Stay Connected While Miles Apart

Stay+Connected+While+Miles+Apart

During this time of self-quarantine, remote working and physical distancing, staying connected is just as important as exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep. We are all trying to navigate through these tough times and work with what we have.  Sometimes the solution is right there and other times it is hiding and we may need a little nudge in the right direction.

In the ‘Leave a Comment’ section below, share what adjustments you have made to your physical, social, emotional and financial well-being. This is also a safe place to ask questions in areas you may need help.

  • I left my classroom at Maryvale High School on Friday, March 6th, turning off the lights, locking the door and looking forward to Spring Break, what with Spring Training, good weather, sleeping in to…..5:30……okay7:OO……WOW…….or so I thought. Our good Principal Shakira Simmons had given us a heads up to have our rooms in good repair before leaving and I had done so. But during the week the emails came along with the news on CNN, the local channels and the internet. I got concerned; “what about returning after break”? “I have much to cover”….as in A LOT. Then we’re told, through Dr. Gestson’s and Mary Lou Chavez’s videos and emails school was being suspended…..for now. “Okay” I thought, a couple of weeks and we’ll be back. That didn’t happen and I had to adjust to many hours when I’m normally teaching. I followed and still follow my normal weekday/workday routine. I get up, honest, at 5:00, have my one STRONG……’cuppa coffee……3 scoops of coffee, 3 scoops of sugar, 3 scoops of powder creamer…….and 1 packet of sweet n’ low…. ….to keep it healthy.    Seriously. I watch the news until 6:00, a 40 minute workout on my exercise bike, push ups and crunches, a light breakfast, wash up, check the internet and take a short walk in the morning air,  which I love. I read my magazines, call my 10 students and find out how they’re handling the crisis. I’m glad to say, so far, they’re good. I take nap in the afternoon and read more along with the news. I find keeping my life on a somewhat normal track keeps my stress down I am finding my mind’s creativity for prose and poems and such is doing well with more time to create. I MISS Sports, I miss going to the movies……I  miss the feeling of when I leave school and me and the kids had a quality day of learning, when we collaborate, they with me and with each other to converse, write, critique, draw, share….learn! I am keeping  the “Black Dog” as Churchill called his depression, on the other side of the door. Having our PLC’s on Wednesdays helps as have the TECH workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays.    I feel connected. I DO look forward to the morning bell at 8:00am our first day back. I will be glad to see the kids and know that me and the PUHSD staff will feel the happiness and sense of fulfillment being educators brings! My best to the PUHSD Family!
  • I made a commitment to myself to get healthy when our school closed. I bought a Fitbit Versa 2 and signed up for Noom. Both help keep me on track with my eating abs exercise. I made a decision that this is a must. I still have 17 to go to reach my goal.
  • I am fortunate to be in such a wonderful position, working with great staff who also share my passion for helping others. I thank that staff daily for showing up every day and for doing a great job! Hang in there, we will get through this together!
  • I got my Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology and frankly, one of the reasons I went this route because other teachers weren’t comfortable with the ‘new’ technology and they’d ask me for help. As a lifelong learner, I’m glad to offer my help. As for being ‘stuck’ in the house, it helps to have my sons with me, helping me with things around our house. My daughter who lives further south with her own family and I miss holding my grandbabies but I know I can’t be selfish and compromise their health, as well as mine. I do take walks around my house and walk my hounds at the nearby park. My dogs keep me going as well. Yoga is one thing I like a lot and I love swimming but the pools are closed until further notice. Also, when I was little and raised in a rural environment, my mom kept me busy with books on crocheting and knitting. I heard these have a way of calming you down but I look at it as making gifts for people. I admit I used to be a voracious reader and now the books on the bookshelf in my room are looking at me, wondering who’ll be picked and/or re-read? As for my spiritual guidance, I check into my church’s zoom meetings so that helps out as well. Technology is great if it works (and if you have it). Phone calls to those you talk to also help out and it helps to check in with your family to let them know that you’re okay. I hope everyone is safe and well. 😉
  • With needing to follow ‘Social Distancing’ guidelines, I’ve been spending a lot more time inside. Just like everyone else. I initially took it in good spirits, but in poor management. I was staying up later than usual, waking up at inconsistent times, and buying and eating snacks that I hadn’t bought in years. I was still riding my bike regularly for exercise, but it wasn’t enough to ward off the increasing weight gain.I excused myself from my normally consistent healthier lifestyle, and used the forced time at home as an excuse. So, for the past 3-4 weeks, I’ve fought back by getting back to a regular routine. It took me realizing that I’m good with routines, and to also acknowledge that I just needed to create one that better fit my current situation. Because i’m inside all day, I use lunch time walks to get outside. What started out as 1 mile, has now increased to 2.5 miles. And i’m able to do it in the time that we’re given for lunch. I stopped buying those snacks, so I have no need to wander to the kitchen, because there’s nothing there to snack on. Instead, I always make sure that I have a water bottle available, and take a drink of water when the urge to snack happens. I’ve adjusted my cycling schedule. I’ve created a workout routine that I can do in my back yard. As part of it, I’ve used 1-gallon jugs for weights, by putting water in some and sand in others. Finally, I am back to going to bed at my pre-school-closure time. This also allows me to wake at up earlier, while still getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night. Change is hard, but it’s also inevitable.
  • Now that I am working from home and taking care of three kids simultaneously, I find myself in a bit of a struggle. Then I think, “What would my mod do?” and inspiration kicks in to manage/organize our daily activities. When the stress of the day starts to kick in, I think to myself “if mom would keep going, so will I”. Despite the daily struggles, we are surviving and keeping a positive attitude through all these changes.
  • My gym closed as did all the gyms but, I was lucky, the trainers instruct thru zoom. It’s a kind of hiit circuit gym, so they modified some of the stations & we all work out from home. I get up 3 X a week early & start my day with a vigorous workout. On the weekends I try to take at least a 5 to 10 mile bike ride. I was trying to hike but, the trails got way too crowded. When I need a giggle, I facetime my grandchildren
  • I have enjoyed numerous walks in the neighborhood / was more aware and paid attention to surroundings… I started working out online with my favorite type of work out ( barre) enjoying the extra time given to transition from work to evening dinner…etc. More calls and talks with family members to stay connected and being able to play music while working is a plus!
  • During this time of quarantine, I find myself distant from my students and unable to create music with them on a daily basis. In order to fill the need of creating I find myself creating lessons where I interact with my own kids as we create music together. We will sit at the piano every day and sing and play music. We will improvise music, create lyrics, or sing Broadway show tunes. We will post these recodings to my flipgrid and challenge students to create their own music and share how music helps during this time. We do this not only for instruction but for mental and physical health.In order to stay connected to students, I make phone calls to students and contact them through teams. Asking how they are handling the time apart, check-in on their family or just to say hi. I will sometimes do this as I take one of my many walks. This is one of the biggest things I am doing to keep my mental health in check. Walking daily combined with meditation and listening to technology training (Thank you Aric Bilas), humorous (Thank you Conan O’Brien) or educational podcasts (To many to list) that keep my mind and body awake.
  • I have been training for months for a half-marathon. I used to alternate running on the gym treadmill and running on the canal. Now, I am using the canal by my home and other valley canals to continue my training. I am still going to run the half-marathon on my own on the original race day, but it will be here on a Phoenix canal instead of near the ocean in Ventura, CA as was planned! I’m crying! I need to start doing some Youtube yoga for runners, because I am in pain, and so I can quiet my mind. Being an extrovert, I also keep my mind right through a multitude of social interactions. I am using an app (HouseParty) that allows me to chat with up to seven other people while also playing games within the app with those people! I am staying connected with good friends and building better relationships with those who I was not that close to prior to the quarantine.
  • I have worked out a consistent 30 years in the gym lifting weights. I haven’t missed a week except for 2 hospital weeks, one in 2001 and one in 2015. So when Planet Fitness closed and then we couldn’t use the school gym, I was in a position that I had never been in before. NO CONTROL of being able to lift weights. It was a real helpless feeling. There wasn’t a place to go for the first time in my life and no idea when they would re-open. So I got on OFFER UP and Facebook Marketplace and started loading up the garage for a home gym. I have an adjustable bench, preacher curl, bars, weights and can do leg extensions and curls. So I missed about 6 days that seemed like a lifetime and got back at it. ALL free weights and limited on legs, but feel good again.Waiting on resistance band set to add a few exercises, and if it goes longer I will add more. I’m getting my sleep. Now I haven’t got a treadmill and the dog stops too much to call walks cardio. Also with less things to do, thinking about the next thing to cook has kept me a little ways from ripped abs. lol. But staying big and tan and mentally sane with my home gym.
  • I am missing me some Orange Theory Fitness right now myself! So I have been running the Bridle Trail on Central twice a week (either two or four miles), then coming home and supplementing that with three rounds of an OTF-like weight workout.The COVID-19 shutdown coincided with Lent, so I was already in an austerity frame of mind. My spiritual life is important to me. Coronavirus helped me to be acutely more aware of God’s work in the world, and my role in that plan. These human events bring out the best and worst in each of us. I’ve been trying to focus on the best part. Hunkering down and keeping a low profile is for the masses (raising my hand right now); but it takes special people among us to take a stand, like the ones who are risking their lives everyday. I admire them. In twenty years they won’t have to reflect and wonder, and they won’t have to explain anything to anybody.
  • With needing to follow ‘Social Distancing’ guidelines, I’ve been spending a lot more time inside. Just like everyone else. I initially took it in good spirits, but in poor management. I was staying up later than usual, waking up at inconsistent times, and buying and eating snacks that I hadn’t bought in years. I was still riding my bike regularly for exercise, but it wasn’t enough to ward off the increasing weight gain.I excused myself from my normally consistent healthier lifestyle, and used the forced time at home as an excuse. So, for the past 3-4 weeks, I’ve fought back by getting back to a regular routine. It took me realizing that I’m good with routines, and to also acknowledge that I just needed to create one that better fit my current situation. Because i’m inside all day, I use lunch time walks to get outside. What started out as 1 mile, has now increased to 2.5 miles. And i’m able to do it in the time that we’re given for lunch. I stopped buying those snacks, so I have no need to wander to the kitchen, because there’s nothing there to snack on. Instead, I always make sure that I have a water bottle available, and take a drink of water when the urge to snack happens. I’ve adjusted my cycling schedule. I’ve created a workout routine that I can do in my back yard. As part of it, I’ve used 1-gallon jugs for weights, by putting water in some and sand in others. Finally, I am back to going to bed at my pre-school-closure time. This also allows me to wake at up earlier, while still getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night. Change is hard, but it’s also inevitable.