I don’t know about you, but the last few months have been out of the ordinary. From a bout of Influenza B in February that lasted weeks and affected the entire family to the uncertain and unexpected times we find ourselves in today, routine has been elusive. The transition to staying home hasn’t been easy for anyone. The hardest part? Finding balance without the traditional outlets and ability to prioritize my own health and wellbeing in the same way.
At the beginning of the year, I had a solid gym routine in place, working out four to five days a week. I was feeling strong and making progress. And then Influenza B hit our house and it hit hard. In a three-week period, I made it to the gym once. I even took an extra week off to ensure I was healthy and ready to return. And then everything changed.
Schools were closed and families were told to prepare for distance learning. Gyms were closed. Restaurants were closed, including my wine bar in Edina. When and where possible, employees were sent to work for the foreseeable future. And finally, the ‘stay-at-home’ order was issued. As much as I wanted and needed to start working out again, I just couldn’t figure it out. My work life was busier than ever thanks to COVID-19. My three girls were home and always underfoot.
Working out didn’t even feel possible. And it wasn’t because my gym wasn’t figuring things out. They truly went above and beyond to continue to serve and provide much-needed support and community during this strange time in our world. I attend a gym offering 45-minute camps multiple times throughout the day. They quickly transitioned to executing this same schedule via Zoom, in addition to the ability to check-in, activities for kids, lunch-time sessions to provide mental and emotional support, and even providing equipment to members to further support at-home workouts.
I know that a lot of businesses have transitioned to offering their services online. It’s about continuity of service and survival. That transition is hard because it is never the same and everything we do right now seems to involve a screen. Distance learning is done on a tablet, working from home means days filled with Zoom meetings, even connecting with family and friends now requires the use of video conferencing tools. It was hard for me to imagine another Zoom meeting each day to work out.
For a few weeks, I let everything else in life take priority. My work day started when I woke and lasted past dinner time. My girls needed attention, both because of the chaos in the world and with school work. Plus being home all the time means more to do around the house – more laundry, more dishes, more food and more mess.
Last week, I finally decided I needed to recommit to the routine of exercise. I needed to find a way to fit it into my day with regularity. For me, this meant signing up for the 4:30 p.m. camp on Tuesday. It was a cardio day so seemed a bit more approachable after six or seven weeks of not working out. And I will be honest… IT. WAS. HARD. My fitness has declined significantly. While I have a nice space and much of the equipment I need to exercise at home, it’s not the same as the experience at the gym. That was an adjustment and slowed the transition process between exercises. On top of that, my almost 2-year-old was constantly underfoot – watching, copying and looking for snuggles.
But… I. Did. It.
Then I did it again on Wednesday (leg day), Thursday (burst training) and Friday (full body strength). That’s only four workouts so far in April, but it felt good… to see my people, to hear familiar voices and to do something for me.
It wasn’t the same as it was a few months ago and I know the normalcy I seek and miss is not in the near future. But I have the ability to prioritize working out and to reignite a routine despite the challenges of COVID-19. Everything feels hard right now and I know it will feel hard for some time… both in life and when working out, but that isn’t a reason to not try.
I know my routine will look different and some days will be easier than others. But I hope that I can regain strength and prioritize a healthy habit I need now more than ever. At the very least, it will make my return to the ‘gym’ that much more enjoyable in the future… whenever that day comes.