Me Time During a Pandemic

Elaine Stern

"Find what you need and take it." I remember hearing that in a parenting class while I was pregnant, and it really resonated with me. After my son, Louie, was born in July, I knew exactly what I was going to need to get back to feeling like myself: exercise. Taking a yoga or a barre or spinning class in the morning is precisely what I needed to start feeling like myself again. By October of last year, I was feeling terrific. My husband was back at work and I felt like Louie and I were just starting to find a good rhythm with napping and activities. Life was stressful, but feeling more manageable with each passing week. 

And then, March. Pandemic. Social distancing. Stay at home order. Here we are. It feels like we've been here forever, and we still have forever to go. Needless to say, I'm not going to my beloved exercise classes anymore. 

A few days before the whole country went into shutdown mode, my husband said, "Maybe we should get an exercise bike since the fitness studios will all be closed this time next week." I rolled my eyes because I thought he was being a bit dramatic and because I'm very motivated by going to a class--even the 10-minute drive to the studio all alone in my car is like a little meditation for me. Ultimately, I said "sure, let's order a bike." Once the bike arrived, my husband set it up, and I streamed a class from my iPad. That saying popped back into my head: "Find what you need and take it." I knew, as long as this lockdown was going to last, I needed 45 minutes each morning to hop on the bike and stream a class. If I could just have that, I knew I'd be in a far better place mentally. I've also taken some terrific online barre and yoga classes (many with my favorite teachers who stream them from home!). Granted, it's not the same as getting to go to a class but, hey, nothing's the same right now. It's my consistent, protected time to check out.

Whether it's exercise, a long drive or walk by yourself, or just quiet time alone, consistent, protected time to check out is the first step in creating some semblance of normalcy during this strange time. For better or worse, life will never be quite this simple again.

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