Right Now, My Super Power is Anxiety

In my last post, COVID-19: The Biggest Villain, I mentioned that we all need to slow down, stop, and breathe. With the world swirling full of terrible news, social isolation, unprecedented job losses, and untold hospitalizations and deaths, we’re all dealing with pressures and anxieties that we’ve never experienced before.   

In this post, I’m going to explore some of the ways I’ve been able to manage. And in the post after this one, I’m going to touch upon one thing I may be getting entirely wrong.

I’m one of the lucky ones so far. The company I work for has been absolutely phenomenal throughout the crisis. I’ve been able to keep up with my colleagues, and my normal day-to-day working hours haven’t been compromised. We’re meeting virtually, work isn’t slowing, and there’s really no reason why it should. Unless the world suddenly devolves into Thunderdome, our content will still be needed.

Like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones.

This doesn’t mean, however, that I’m still not filled with anxiety. I am absolutely, 100% terrified. If I’m going to be very honest, I’ve never felt this much anxiety. Ever. It’s not even close, and it’s motherfucking crushing.

I simply don’t trust the future. But I can’t lose my shit. Not now. Not when I have a 10-year-old daughter at home who is handling this SOOOOOOO well. I mean, she’s at home with two adults and no playmates. Talk about a fucking jail sentence. It has to suck. It just has to. And if she can wake up every morning, smile, and do her shitty schoolwork, I can put on a brave face and not let her know how much this is all bothering me.

To that end, I’ve had to find ways to cope, to release, to escape, to just feel better. Some of my mechanisms may work for you; others won’t. The ways in which we cope are very individualized. We have to take time to discover those mechanisms that work best for us. These just happen to be the ones that are working for me.

Working Out

I’ve dove headlong into as many at-home workouts as I possibly can. I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised at just how decent my little garage gym set-up actually is for pandemic WODs. I have a padded mat, a pull-up bar, a bench, some kettlebells and dumbbells, and a whole lot of resistance bands—plus a few pieces of equipment I’ve been able to borrow from Broad Street CrossFit, where I usually work out when the sky isn’t falling.

Small workout space in need of a rower, squat rack, barbell, bumper plates…and maybe a dusting.

The box’s owner is posting workouts for all the members to perform every day, and there’s also an online CrossFit competition going on featuring movements that are easily able to be completed at home. On top of that, I’m running more, rehabbing my shoulder via my ActiveLifeRX coach’s programming, and also working on various other weaknesses in my fitness regimen.

Who knows, it’s very possible I come out of the pandemic more fit than I was when it started.

Tracking My Diet

This one is going to annoy people. Probably, a lot of people. I’m a macro-tracker. I pay attention to how many grams of protein, fat, and carbs go onto my plate at every meal. I know that many of us have given up on attempting to adhere to a strict diet routine during the pandemic and that prayers to the almighty OREO have taken up a pretty decent chunk of heavenly bandwidth, but I feel like by paying attention to my macros, I’m keeping myself honest. I also know that if I didn’t, I’d be stress eating and all the unhealthy foods we keep in the house would be launching themselves straight into my mouth.

By forcing myself into a very strict diet, I’m limiting the damage. Cause right now? No beers are easier than one beer, and no doughnuts are easier than one doughnut.

Writing/Journaling

This blog came back to life. So did my practice of journaling. I’m holding myself accountable to two blog posts a week and am attempting to journal every day, though I’ve admittedly missed a few days here and there.  

I’ve always been in love with writing, but it’s not something I’ve pursued in a while. It can be such a great escape, and the journaling is something that I’ve really come to embrace because you just let yourself flow. It’s not formal writing, but it is writing. If you journal yourself, you know what I mean. And it’s so easy to do. I’ve been using Day One, and if you’re interested, I highly recommend you check it out.

Meditating

Like the journaling habit I’ve flirted with for a while, I’ve also had an on-again/off-again relationship with meditation. I’m trying to stay consistent with this as well, though there are missed days here and there. It just feels SO IMPORTANT to me right now to get these sessions in. I feel like I’m at my best if I sit and embrace stillness at some point in the day. It forces me to stop and breathe, at least for a little while.

Reading 30 Minutes per Day

Recently I’ve been burying myself in Marvel Unlimited. It’s a magnificent resource if you’re a comic book nerd like I am. I’ve also been reading The Priory of the Orange Tree, a high-fantasy novel by Samantha Shannon. There’s also a whole slew of books waiting on my nightstand that I’m ready for me to dive into.

Learning Spanish

Want to learn a language? Get Duolingo. Though the app offers a paid tier, you can take lessons free of charge, there are a ton of languages to choose from, and the platform itself is dynamic. I spend about 20 minutes per day attempting to master the next lesson. I’m quite a long way from achieving fluency and walking around Mexico City with confidence, but I’m enjoying the journey.

Learning the Ukulele

I’ve never played an instrument. It’s one of those things that I’ve just never taken the time to learn. For Christmas, though, my wife, Beth, gave me a ukulele, and now I’m taking three lessons per week using Yousician, with each lesson lasting about 30 minutes. The app itself is absolutely made for someone like me because it’s very gamified; it listens to your instrument’s notes as you play and only allows you to progress to more challenging songs and levels when you achieve a level of success at the level you’re currently at. Learning the ukulele has been challenging, but it’s also been very rewarding as I watch my skill grow.

***

As you might be able to tell, all of this is keeping me VERY busy, which is good, because the busier I am, the more distracted I am, and the more distracted I am, the less time I have to sit and worry about the ever-expanding growth of COVID-19 cases. This level of activity…it feels like a necessary evil at the moment. It’s needed; at least I need it.

Is it all the way healthy, though?

We’ll discuss that in my next post.

For now, tell me what you’re doing to stay busy. How has your routine changed? What new practices have you taken up?

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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