Navigating through months of uncertainty during 2020 has shown me just how resilient and creative I can be.
Unexpected School Closings
When things started to change across the country I was working part-time as a Para Professional in an elementary school. The mood was definitely strained and uncomfortable for children and staff alike. We were required to sanitize all surfaces extra carefully in between daily activities and instructed to stop touching our faces. Little did we know that March 13, 2020 would be the last Friday we'd all be together for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. The children and the majority of staff were off from March through the summer due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This was sad news for all involved. A decision was made to resume in person classes in the fall after much debate whether to teach in person or virtually. I decided not to go back due to underlying health concerns. It was a difficult decision, but with Covid cases increasing I felt it was for the best.
I was also working as an Art Teacher in an after school art program at two schools which had to stop in March as well. I've been an art teacher for this program for four years. Unfortunately when the schools reopened in the fall the after school art program did not start up again. My boss chose to take an early retirement as it wasn't clear when classes would continue and the personal expense to keep it going was too steep. I spent a few hours packing up all my supplies I'd accumulated over the years that I needed to return to her. It was difficult realizing this particular chapter in my life was ending.
Creating Art for Fun
I was missing my art students and the opportunity to draw so I decided to do an educational painting project. During a previous trip to Chicago I'd purchased a book at the Art Institute of Chicago. It had line drawings of famous artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Gaugin and more throughout it to be colored. I painted a variety of them using acrylic paint trying to make each work look as close to the master artists. This was a lot of fun and I learned some new painting techniques.
Virtual Health and Wellness
The studio location where I worked as a health and wellness coach closed when the state of Illinois shut down. I'd been leading three workshops a week at that time. Like many businesses the in person model needed to change so we quickly transitioned to Zoom workshops. Over all it worked well, but not all members found the technology easy to navigate so they didn't continue attending the workshops. After months of virtual workshops some studios did open with restrictions, but many virtual workshops were dropped including mine due to low attendance numbers and the studio location was closed for good. At this point in time I am able to sub for other coaches leading virtual workshops. I keep current reading all the work materials and taking trainings as they come up. Looking ahead to better days when we can get together again.
Living in the Moment
Practicing Yoga has been a passion of mine for at least six years now. I loved it so much I decided to become a certified instructor. After successfully completing my certification I found a job that was a perfect fit for me. I taught a variety of classes including Gentle, Restorative and even Aqua Yoga. I'd only worked as an instructor five months when the gym I worked at had to close due to shut down orders. So here was another job loss to process. I was so used to going to the gym to work out and to teach classes I had to create a new routine at home.
I decided to keep doing a daily yoga practice and so glad I did. I consistently follow Yoga with Adriene on ytube, but their are many instructors to choose from especially now. She is fun, quirky and her dog Benji is neat to see in her videos while she teaches. Doing yoga everyday helps me deal with the stress that can build up during this unprecedented time. I will return to teaching yoga in a studio again when things open up and I feel safe to do so. In the mean time I plan to continue to do yoga whenever I want to in my own home.
Walking, Spin Biking, and Yoga Routine
Since March I've been walking everyday for at least an hour sometimes two depending on the weather and my energy. I started taking photographs of flowers and other interesting things I discovered along the way and ended up creating a Shutterfly photo book I titled Take a walk with me. I've given copies to friends and family as surprise gifts and they've been well received. I look forward to these walks as I always manage to see something new. Along with taking photographs I listen to a variety of podcasts and music while walking. Whenever I do that I end up walking much further.
One of my favorite things to do at the gym was to ride a spin bike either in a class or on my own. I new it was going to be awhile before returning to the gym and decided to commit to riding a spin bike if I bought one. I ended buying a Schwinn IC4. Well it turned out to be a great purchase as I ride it daily. My current daily routine is to take a walk, spin and do a yoga class after to stretch and relax. Sometimes I take second walk in the afternoon.
Living in the Moment
This year has been difficult to navigate through a Pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, and a divisive Presidential Election. With my part-time job losses and the forced lock downs I've found that having positive daily routines has definitely helped me through it all. I realize that some things are in my control and many things aren't and living in the moment is a healthier option for me. I also know that I am fortunate to be able to stay home and very grateful for all I have.
Silence is Golden
Now that I'm home most of the time due to the pandemic I started to notice all sorts of outside noise. Some days three lawn mowers could be going at once along with weed trimmers and leaf blowers. Decks were being added, roofs replaced or multiple trees removed. Finding any peace and quiet during the day was virtually impossible with all the loud motors, pounding and sawing going until my husband told me about the TaoTronics noise cancelling wireless headphones he was using while working at home. I tried them out and ordered a pair right away. I primarily wear them while I read, write, or draw when the outside noise is to much. I also use them to listen to music or podcasts all while blocking out any loud noises. With winter on the way they'll come in handy when the snow plows drive by and neighborhood snow blowers fire up.
© 2020 Laura Ross