The one year COVID-versary: reflections on adapting

Did you know you were as adaptable as you’ve proven to be this year? I sure didn’t.

Georgia’s preferred morning snuggle zone

With the anniversary of the Toronto COVID lockdown looming, I started thinking back to a year ago. I found this post I wrote last March, about doing workouts with bags of books instead of weights, with this deeply anxious sense of Having to Make Do. Our posts for that springtime lockdown are just stuffed with fear, tension, sleeplessness, agitation, fatigue, worry about Doing the Right thing. Agonized discussions of whether it was really okay to go for a run or a walk outside. Baking and hoarding. People yelling at joggers, or insisting that virus could stay on your groceries or packages for days, turning a head of broccoli into a killer.

I was working out with our Virtual Superhero group the other day, as I do at least three or four times a week now, and I thought about how quickly an online workout community has become something I deeply value and am not going to give up in a hurry. These morning workouts with the remarkable Alex aren’t “making do” — they have evolved and grown to be a more reliable part of my life than gyms — much as I like them — ever were. Our virtual superhero community is real connection, meaningful movement, and it fits into my life — and motivation in a really organic way.

Morning scene in Cate’s house in the BeforeTimes: (alarm goes off, causing cat to jump off arm. Cate looks at phone, thinks about getting dressed and walking to dark loud spin studio or going to gym to lift heavy things, then rush home, shower, rush off to meeting. More than half the time, Cate rolls over, forfeiting not insignificant already-paid class fee, goes back to sleep).

Same scene, CovidTimes: (alarm goes off, causing slightly fatter cat to jump off shoulder. Cate looks at phone, surveys body and thinks I do NOT want to work out right now, reminds self all she has to do is get up, make coffee, pull on clothes, turn on computer and maybe stretch and then can leave if she wants. Grumbles and gets up anyway. Never leaves after stretching. And even if she DOES cancel, fee gets refunded).

This morning, during our workout (deadlifts and lower body plus E2MOM, if you’re wondering), I was using Emmylou’s bed as a glider for hamstring walkouts, chose from a full array of kettlebells for romanian deadlifts, and — as I watched Alex dance around on screen — the most creative, remarkable, encouraging, authentic coach ever — I thought “I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the gym.” And I meant it. I finished my 730 workout, grabbed another coffee and a bowl of muesli and was at my desk, answering email, 5 minutes later. It works.

To a large degree, the same is true of my workouts on my spin bike. I miss my spinning studio, I miss the music, I miss the community. But I’m not gonna lie — I ride four times as much as I would if I had to leave the house to do it. I ride for a quick half hour in the morning when that’s all I have time for, I get on the bike and into the imaginary world of zwift in the darkening evening for an hour or so as dinner cooks to shake off the day of zooms, I do long rides on the weekend. I sweat in my own home, in the slivers of time that work for me. It adds up. (Not to the TRON bike yet, but I’m getting there — I’m above the clouds 😉).

Yoga? As for so many, YWA is the thread that knits my days together, along with live streamed classes a couple of times a week from my local studio — but having my yoga mat laid out all the time means that I often slip in a 15 or 20 minute practice when I have half an hour between meetings. Like Tracy, I really miss incidental movement — but between deliberate walks, the occasional run, yoga, Alex and zwifting, I just logged my 121st workout for 2020.

So what am I noticing? The things that were workarounds a year ago? The things that reminded me of what I’m missing? They’ve actually given me a more organic, self-guided, reliable way to thread movement into my life. Movement I look forward to, movement I love. Somewhere quite early, I reframed my constellation of movement not as a poor substitute but a more seamless set of options depending on mood, available time, energy level.

My business partner commented the other day that I am “winning in the self-care department” — especially with my consistency of movement. I know some people miss the energy of other people, heavy weights, the structure of leaving the house to Do Something Physical. I get it. But for me? My little introverted, self-driven, self-guided self is happy with the array of virtual options that have grown around me.

Today was a glorious, warm, sunny day. I went for a walk at lunchtime. I reveled in it. Another thing I’ll miss if my Life-Out-Of-The-House resumes in full.

What about you? What have been the happy surprises of bringing so much movement into your own hands and home?

Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who never puts away the yoga mat anymore. No one is coming over anyway.

9 thoughts on “The one year COVID-versary: reflections on adapting

  1. Pretty much the same except I’m looking forward to all my outdoor activities come spring: walking with colleagues, Meg the wonderful personal trainer in the backyard, bike rides, Snipe racing, paddling etc. But as far as working out goes, I feel like you I’ve got it covered. YWA, Zwift, the new erg, kettlebells, the TRX, and so many bands. I’m going to miss this when I’m back in my office!

  2. One difference that I’ve been thinking about is that for you, since you worked at home before, this might be your new normal. For me I’m going back to the campus gym (soemtime!) in part b/c I’m going back to the campus to work. No more day time Zwifting! I do think I’l do yoga in my office after hours though. We’ll see. Looking forward to bike commuting again.

    1. I spend a lot of time in normal times commuting between client sites for short meetings — like taking 45 mins to get downtown for a 1 hour meeting and then 45 minutes to get home again. I’m hoping we will be able to transition a lot of those shorter things to zoom permanently.

      1. apropos of shuttling between meetings: I’m never having regular office hours again in my university job (well, very little in future). Why? Because now students can just contact me and we can meet according to their and my availability, which they do. And there’s something more relaxed about it, too. I’ve had such revelatory experiences meeting with students this way. (this isn’t a FIFI issue exactly, but certainly a work-life-connection issue).

  3. I enjoy a lot of my schedule these days too, but I miss the park workouts (which will hopefully come back soon) and perhaps the heavier weights. I still think it will be a long time before I am comfortable going back inside the gym though.

  4. I am loving the ability to zoom into a Pilates class or spin class. So much easier and, as you say. And all through COVID, I’ve continued to enjoy (maybe even more) my outdoor workouts for the feeling of freedom in the midst of so much restriction. For me, the biggest bonus of the zoom-ness though has been the trainings (particularly in Non Violent Communication) that I’ve been able to participate in all over the world, across time zones. Precious opportunities that I would not have been able to travel for, even prior to the pandemic, because it would have been too much time and money. A silver glitter lining in my life.

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