Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Covid-19 Quarantine Day 195: Love on Lockdown

Masks on!
Sera in IllumiNITE Ambition Reflective Hoodie 
Today is day 195 of quarantine, and while I still refuse to accept that this is the “new normal,” I can’t dispute the fact that other than my eight-day solo writing retreat, Mike and I have been together 24 hours a day, every day, since the pandemic started.

That’s 27 weeks of social isolation. In other words, six months—half-a-year!—trapped (ahem, blessed) together.

When the pandemic hit and we both transitioned to working from home, the days and nights blurred together (they still do!). Mike and I learned that creating an accountability schedule was key to giving us a routine and keeping us active—it’s worked wonders!

Still, when I watched Mike change the quarantine day on our whiteboard to 190 last Friday, it shocked me. On our morning walk, I presented our current situation. 
Accountability Schedule and
Quarantine Day Tracker
“How are we not sick of each other?" I asked.

Mike, being the methodical, list-making, strategizing side of our relationship, had us review the past six months; then, we made a list of all the things that work for us:


Every morning, Mike and I start our day on the couch with our cups of coffee. We compare our workday schedules so we can plan meals/domestic duties/errands accordingly. Once I’ve woken up completely—which often takes at least thirty minutes for caffeine to work its way through my veins—we venture outside.

Since we no longer commute to/from work, our morning walk/run now
Cold 13.1 miles on our morning run
Grateful for warm IllumiNITE Multi-Wraps,
Early Riser, Ambition Hoodie
and Velocity Mittens 
serves as that transition. To keep us motivated, we challenge each other to go faster or father; sometimes, we take detours, and we often take pictures to capture special (and silly) moments.

When we get back, we make breakfast together before. Some mornings, we even have enough time to eat together before work begins—added bonus.

I love our morning routine; it allows us to connect first thing.


Burgers w portabello "buns" and
fresh zucchini and tomatoes

Last year, Mike and I tried Whole30, which taught us a lot about ingredient labels and healthy eating habits. We learned how to cook fun, new recipes that were both nutritional and delicious. So, when everything shut down, eating every meal at home didn’t phase us.

We make our staple go-to meals, but we also like to experiment with spices and cooking methods we’ve never tried before. We cook together as often as we can. It’s a fun way to connect, and it also serves as a transition from “work to home” as we share about our workdays.


In addition to keeping active during the week, we plan our weekends to include hiking and other outdoor adventures. We research which mountains we’d like to hike, which trails to wander, or which
Capital "A" in its natural state
bodies of water we want to visit. Then we plan how many miles/hours we want to explore and what supplies/food to bring. This always gives us something to look forward to during the week. We have so much fun exploring different places, some practically in our backyard!

We started a game to find all the letters of the alphabet in nature. The one rule is the letter cannot have any man-made aspect to it. We’ve found most letters, but we’re still searching for capital “Q” and a few others.

I’ve also discovered that eating a picnic comprised of fruit, mixed nuts, and the occasional Lara bar on top of a mountain overlooking a vast valley below is far more romantic than eating at a fancy restaurant. Who knew?


Mike and I both love to read, and we often snuggle on the couch reading our own books, each in our
Listening to Wild via AirPods on a morning walk
Sera in IllumiNITE Mockingbird Shirt (final sale)
Mike in IllumiNITE Sentinel Shirt
own world. We always share about what we read and discuss the various topics we learn about. Recently, we’ve begun listening to audiobooks together. We just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed; it spawned so much conversation about solo-hiking and thru-hikers and about our own traveling goals. When we finished the book, we watched the movie and then compared the two.

Now, we’re listening to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. We’re only an hour in, but it’s brought us quite a chuckle…especially as we compare our own relationship (and personal) habits to the main character’s.


When you’re together all day, every day, what is there to talk about?

Surprisingly, Mike and I never run out of topics. In analyzing our conversations, we realize we always have things to discuss because we spend a good amount of time doing our own thing. During the workweek, we
Mike drops off grapes to
my office, with a side of love
work in different parts of the house and do not physically see each other all day—except for the occasional snack or lunch drop-off to each other’s office (Thanks, Mike!).

We also make sure to schedule alone time outside of work hours as well. Whether I’m in my office
Snuck a pic of Mike enjoying
Joyful on a sunny day
writing (like now) while Mike’s outside gardening, or one of us visits with a friend/family member on the phone (or Zoom!), or we read different books, we acknowledge the importance alone time plays into our relationship. It gives us the space we need to explore our own interests and stay in touch with our own selves. And it broadens our topics of conversation.


While having a routine has kept us sane through this pandemic, we also recognize the importance of adaptability and spontaneity. For example, now that the days are getting shorter (and colder!), we’re discovering that it’s getting harder to motivate ourselves to get outside in the early morning. But we also recognize how much better we feel when we move first thing. So, we’re switching up our schedule to include a shorter walk in the morning (about 20 minutes) and then our longer walk or run after work. We’ve also decided to add some more core training into our schedule, so we’ve implemented squats, sit-ups, and pushups on

our walk days. This minor adaptation keeps our daily routine feeling fresh and fun.

We also find so much joy in spontaneity. “Wait, you finished work early? I just wrapped up my day!
Mike surprised me with peonies
from our garden!
Impromptu date night! You get the wine; I’ll get the cards! Hooray!”

It’s fun to switch things up on a dime every now and then. Mike and I look for these special impromptu moments to do something out of the ordinary, like go for a drive and pick up our favorite Mexican food, discover a new movie we both haven’t watched (that’s a tough one), or surprise each other with a gift “just because.”

It doesn’t seem like much, but Mike and I recognize that we’ve managed through this pandemic because we openly communicate about what’s working and what’s not. We respect each other’s perspectives and support each other’s needs. We check in with each other to see where we’re at— Sera’s at 40% capacity; Mike, can you cover that extra 10%
Much needed apple and kiss after a grueling
hike on Cannon Mountain
Sera in IllumiNITE Multi-Wrap; Vigor Singlet
today?—and we adapt accordingly (Thanks, Brené Brown for the family gap plan!).

We actively work at keeping our romance fresh and exciting while also stable and comforting. Love may be on lockdown, but it doesn’t have to feel like punishment! 

I’d love to hear what you’re doing to keep sane through this pandemic! 

Please share in the comments below.

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