Gratitude – Pandemic Summer Edition

Hi hi hi! It’s been a minute since I last wrote a blog just for sheer pleasure, so I decided it was due time. Last week I was having the most lovely convo with a former student, and I realized “my purpose” for all of this public stuff, and it’s my passion for writing. After the conversation, I commit to writing more, in the hopes that I can one day compile all this nonsense into a memoir, or novel of some sort.

This summer has obviously been weird. Let’s just address that before I get into my spiel about how great it’s actually been regardless. At the height of the pandemic, everyone was saying, “summer 2020 is canceled,” and I was so depressed. As a teacher, my two months off are SO SO SO SO sacred. Like, I’d definitely sell my first born to ensure I can be a lady who lunches for at least 6 weeks. (Scratch that, you never read it, please don’t call CAS on me.) Anyway, I secretly mourned the loss of my summer back in April or May, so it was very surreal in mid-June when the economy started opening up, and we all realized, “WOW, we might actually get to enjoy ourselves to some extent this summer.” But, it’s obviously a smaller scale enjoyment, with many precautions and safety measures.

Despite staying local and wearing masks everywhere we go, we’ve been doing quite a bit! My kids have become accustomed to our new lives, and have been so happy 1. spending so much of the summer as a family, and 2. doing the things we didn’t do for four months, like patio dining at restaurants, as well as going into stores and seeing friends again. Seeing their smiling little faces as they get to experience some normalcy again fills me with so much joy. The things we took for granted before are now so cherished by all of us.

Liv's birthday

We enjoyed my daughter’s 8th (!!!) birthday on the patio at NextDoor, and they brought her the most indulgent chocolate sundae I’ve ever seen.

Nature Hike

My parents also bought her a Fuji Instax camera for her birthday, so we’ve been enjoying some nature walks to take some photos.

Now let’s talk travel. Obviously planes are not a thing this summer. I decided to forego my annual summer trip to NYC for a road trip to Bayfield, Ontario, population 62 (or maybe less, I dunno, it’s the smallest town ever). This was a tough one, folks. The frantic energy of NYC in the summer just calls me, and not going kind of hurts. BUT, I take comfort in knowing the city I love isn’t itself at the moment. A blogger friend of mine was there visiting and she posted stories of the empty subway, Times Square with tumbleweed rolling through, and stores and restaurants boarded up, and my heart broke. I sincerely hope the cities I love, and the world in general, can recuperate after all of this. Mentally, physically, economically, etc. It’s just all so tragic.

Anyway…Bayfield. Okay, so it’s not my fave little town and there are much cuter ones (Prince Edward County, Muskoka, Collingwood), but we decided to try something new. It’s a 2.5 hour drive, and there is one strip of restaurants and shops, but DANG the restaurants are amazing. Also, we snuck onto the private beach, and it was well worth it. No one was remotely close to us, and it was clean and quiet.

Bayfield 2

Just casually pretending I actually ruin my hair in pools.

Bayfield

The requisite blogger beach shot.

Bayfield 3

Y’all wish you had a forever work wife as amazing as mine!

July was honestly so fun and relaxing. I feel so grateful for all the little things we’ve been doing and it’s truly been the perfect balance of self-care/time to myself, and family time. August is shaping up to be amazing too. We have a little family road trip up to Ramada Jackson’s Point to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday, and we are also celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in late August, with a stay at a hotel downtown and dinner at an incredible restaurant! My philosophy this summer has been to LIVE. To be present, mindful, and soak it all in (safely), before the reality of “back to school” (whatever that will look like, let’s be real, a total sh*t show), and possibly a second wave.

Are you guys enjoying your summer and making the best of a really weird time? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Athleisure Teacha OUT.

Locked Up

Let me start by saying I wanted to write this blog ages ago. We’ve been quarantined due to a world pandemic now for 5 weeks, and just now am I mustering up the emotional and physical energy to craft this. Real talk, the first few weeks were mentally the hardest days of my life. I’ve been through things with my health, but damn, being trapped inside with so much uncertainty was way harder on me than even battling illness. I’m an extrovert. I thrive on face to face social interaction. I love going to restaurants. Events. Social gatherings. Even just the mundane routine of driving to work daily and being in that physical space makes me happy. So having my world pulled out from under me was a shock unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

But here we are. A month in. I went through my stages of grief, and emerged on the other side of it all. Stage 5 – acceptance. Acceptance of my new normal; this life that I never signed up to, of being a stay at home mom who also works from home. Of watching my two very well adjusted kids become emotionally unstable, at each other’s throats, and just generally prone to upset and non-compliance. I’ve realized that this is not a short term thing, and just this past week, I made a schedule for what I believe my next three months in captivity will look like, and guess what? I’m happy now. I have some semblance of normal again, and being back at work has helped tremendously. Yes I’ve had to navigate difficult waters with elearning, but I’m here, I’m present, and I’m making the best of it.

So without further ado (haha j/k, I talk too much), here are my coping mechanisms for you. PSA: Coping mechanisms or not, you’re allowed to feel ALL the emotions during this. I’m tired of the “sad shamers” who tell you that you’re not entitled to grieve because people are enduring much worse right now. You can be grateful for being home and being safe, but you can also be sad. Mourn the loss of your canceled events. Mourn the loss of your social life as you knew it. Mourn whatever f*cking loss you need to mourn for and don’t let anybody tell you not to.

Okay. I’ll get off my soap box now and tell you what I’ve been up to and how it’s helped.

  1. Getting outdoors. Guys, I really hate going outside. I used to joke that if it was less than 20 degrees out, I wouldn’t step foot outside except going car door to door. BUT, life has changed so much this year, that I’ve basically had no other option. First I spent many days through the winter picketing 3-4 hours at a time, and well, that was frigid and no fun. Now, in quarantine, getting our steps in outdoors has been a game changer for everyone’s mental health. I even bought these weighted Bala Bangles to make my walks more challenging. It’s crazy how 1 lb on each ankle can make a HUGE difference. I’m obsessed, and I look forward to walking outside daily with the kids because of them.

bala bangles

2.  Going for the occasional drive. We do it maybe once a week, and it’s been great to feel some normalcy. We listen to music, we chat, and it almost feels like regular life, minus having a destination.

car drive

3. Daily workouts. This has probably been the biggest game changer for me and my mental health during this time. I LOVE the gym. Like really really really really love it. I adore taking group classes because of the loud music, the energy, and the sense of community. I like high intensity classes like spin, Body Pump, etc., and the sweatier I am at the end of that hour, the better. BUT, this was taking a toll on my body. I was perpetually in pain from doing high intensity activity 3 days a week, and suffering muscle pain and strain every damn day. At home workouts have completely altered this. Now I exercise 5-6 days a week, and sometimes only 20-30 minutes at a time. I do some lower intensity workouts like yoga and Pilates with Melissa Wood Health (I’m BEYOND obsessed and will continue to pay the monthly fee for her workouts when normalcy resumes and my gym re-opens), as well as LesMills barre classes. I still do Body Pump once a week, but with lighter free weights instead of the heavy barbell, and I do cardio like Body Attack and Body Combat, but I don’t run or cycle, which are the culprits of a lot of my muscle strain. And guess what? My body feels AMAZING. Not only am I pain-free, but I’m also getting way more fit, and my anxiety and stress is drastically reduced after these workouts. Can I get an amen?!

pilates

4. Keeping up with the kids’ school work. Keeping them busy is a challenge, and I’m so happy that school has resumed, albeit virtually, if only because it gives us all something to do. Both my kids LOVE learning and school, so reading daily with my daughter and completing her math work has been great for all of us. I thrive on productivity, and this feels productive to us.

reading with Liv

5. And lastly, healthy eating. We are eating GOOD during this quarantine. I’ve had many amazing meal/food deliveries, including this beautiful wild caught salmon filet from Papa Earth, a high quality meat delivery service. Eating at home daily (with the exception of once a week takeout on Saturday nights) has allowed me to really fuel my body with the proper nutrients that it needs to stay strong during this, and also to be able to track what ingredients are going into my meals, and control my portions. I don’t weigh myself, but if I did, I’d guess I’ve probably lost a pound or two through this, because I eat way “cleaner” at home than I do out. I don’t think I’m eating less, per se, I just think I’m making better choices.

salmon dinner