For the past six weeks, I have spoken about this with a couple of coworkers and even a few close friends of mine. After seeing many people’s social media posts, zoom meetings, articles on how to work remotely, how to teach your kids, how to work with kids, and basically how to do anything during these times, I felt compelled to share my experience.

I am a bit tired, usually beat around 11pm. I wake up sore as hell from head to toe and it usually takes me a few minutes to loosen up and be able to open my eyes without them burning. Although not visible to those around me or the naked eye I am stressed. I feel it in my gut, which was somewhat swollen the first several weeks of the lockdown. I am working 12+ hour days, homeschooling my babies, and using every single second of my day as a new opportunity.

COVID-19 has given me something I have not been able to have in over 12 years, more time.

I have gained between 3 and 4 hours of my life back every day! How??? I’m not driving and I absolutely love it! No dropping off kids to school, then to work, get in car for lunch meetings, back to pick up the kids to head back to office with them to then take them to their extracurricular activities and get home after 7pm feeling exhausted, beat, and without being able to fully accomplish or finish something all the way while having to start my second work shift at 10pm after they go to bed.

Throughout this time, I have tried to keep things in perspective while being practical and thinking long-term and taking into account my feelings, as well as, the feelings and situation of others. I have taken this opportunity not only to rise above and be there for my team but to innovate, create, grow, and challenge myself in ways I have not had the opportunity to do. I have also helped other local business owners with ideas on how to keep their businesses going and have made a point to reach out to someone I know, love, admire, and appreciate several times a week. I want to show support, I want to be helpful, and I want to lend a helping hand if someone needs it. Sometimes I’m here to listen to their frustrations through this whole process and as the “problem solver” that I am I tend to provide ideas and suggestions on how to help, even when not asked for them.

Six weeks ago I told my friends and my team, “this is the opportunity of a lifetime”. As stressful, sad, and scary as it is, this time provides a tremendous opportunity to learn and do something different. I have fully embraced that concept and my kids were in for the ride.

Together we have created COVID accomplishment boards because I truly believe that after all this if we have not gained a new skill, tried something new, created a new and positive habit, become better at something we were already working on, we simply wasted this unique, life altering, strange, and borderline incredible opportunity. Something like this will probably never happen again in my lifetime so why not take the opportunity presented to us and do something different. My kids and I are sooo excited about all the goals we have and every day we work towards achieving them.

Here are a few things we started doing.

  • I took this opportunity to move even more. I began taking more walks around my neighborhood in the mornings either right before or after my kids started school. Nothing crazy, anywhere between 15–30 minutes of “let’s get the day going” while listening to a podcast or a book, or doing a morning check in call. It helps get my mind right, think about how to plan the day ahead and loosen up my body. If I have a webinar mid morning or anytime throughout the day, I pick up my Ipad and walk while holding it. One day I did a 5 mile walk around my neighborhood during a webinar. My average daily steps now is around 17,000 with some outlier days around 27k when I go on a run.
  • My kids and I have enjoyed riding over 100 miles up to date in our trails while discovering new paths, obstacles, and enjoying our alone time together. It’s truly been an incredibly unique experience.
  • We also decided we would perfect their Spanish and I would double down my Mandarin lessons. They get to read, write, and do their Rosetta Stone each day for 12 minutes each technique. During one of my webinar walks they decided they would help each other through it and now they want to keep it that way while asking for my help at the end. They write down the words in questions and we discuss them together.
  • All three of my kids enjoy making art and they have used this time to focus on that. My son learned how to draw on an Ipad Pro with the help of his big sister and his progress has been incredible. He is now doing animations. He also painted some large acrylic pieces and it is now dabbing a bit into watercolor. He has been enjoying posting all his newly made art in his Instagram page while him and his sisters learn how to increase their followers. The three of them are on a mission to get to either 100 or 700. It sure as hell cracks me up when they ask me for more help. Just so they don’t say I am not helping out, their accounts are @nikkimedendezdesigns @jgm_designs28 and @emmarunslife. Check them out and follow them even if just to amuse me. Mine is @elyrrunslife just in case you haven’t checked it out.
  • I also decided I wanted to learn to play the guitar. The last time I picked one up was 14 years ago. I know nothing. I am starting from ground zero but I am looking forward to 5 or maybe 20 years from now playing it on a back porch while I listen to the rain or the waves crashing on shore. Emma also said she could teach me the piano the same way she is learning it with the SimplyPiano app. I was younger than her the last time I played.
  • I have also taken this opportunity to do something I have never done before. Sit on my front porch each Saturday and Sunday morning enjoying some tea, while I write, read, listen to all the different birds around me and wait for the kids to get up to go to Brueggers for breakfast. It is a quiet and unique time I have learned to enjoy. I never thought I would be the lady sitting on my front porch but it has been very soothing.
  • As a lover of the arts I always wish I had the time to go to plays, concerts, and even the opera. So often I see events I simply can not attend because it is on a school night and they usually start by the time I get home, other times the price and location limit my ability to go. But for the first time in my life I have enjoyed an Opera and a play from the comfort of my living room while enjoying a glass of wine on my left hand. It was glorious and I was completely comfortable with my leggings and blanket around my legs. To make things sweeter, my seat was not far away from the stage which meant I could see their facial expressions and even the sweat, adding to the beauty of it all.

My goal is to share a glimpse of hope and things that we could be doing differently during this time. As I have said in my writings and talk, this is not the time to go back to bad habits. This is not the time to drown your pain and sorrows in alcohol or drugs, the ex you just left, or the friend that keeps drowning you. This is the time to be strong, to focus, to rise above, to develop positive coping skills. This is a time to take care of yourself, to seek and reach out to others for help. Remember to seek genuine people that could offer honest, realistic, and unconditional support. This is the time to call on your tribe for help, support, love, and guidance.

Do not let your mind wander into a black hole. Remember, where your mind goes your actions follow and now more than ever our actions matter. What you do today will determine how you come out of this uncertain, scary, and incredibly vulnerable situation. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to scream. But above all it’s ok to be brave and right now that’s what you need to be.

Create your checklist and write down what you want to do. We will go from here.

To be continued……….