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Finding the Silver Lining

What a decade 2020 was, right?


At best, last year hit us with major changes to our daily lives and wave after wave of catastrophic news. At worst, we suffered devastating personal losses. I can’t imagine anyone came out unscathed, and to those of you who are struggling, please know that we see you and honor you. (Therapy, in my experience, can be a huge help, and there are loads of options for virtual appointments these days. I had a few appointments with a counselor at BetterHelp when I felt myself spiraling last summer, and many of my friends have learned that they had virtual therapy options available through their work. That’s not an ad or anything, just a suggestion from my experience!)

That said, I hope you’ve had at least a few bright points. Maybe you’ve found a new passion or hobby (where are my fellow newbie plant moms and dads?), or used your increased time at home to implement some positive changes to your daily routine. In fact, if you’ve accomplished something that you’re proud of, consider this your invitation to brag about it in the comments or on social, because if you’re excited and want to share, let me assure you that Jenn and I want to celebrate with you!

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m beyond fortunate. My loved ones and I remain safe and healthy as I write this, and I wake up every morning full of gratitude for that. Sure, we canceled trips, there’s been some slowing down of work, and like everyone else, I miss gathering with friends for things like live music and birthday parties. But it’s easy to see those as small losses in the grand scheme when I’m able to keep that kind of perspective.

And, because of the gratitude I feel (and, again, therapy — yay therapy! ), I’ve also been able to see some of the positives that have come out of the past year. So, I thought I’d share a few of those bright spots in the hopes that it might help others identify some of their own high points.

Living That Slow Life

Life has slowed down by necessity — but, if I’m being honest, there’s a lot I kind of like about that. There are more dog walks, more evenings spent listening to music and just talking, more time puttering around the backyard without having to be anywhere on the weekend.

This new normal has also led to a solid home workout schedule for my husband and me. We’ve been using both Aaptiv and Centr several days a week, and we figured out how to change our living room into a workout space in under two minutes by moving a couple of chairs and rolling up the rug. At the end of most days, we spend 30 or 40 minutes doing a strength, HIIT, or yoga class together — and it’s honestly been fantastic.

My living room, most of the time.

I miss the vibe of my yoga studio and the wide variety of equipment at my gym (I’ve really just got the basics: a few free weights, a couple of kettle bells, and some resistance bands), but I don’t think my fitness has suffered for it. And it’s certainly saved time and money.

My living room when it’s time to get sweaty.

(Pssst! Jenn and I put together a list of online workout resources a year ago, when all of this first went down. The deals are probably no longer valid, but if you’re looking for an app to help you get in the home workout groove, you might find something you dig here!)

Since I’m saving that time, I’ve been putting more of it into self-care and athletic recovery. You might’ve seen on Instagram that Cheribundi and Hyperice invited me to take part in a virtual 1:1 Recovery Session with Becci Twombly, the team dietician for the LA Lakers and LA Angels, and Bradford Rahmlow, Cheribundi ambassador and Rumble Instructor, which was an eye opener. I knew that tart cherries were good for fighting inflammation (which is a major issue for me with arthritis in my knees and other persistent inflammatory pain in other areas), and Becci pointed out other complementary supplements that would be beneficial. I’m now a tart cherry juice every morning kind of girl, and I can’t see going back.

Bradford got me started with the Hyperice HyperVolt Plus, which is a percussive device designed to accelerate warmup and recovery. Biggest takeaways: Use it not only on the muscles that I know need attention, but also on the muscles that affect those problem areas. And, regular use is key, so I keep it on the side table by my usual seat on the couch to make it easy to spend a few minutes using it while watching TV in the evening.

Otherwise, I’ve made a real effort to get outside and enjoy nature safely, so there’s been lots of running and walking, kayaking with gators and stand up paddling on the Gulf, and even a little snorkeling — made easier because I had a chance to check out the new Vita Snorkel Mask from Aqua Lung, and it doesn’t tangle in your hair. Fellow snorkelers, you know how big a deal this is, right?

I really enjoyed taking part in GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp last June; not only did it push me to get out for a long walk daily, but I learned so much. Although the live version ended at the end of that month, I totally recommend signing up and going through it — all the recordings are on Spotify. And it’s a pretty cool way to get into a regular walking habit, if you’re not already!

While I have no races or media trips to recap for you, I do have something similar. I finished the first draft of a romance novel that includes running, travel, adventure — and, of course, kissing. I’m working through the edits now, which is both exciting and a little terrifying. That said, if you’re a fan of the romance genre or just want to know when this book is available, sign up for my newsletter. I won’t send updates often, but when I do, I’ll make them fun, I promise. (And, if you’d like to be even more of an insider, maybe be a beta reader or just offer some feedback early on in the process, please feel free to drop your info here.)

Let’s go back to the point I made above, about what we can pick out from this really horrific year that’s worthy of celebration. If I had to choose one positive to share, it would have to be love. I’m more keenly aware of how important my loved ones are to me, and I’m far more open about telling them so … maybe a little more often than they’d like, to be honest, but I’m okay with that. How about you? —Kristen

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Fine way of telling, and pleasant post. Nice info! Thanks a lot for sharing it, that’s truly has added a lot to our knowledge about this topic. Have a more successful day. Amazing write-up, always find something interesting.

  2. Your work seems to be informative. Thanks!!

  3. Wow, this is something I wanted to know. so much thankful to you for sharing this knowledge.

  4. Mahenoor says:

    Thank you for the information it really helped

  5. A very interesting observation… I might blog about this too, after a little bit of research 🙂 Honestly this is informative

  6. Well, here we are (hopefully) in the homestretch of the pandemic. I just found out my husband and I will be eligible for the vaccine in our state next week. Much of my family has now been vaccinated. Of course, we are still being cautious, but it helps to know, we are becoming safer. I can say I have enjoyed the time working from home for the ability to bond with the pup we adopted and to spend more time in our new Southern Utah home without having to use vacation time. I am extremely grateful that none of my family has been seriously ill and that we have all kept our jobs in one form or another. Thank you, Kristen, for reminding us of the positive that has come from this crazy year.

    1. Kristen says:

      Christie, thank you for this comment. You made my day — and I’m so, so happy that you have your own silver linings to share! Take good care 🙂 –Kristen

  7. Kristen-
    Thank you for wiring such a poignant piece on…well..peace! It seems that you have found what truly matters to you all while finding your favorite ways to care for yourself. I honestly feel that is where the ultimate peace is found; by finding the path to your own self love.

  8. Looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hello! Thank you for such an interesting and open article. It seems to me that for many of us, 2020 was indeed one of the hardest years in recent years. But as I see you had real successes and big changes in the past year, I am very happy for you, and I want you to have everything well in life and new goals and successes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us, it is very valuable in our time.

  10. Jenny says:

    Even though we are emerging from the pandemic and going back to work and schools, pubs and eating places, gyms and pools, there is this lingering fear. Six months after getting vaccinated, am not sure if we are safely out of woods are need to be cautious and watchful. It is like living in a small town with a serial killer lurking and yet like you said we have survived, we have access to vaccines and more and more vaccines are being developed and getting released every month. While some have perished, many have come out of the struggle with the disease. So may be there is hope for us?

  11. This pandemic really tested our patience, mental and physical health.
    We need to protect ourselves by wearing facemask all the time.
    We have to be healthy and safe in order to be resilient in this new normal.

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