By Kim Duke

My motivation is starting to hit a wall. The schedules I have created for myself during this pandemic are beginning to fade. My healthy eating now includes potato chips and I am sleeping and napping more than my teenager. 

None of us planned for this. Sure, some of you may have stocked up on supplies earlier than others, but clearly the financial and emotional toll of COVID-19 are much greater than anyone could have anticipated. And, like the virus, my new normal changes every day.  

Early into this unprecedented territory, I created a set of goals for my teenage son. These goals were to complete three things each day. One being fitness, two being educational and three being something of substance like pick up trash, rake leaves, clean your car, etc. My teenage son moaned at the enormity of completing so much each day. Yet, here I am now struggling to accomplish tasks that were once part of my routine and completed with ease.

Some of the problem is a lack of accountability. My sons’ assignments will not be graded so he doesn’t see the point in completing them. I have tried to impress upon him that doing these assignments is a way to keep your brain sharp and it also shows your commitment to finishing the school year strong. Afterall, college is not going to be an easy transition if you are already out of the habit of completing assignments.

For me, I was accountable to my clients who cannot train in the fashion they are used to. I have written up workouts and checked in on those who were interested. There is the option of virtual workouts, but for those of us who are not as tech savvy this can prove to be difficult plus, you are still separated from the client, equipment and true personal interaction. I have tried to stay motivational on my studio’s social media pages but, alas, it’s all becoming harder as each day passes, each week passes and there is still not a true end in sight.   

So now I am taking on the advice I gave my own teenage son. Each day set out to accomplish three things — physical, educational and helpful. Working out may be a long walk or a hike. Educational can be reading a book or learning a new skill. Helpful can be categorized by getting laundry done or vacuuming, all things I used to do habitually, but now don’t see the point in completing with any urgency.

The point in all this is that the emotional toll that this pandemic is taking on many of us has made our old normal seem so far off that our new normal has become emotionally draining. We need naps because we are exhausted by the massive amount of information we are supposed to be taking in on a daily basis. This is like the horrible events of 9/11 playing over and over on a global scale with no real end in sight. It is literally too much for any of us to endure day in and day out.

All we can do as a collective group is know that we are not alone in this and we will survive if we pay attention and do our part in keeping ourselves and our community safe and healthy. Understanding that literally everyone is struggling with this new way of operating as a whole. That celebrating what you did accomplish each day is better than beating yourself up for what you did not get done. That setting small goals each day and crushing them will be the only motivation we need right now.

We may be self-isolating for the right now, but in the not so distant future what we have really learned is that we are not so different from one another. If anything, this unprecedented life changing experience has shown this virus does not discriminate. Clearly, neither should we.