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The COVID Elephant in the Room…

8.6.20
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I want to address the COVID elephant in the room: the fitness “influencers,” diet, and overall well-being during this time. Full transparency and recognizing my privilege, prior to COVID, I had a nanny 4 days a week and a housekeeper. I met my girlfriends at HIIT classes a couple of times a week, went for leisure runs outside, and had a standing tennis date with my girlfriend every week. I meal prepped and cooked from 4:30-5:30 most days while my hired help played with Ollie. I meditated.

Prior to having my life-changing nanny who I miss dearly, I experienced a year of no help. And very infrequent housekeeping. I was very lonely. And very isolated. I was depressed and anxious. Overwhelmed. This is why Matt and I invested in our family’s well-being by hiring help, despite the stigma I believed came with it. I fought very hard to get out of that lonely situation because, at one point, I hit bottom and was ready to give up all caregiving completely. I was full-on mom until I burned out, broke, and said, “there has to be a better way.”

During COVID times, I realize many of us feel this way (again), don’t have help, and have lost all community and family connections we had prior to these times. I also realize how many hired caregivers and teachers have lost their job to COVID and are also struggling deeply. We’re burned out and barely hanging on.

I want to clear the air right now.

Let yourself off the hook.

For eating dessert every night this week and wishing you hadn’t.

For not using quarantine to inspire weight loss or aspirational body changes.

For being so exhausted that you chose a nap over more exercise.

For comparing your journey through this time to others’ social media posts.

Let yourself off the hook for having sad, negative thoughts even though you feel like you shouldn’t.

I want you to know…

I’ve had Jenni’s ice cream and marshmallows after dinner most nights this week.

I’ve snuck in workouts here and there this week, but I’m only halfway inspired. Sometimes I compare my COVID journey to other fitness mamas who have a dedicated time to exercise every day. My dedicated time is any time anyone is willing to play with Ollie for 30 mins. I will forgo showers and much-needed hair washing to move my body. #Priorities.

I’ve been napping almost every afternoon. Homeschooling a toddler is–whew!–a huge undertaking. I have no teaching background, but I’m trying my best, for Ollie and my mental health. We need structure.

We are healthy. We are not hungry. We are, in my opinion, fairing this time better than many of my friends who are navigating pregnancies, COVID losses, job losses… I have my mom and step-dad around to help most evenings around dinnertime and on weekends (while we’re in Virginia). And I still feel like sometimes I’m in a bad dream. The only thing that gets me through the day is knowing I am spending more time with Ollie. And I rally. But not every time.

When I have too much time, I think about all of my former work going to waste. I am not the main income producer in the family, so I took on the caregiver role. It’s not fair, but it’s the best decision for our family.

When I asked my friend Natasha Hastings what her advice to her younger self would be, she said, “It’s going to be okay, but it’s okay if not okay. It’s okay to not be okay. Does that make sense?”

Yes, Natasha. Yes. 

I wanted to post this for all of you who feel like, you’re not doing it right. You are. Social media is for influencing. It’s for the pretty stuff. The glamourous stuff. Remember, when you feel like you’re just at the end of your rope and you’re barely hanging on, to let yourself off the hook.

No shaming yourself.

No judging yourself.

No comparing yourself. Even to your former self.

You are–despite what your internal dialogue is telling you–doing an amazing job through unprecedented times. This is not meant to minimize how dire your situation is by saying we’re all in the same boat. Rather, I wanted you to know that what we see on social media, structured workouts, tone-deaf posts spewing privilege during times when people are not okay, all that looks nothing like my life.

So if you were looking for some confirmation that you’re doing a great job, let this be it. Let’s keep posting the real-life COVID posts and texting our girlfriends without all the fluff. Let’s normalize not being okay, and be okay with that.

So grateful for your love and support,

Emily

 

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