In the midst of a pandemic virus and crisis, I’m unusually calm. My tranquility finds roots in shelter in place mandates from my local government. Being an introvert and having some mild form of social anxiety has prepared me for being quarantined at home. Bruh, I’m the last one you ever need to tell, don’t go outside. Even with my aversion to being constantly around other people, I truly enjoy genuine human interaction. Meaningful conversations with one or two people are ideal for me, especially if I’m comfortable with said individuals. My problem lies in getting alone time, because constant people stimulation is exhausting. There are more benefits for me in isolation outside of stroking the flames of my personality type. I’ve saved money and time due to the lack of a work commute. Time with Julia and the kids has exponentially grown as we’re forced to be around each other and navigate collectively to ensure we’re completing our responsibilities. Juggling Zoom meetings and coaching children through school work was never a goal I read in the article, “Must Do Adventures Before You Turn 40”. In all seriousness, my heart goes out to all single parents having to adapt to the restrictions and responsibilities set before them. I also stand in solidarity with the educators around the world. Your job is invaluable and often thankless, us parents playing double duty as teachers now get a glimpse of your reality. Y’all definitely deserve Michael Jordan’s 1997 NBA contract (adjusted for inflation of course) for dealing with our kids. With all the change abound, my commitment to running has stood firm. Honestly, what forms of exercise can I actually enjoy with gyms closed? I’m over Shaun T, Tony Horton, and all your favorite Instagram fitness enthusiasts. All I need for these trying times are a nice pair of shoes and some solid headphones so I can ignore the despair for at least an hour.
“Be grateful for blessings. Don’t ever change, keep your essence.” - 2Pac
Running for me has always been something I’ve preferred to do alone. With more cases of COVID-19 increasing in the States, engaging in this sport in solitude has become a necessity. As we find ourselves at the apex of the virus’s destruction, group runs are a form of manslaughter at the very least. Knowing that the disease can be transmitted via droplets makes it imperative that we’re not symbolically signing death certificates for other people, because we’re not practicing social distancing. Some extroverts would probably find it challenging going out for a solo run, but there are several things they could do to hack this exercise so it’s not so miserable.
Find a good podcast or playlist to listen to as you run. During shorter runs, I’m playing some trap music or whatever is popular at the moment. The heavy drums usually help inspire the extra boost I need to increase my pace. I’m playing R&B and some alternative songs during longer runs to ensure my pace is slow.
Run with a family member or pet that you’re quarantined with at home. It may not be a friend or usual running partner, but it provides folks who need it, that much needed interaction.
Break up your run into intervals of short bursts of speed and long stretches of light jogging or even walking. During these slower times during your run, use it to call family or friends.
As tough as this situation can be on all of us of different personality types, it’s extremely important to ensure mentally we’re doing fine. Running is the way I keep my sanity, for others it’s sewing, binge watching Netflix shows, or daily Zoom parties with friends. Whatever you choose to do, make sure the activities you’re involved with positively impact your mental health. There are many of us out here dealing with anxiety and depression, being at home alone can often amplify the symptoms of these mental illnesses. Check on your family, friends, and coworkers. Social isolation is rough, especially if you’re not in proximity to loved ones that are there for you. Self-care is just not a catchy buzzword floating around these internet streets, it’s a declaration that you’re just as important as anything that’s happening in our world. Be kind to others, but mostly essentially, be kind to yourself.