A lot of us are holed up in our homes right now -- some by choice, and some because they're literally afraid to go outside. But some people can't. Some people have to continue to work because their jobs won't let them be home right now. Then there are the first responders -- like my brother -- who just have their hands full beyond all reasoning.
In this crazy time, I want to send some information, positivity, and light.
First things first! Basic hygiene isn't that difficult, but I know a lot of people who personally don't wash their hands. I've noticed guys who would close the door to the bathroom (not all of them do this), pee loudly and without shame (good on ya!), and then walk right out of the bathroom. I never heard the water run, and they never even thought twice about it until I called them out (it goes a lot like this: "You men pee with your wieners in your hand...IN YOUR HAND...and then you touch a doorknob thinking Oh, but it's MY wiener. Then Billy Joe thinks the same thing about his wiener and touches the same doorknob. So does Samuel McGee. So does Bobby. Now you have all sorts of wiener germs on your hands. Women in public restrooms I have been in have walked out without taking the time to use an automatic sink. It literally take twenty seconds to wash your hands -- even just rinse them. Please do it.
I am hypersensitive to this because I am a hand-washing fiend! A much less cool term for this is "germaphobe." You want to shake my hand? Nah, can we compromise with a fist bump? Don't take it personally when I douse myself in hand sanitizer even after giving a fist bump. People run up to me and hug me all the time, feel the need to touch me, and I have even been grabbed from behind (and she almost lost an eye for it) -- and, believe me, I absolutely love my meet and greets and getting to meet my fans -- and then I immediately have to sanitize because all I can think about is...germs. Maybe I watch too many sci-fi movies, but my clean habits are benefitting me right about now.
With that said, I hope you all are doing what you can and playing your part. A lot of business are local and hurting right now. It's inevitable that they're not going to get the same treatment as monster companies like Walmart, CostCo, and the airlines that charge you one of your kidneys for a bag that's one pound over the limit. If you go out to eat, please consider swinging by a local venue. A lot of the restaurants are offering curb-side service to help with social distancing, and at least you can know that the money you're spending is indeed going to a local business.
In Alabama, some places I know with curbside:
- Black Market Bar in Birmingham
- Another Broken Egg Cafe
- Black Sheep Kitchen
- Cahaba Brewing Company (GREAT BEER)
- Iron City Pizza Company
There are many more, so feel free to Google them or call.
If you can stay home -- and you definitely should -- remember to take care of yourself. Eat healthy. Take this time to research how to eat healthier. Exercise. Even if you're just starting out with an attempt at five push-ups a day...do it. Focus on your mental health just as much as you do on your outward appearance and fitness level. If you're advanced or maintaining or even working on leaning out and are a bit more experienced with exercise or just ready to dive on in, here are some fun apps I personally use right from the comfort of my own room:
- FitOn: It's completely free. The classes are super interactive with one instructor who obviously knows what he/she is doing, and they will guide you through the entire workout. Most workouts are under 30 minutes, and you have the option to buy a subscription that includes meal planning and more. I've used this app a handful of times and really enjoy the classes. There's everything from yoga to strength training. It all depends on your goals!
- Shock for Women: an influencer on Instagram actually reached out to me to try this one out. The classes I've experience don't have music unless you connect Apple Music to the account (a lot of people use Spotify, like me, so you're pretty much SOL if you want music). This is a great app for people who already know fitness and move at a pretty fast pace as it is (Crossfitters, people who train for Tough Mudders and Spartans, etc). The workouts so far are not necessarily "explosive," but I recommend this more for people who are already exercising and don't mind knocking their joints around a little bit (still far less than Crossfit). Some of the movements may not be suitable for older adults and may be jarring to the joints or need to be modified. But this is a GREAT app for those of you in the exercise world who want to focus on a spot or maintain and just don't have time to drive and go to class anymore (or if you're quarantined...which you should be...).
- FightCamp: This one is probably my favorite out of these. FightCamp is all about boxing and has even incorporated kickboxing into the app in the last year. The content is high-quality with today's music, and it's easy to screen share to your television and workout along with. The only catch (I feel that it's entirely worth it) is that you have to buy the equipment. I mean, not everybody has a massive punching bag laying around the garage. The gloves and bag are attractive and high-quality, and they're constantly being updated. There is a monthly subscription fee, but if you're not driving out and about and burning gas to go back and forth to the gym (*ahem* quarantine *ahem*) you're probably going to end up saving money in the long run. I believe it's about $39/month, and you have access to unlimited content. Plus, the owner is actually a boxer and a pretty cool guy, so you're getting a boxing app from a guy who literally has done it all his life. It's legit!
- Peloton: I've only been able to use Peloton a handful of times at a friend's house, but I highly recommend them. The classes are super fun and involved, and spin is a great way to trick yourself into doing cardio if you don't love it like I do! The instructors are great and the music is modern, and there's always new content coming out. I've heard the bike, shoes, and subscription are fairly expensive though -- which is why I personally don't have one yet -- but if it's something you're into and the price isn't really and issue to you, it's low-impact on the knees and great cardio.
- Insight Timer: Your mental health is just as important (if not actually more important) than your physical health. Stress and anxiety are high everywhere in the world right now, and that can cause a tidal wave of issues within your body -- from triggering autoimmune issues like alopecia and alopecia areata (which I have, so I'm saying this to emphasize just how much stress can affect a physical body), to creating long-term underlying issues that can be detrimental to your health in the long run. In this time of uncertainty and cabin fever, I highly recommend a meditation app called Insight Timer. It is free. There are guided meditations for literally everything you can think of -- money, stress, dealing with a transitional time, relationships -- as well as a timer you can set with no guide. This app also has bedtime stories and, as dorky as it may sound, this is my favorite feature about the app. I can't tell you how many times I have listened to "The Wind in the Willows" with Mr. Frog and Mr. Toad before I shut my eyes and passed out. I've had this app for years now and, though I've tried a few others, never found one I liked more than this one.
As you can imagine, this is also an incredibly hard time for independent musicians and singer/songwriters. For me, personally, it has been a huge blow. I've had to postpone so many performances and even cancel shows indefinitely because I simply don't know when we'll all be able to go out to large gatherings again, and I don't want to rush that. Better off over prepared and being dramatic about it than to risk getting sick...or worse...getting someone else sick. I could never forgive myself. So, it has been a rough time for all of us. BUT, again, there is an option. A lot of performers are hosting online streams of performances and allowing people to "tip" and "pay" via PayPal and Venmo. Please consider supporting as many of these artists as you can.
I will now take a moment to shamelessly post my upcoming online shows on my blog post. I utilize a great streaming platform called StageIt. I have used them for years and never had an issue. Customer service is always 100% and the shows are super fun and allow for great promotion. I highly recommend utilizing this platform if you are an artist!
Thanks for taking the time to read this far! I know right now is scary for a lot of folks -- myself included. The world has been through many hard times, though, and we will survive. Right now is the time to focus inward, on our spiritual wellness, our mental health, our physical health, and on our immediate surroundings. Focus on the outdoors, getting enough sunshine every day, and loving your family and maybe reaching out via phone to that friend or family member you may have not spoken to in a while. This is a time of healing and reparation and we will get through it. You just have to focus on that silver lining and...wash your hands.
Wishing you all love and health. :)