COVID-19: My Long Winter

Yesterday, my mother, Thelma Jones, reminded me of my thoughts about my COVID-19 experience. Although I am saddened by the numerous losses associated with the COVID, I relate to the pandemic as a long winter. Winters have always been a time of hibernation for me. I have tackled many projects during the winter, including moments of deep thought, potty training, preparing our children for school, writing, and others.

You see. Before COVID, I was all over the place, taking care of others’ needs while shortchanging myself. I felt like I was all over the place and not where I wanted to spend most of my time. I had this vision bursting within me which included lots of free time to think about life, write, meditate, do yoga, and reconnect with myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, and I am very grateful for them. But, deep down inside, I know if I don’t take care of myself, I am not my Self.

Let me provide some context to why COVID-19 has been my long winter.

Before Oregon, we lived in our cozy condo in Canal Winchester, Ohio. My husband and I were working on our businesses. And in January 2019, my husband accepted a job in Tillamook, Oregon. I resigned from my nursing teaching job I accepted a month ago, informed the Yoga school I couldn’t accept admission into their program (I heard it is hard to get into) and made arrangements with my since-November 2019 contracted-employer to continue virtual health coaching in Oregon. My husband and I cleaned out our Ohio condo, put it on the market, and hopped in my husband’s car for an adventure. The most we ever drove anywhere as a family was 12 hours.

Ohio condo dining area

We met snow in Peoria, Illinois

Move into our first house

Our across- the- country, four-day, and three-night hotel trip to Tillamook, Oregon, worked out perfectly. Within six months of our relocation, we sold our condo and bought our first house.

I spent a lot of time with the kids during the summer of 2019 while studying for my American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer certification. I knew that the upheaval was a huge one for our children. I also didn’t want to experience what a mother regretfully told me. She said one summer she was so busy and rarely spent time with her children. Plus, our children experienced some bullying and racist remarks.

In 2019, Cam transitioned to his third school within the past year, and Cayla attended Kindergarten. I was so looking forward to having more free time and writing.

But, it seemed like every day, I was dragging Cayla to go to school, and for several mornings, I kept seeing sadness on our children’s faces. Cam wasn’t developing close relationships with his classmates, unlike his school in Ohio. No matter what I involved the children in or did (after school sports, dancing, volunteer for field trips, parties, luncheon with kids etc.), it seemed like my efforts were not working. I was exhausted, frustrated, and somewhat resentful, which may have contributed to anxiety, a three week cough and fever, and a pneumonia diagnosis in December 2019. My adrenal glands were working overtime, and I felt it.

But, in January 2020, I attended training to become a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. In March, I met with Tillamook small business to discuss giving health coaching sessions in Tillamook and open up a yoga wellness center. I didn’t know how I would obtain my yoga certification, but I was open to the process.

Then, COVID-19 hit. As you know, the kids were out of school, and any free time I had left, was put to the side. I grew a little impatient when I had not heard from the children’s school regarding the next steps in education, so on March 30 (one day before my 45th birthday), after discussing homeschooling with my husband, we enrolled the children in homeschooling. I reworked my schedule to include the things I wanted to do (gardening, homeschooling, health, fitness, and recovery after pneumonia, and writing).

Fast forward 14 months after the coronavirus shutdown and precautions, my schedule is taking shape to incorporate what I want to do and who I want to be. It’s crazy because back in Saint Louis, Missouri, before marriage and children, I wanted to take a break from nursing (but still pay my rent and bills) and figure out what I wanted to do. For over 20 years, I lived my mother’s nursing dream. Although I am grateful for nursing, I never felt at home.

Nevertheless, I believe that all things happen for a reason and have observed how COVID -19 has slowed me down. The pandemic has been a long moment of stillness, which I include in my memoir, Bent Not Broken.

Here are just a few things I am grateful for as a result of the long winter.

1.I include discussions about God and other powerful authors and books . As A Man Thinketh was our first book in our homeschooling reading program.

2. I started editing my memoir, Bent Not Broken, which outlines my healing path from childhood sexual abuse.

3. I gathered all of my writing projects together and made a timeline.

4. I spent a lot of time Audio reading. Since April 2020, Tillamook Library, through hoopla, increased our borrowed audiobooks to 20. Every book seemed like it matched what I was feeling and thinking at the time (Marianne Williamson, Norman Vincent Peale, James Allen, Thomas Jefferson, Dale Carnegie, Eckhart Tolle, and others)

5. I rebalanced my home, personal, and professional schedule multiple times. My goal is to obtain a no guilt, no strain balance in my life.

Early on, I found out that tragedies do not need to ruin my life. There is always something to learn, and I get better results when I have a positive outlook on life.

I am a student of life instead of a victim.

What have you learned about yourself during COVID-19? How has it helped you to prioritize your life?

To Your Best Health & Life!


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