Friday, March 27, 2020

Going Stir-Crazy? Explore the World of Color

Time for a hike? Loving this pop of hot pink!
IllumiNITE Unisex Velocity Mitten
It's week two of isolation, and I must admit I'm going a bit stir-crazy. I've worked remotely for years, and I've gotten pretty good at it. I know to set specific hours to avoid working nonstop. I know to take little breaks throughout the day to stretch, get water, have a snack. I know to break down my work station at the end of every day, and yes, even shut off my computer and store it out of sight. This gives a sense of transition from work time to down time at the end of the "work day."

But I'm not JUST working remotely. I AM remote completely—away from friends and family and people in my community. I never fully appreciated how integrated my world was. Besides driving to work, there's going to the store or bank or gas station. There's stopping by the local library to pick up a new set of books. There's going for a run with my run club. There's the impromptu coffee or drink with a friend. All of this is gone. And it takes its toll, more than we realize.

Wearing IllumiNITE Pink Love Tee
to brighten my day
I read a great article by Harvard Business Review entitled That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief. And it makes sense. Even though I'm getting more sleep than ever and my daily routine is solid, I have to look at the calendar every day to see what day of the week it is and what date it is. Is it really only Tuesday? How is it Friday already? Wait, is today Saturday, or Sunday? Time has become a concept, one big, blurry mess.

I'm having a harder time waking up in the morning, my brain feels foggy and groggy, and I wrestle between experiencing bounds of energy to wanting to sleep until this COVID-19 pandemic is over.

In this new normal, I'm trying to find ways to add more joy into my life. For example, I'm definitely eating a lot more chocolate! haha But that alone, isn't cutting it. But I noticed that working near a window and looking out at the world around me has given me more joy. Spring is in the air, the buds are sprouting on the trees, and slowly the world is blossoming into color: bright blue skies, greener grass, red cardinals! Each pop of color creates this surge of joy inside me.

Can you find the garter snake?
As I stated in my last post, COVID-19: Stay Remote, Not Isolated, I'm getting out in nature to explore as much as I'm able! last weekend, I came across the cutest little garter snake while on a hike. I wouldn't have seen if it didn't rustle up the leaves as it slithered away—it was completely camouflaged.

Seeing this nearly invisible snake made me remember a conversation I had with a friend a while back. She had painted her fingernails bright colors, which surprised me because she doesn't normally paint her nails, let alone paint them all different colors. When asked about it, she mentioned that she had just read the book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee. She said the book mentioned that adding color, shapes, and textures into your life bring you pops of joy. (mental note: I must buy this book!)

Thinking about this concept of color bringing joy while watching this adorable little snake trying to blend into its background made me realize: This COVID-19 pandemic is making me feel like I'm fading into the background! Every day, my work outfits have been a rotating array of black and blue hoodies and sweatpants. What else would I wear while being cooped up in my house?! But...I realized that "dressing up" to go for a hike or a run has been my happiest moments of the week. Yes, a large part of that is the fact that I'm doing something outside of the house. But the other part of that happiness is: I'm wearing bright colors!

Wearing these pops of color has become my social outlet; my pops of joy throughout the week; it's my way of being seen when we can't socialize, my way of announcing to the world: I'm here! I see you! Do you see me?

Maybe it's the stir-crazy, but the most exciting moment last week was when Mike noticed that my IllumiNITE Ambition Reflective Women's Hoodie has a ponytail pull-through! How have I never noticed this before? So what does one do when discovering this amazement?

 PHOTOSHOOT! No autographs, please! haha


 




I'm wearing Beetroot/Silver
Mike's wearing Hawaiian Blue
And, I just found out that the IllumiNITE Ambition Women's Hoodie AND the Early Riser Men's Pullover are on final sale! So get yours before it's gone! Don't worry! You can order online! And if you use discount code Sera15, you'll get 15% off the rest of your order (non-sale items).

Okay, so maybe this blog post is all over the place...this is the state of my scattered mind. But seriously, get some COLOR into your world! It will make you happy! And...it will brighten the day of anyone you may pass (remember: 6 feet apart) on the road or hiking trails! It seems there are a lot more people exploring the outdoors now that businesses are closed. Are you one of them?!

What are you doing to bring pops of joy into your life during this time of social isolation? 

Leave a comment below!




Friday, March 13, 2020

COVID-19: Stay Remote, Not Isolated

Climbing mountains
keeps me centered
The world is in complete chaos right now, and my head is spinning from the constant COVID-19 updates in my news and social media feeds. With businesses and schools closing and store shelves clearing out, I know that we will be hunkering down at home, working remotely, in the very near future. 

It's hard to predict what the next few weeks will bring. While I'm taking necessary precautions, such as washing my hands more frequently, limiting social activities, and shopping online to support local and independent businesses, I'm also sticking to my daily routines as much as possible. This includes adhering to my hiking and running schedules. 

Finding balance and peace
on mountaintops
April begins our rigorous mountain running training—ski slopes and jagged, rocky inclines galore—so I've increased my hiking activities this month to prepare my body for the increased intensity that mountain running adds. Despite the lingering cold weather, my IllumiNITE Tahoe performance jacket, cold weather hood, and Satellite running tights (pictured) have kept me warm. The sun has been shining and the skies have been blue. Spring teases the air, and it's bringing me so much joy. 

Being amidst the trees and rocks helps me feel centered to clear my head and regroup. The breathtaking views at the tops of these mountains reminds me to stay positive, even when it feels society is falling apart, and to remember that beauty exists in this world.

IllumiNITE Tahoe Performance jacket and cold weather hood
Staying warm, despite
this cold New England weather 
I truly urge you: get outside and enjoy the walking trails, forests, and mountains near you. Escape the news feeds and anxiety-ridden posts. Take the time to center yourself and be present with the here and now. If you need activewear that keeps you warm and dry, I highly recommend supporting independent retailer IllumiNITE. Use my discount code Sera15 for 15% off your entire order. And remember, stay safe! 

What are YOU doing to find balance amidst the chaos? I'd love to hear your ideas. Leave a comment below.







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