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.
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.
(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