Forget ethereal.  I’m going for pragmatic this season.

Two years later, it’s December 2020. What does this end-of-year time look like?

  • Because of COVID, my work/life boundaries are pretty shot. This means less time devoted to relaxing, exercise, fun stuff.
  • Because of COVID, I’m alone most of the time. A few friends come to my house sometimes for porch visits or n95-masked short visits. It’s not enough, but I’m grateful for the contact.
  • Because of COVID (plus other things), my sleep schedule is pretty shot. I’m responding my letting myself get enough sleep (schedule permitting), even if it means losing some mornings.
  • Because of COVID (plus other things), my eating is more dis-regulated than usual. This is a day-to-day changeable thing, made better by more sleep and more movement and more meditation.

So, what’s my phrase for COVID-December, 2020? Weathering the storm.

A woman, shoulder-deep in water, holding a tiny red umbrella against rain and clouds.

Here’s how I’m doing it:

  • Because of COVID, there’s loads of online yoga. I’m doing some.
  • I’m meditating every day. Really. For realz. It’s not always fun, but it’s always happening.
  • I’m leaving the house 4 days out of 7 each week, walking, doing errands, etc. I’d love to say I do it every day, but it’s not happening. Okay then.
  • I’m talking to friends and family a lot– on the telephone (yes, I use my phone for real-time person-to-person audio communication), over Facetime, Zoom, and in person when possible and safe.

AND: I’m continuing to write for all of you about my relationship with fitness, wellness, sadness, and presence. It feels a bit like talking to long-time friends.

What’s your watchphrase for December? I’d love to know.