I talk to myself a lot so why not make it a show? Today’s podcast is an intimate conversation with me to you about my quarantine experience. I drift across my personal buckets of navigating my marriage, kids, training, and eating during this time. I’m not a rocket scientist but I will do my best to articulate what I’m seeing and feeling, and my a few of my hopes for when we re enter the world together. Enjoy.
Listen to the episode here:
- Doing Great [00:03:30]
- Physical Fitness [00:06:04]
- The Family [00:07:04]
- On Relationships, Marriage and Partners [00:10:58]
- Cooking Food [00:17:16]
- Watching and Playing [00:18:45]
- Appreciation for What’s Important [00:24:57]
- Working and Creating a Podcast [00:28:36]
Gabby Reece – Exercise, Mental Health, Family, Balance during Covid Quarantine
This episode is just with me and it’s my personal insights about my experience with being at home and discussing the buckets that we’re dealing with whether it’s our health, physical practice, eating, family time, navigating our partners in close quarters, and sex. It’s an overview. I thought I would spend a short period of time sharing with you and I hope you enjoy.
It’s strange to do a podcast by myself but, apparently, it’s quite popular. I thought I’d go down the list about how I’m managing staying at home, what’s going on, and if I’ve seen or heard anything that excited me. For starters, I have had realistic expectations about what I can get done. I’ve been a pretty intense person, working out, performing, and all of that. There have been plenty of days that I’m tired. It’s the energy. People are suffering. We’re all connected.
I was listening to Tim Ferriss and he had Esther Perel on. What she said was important. When you are in a situation where you’re not living paycheck to paycheck and no one that you’re close to is sick or got sick but is better, when people ask you how you’re doing, you say, “I’m doing great.” She said that the truth of the matter is probably no one is doing great because this is happening and it’s happening to a lot of people that are around us.
Maybe that’s two-fold. Maybe I’m well aware of how fortunate I am. It’s hard to say if there are things that are difficult about this. I would like to start by saying I recognize how fortunate I am. I have space. It doesn’t mean I’m still not tired. I will get up and be like, “How hard can I train today?” Quite frankly, there are plenty of days where I don’t have a lot of it. That is the starting point for me, which is to remind all of you that if you’ve got it, do it if you’re fired up.
If you don’t, maybe you could do some breathing or stretching or nothing. Say, “I blew it. I sat in a chair all day because I was on Zoom on calls, meetings, and dealing with children or not. I don’t want to stretch. I sat in a chair and then I’m going to sit on a couch.” It’s important if we can maintain. How do we take the best care of ourselves that we can to the best of our ability without guilt and a complete waste of time and not putting more stress around this and around what we’re doing or not doing?
I’ll start with my physical practice. It’s not been the best I’ve ever seen, I’ll tell you that. I’m okay with that. However, when you hear about people dying because they’re not healthy, at the end of the day, we’ve got to make this a priority. We have to figure out the way to be in the best health that we can because it’s important. We’re vulnerable if we’re not. We’re vulnerable anyway.
That’s my thing. I’ve been hawking self-care for over 25 years. It’s not about running faster, hitting a ball, scoring more points, or winning trophies, it’s for times like this. That feels important to me. It feels important to say that if you can be 80 and survive it but how do you get in the best shape for wherever you’re at and whatever time you have and whatever you can manage?
I can move over to family now. I have two daughters and a surrogate son, who is a big wave surfer from Northern California who quarantined with us so he can train with Laird. I’m beginning to learn that he’s like having an angel. My husband trapped in the house with three women might look a little different. The fact that he has this other male energy is saving him, which then probably is saving me.
[bctt tweet=”Everybody should do what works for them.”]
The family is doing pretty well. Laird and I are doing our best to stay calm, whatever that means, which entails not watching too much news. It doesn’t mean not being informed but it’s hard to be informed when they don’t know. It’s like, “Take an antibody test.” Will that tell me if I have antibodies from COVID or the flu? There are a lot of false positives. That’s the part for me that I decided that I’m going to hang back, listen, learn, and be slow to react in the way of like, “Today’s news said this. Tomorrow’s news says this. I’m going as slow as I can.” Trying to respond to things that seem or sound real to me.
What I’ve come up with is trying to get to sleep and trying to continue to take care of myself. That would mean even on the days I’m not performing well, can I try to eat well and things like that? If I go to the store, my number one objective is to protect other people. That’s it. I don’t know what else to do beyond that. I know that’s hard because it feels like someone should be telling us or we should know how to be moving towards a quicker solution. I have accepted the fact that that’s probably not going to happen right now.
With my kids, the thing I’m struggling with is my youngest daughter is homeschooled on the computer and she’s on three devices at one time. They’re talking to their friends on the phone and they’re playing video games with three other people. If you ask me if I’m failing there miserably or do I feel like I’m failing there, 100%.
It’s a constant thing like, “Let’s get her outside. She can’t see her friends. Let’s try to let her socialize on this device.” I’m well aware that it’s a big fail. I also know it’s it is temporary but it’s something that when I go to bed at night, I think about it and I go, “That’s not going the way I want it to go.” Also, trying to have that concession for what’s happening right now.
My middle daughter overall is doing well. She’s not on her screens quite as much. Those things are brutal. I wonder what our parents struggled with. 50% or 60% of my battle is electronics. I’m like, “What were my parents struggling with?” It was sex, stealing cars, and things like that. Part of me almost wishes that was more of the battle than the addiction to the screen and the slot machine that is the telephone and social media.
There are a lot of parents out there that have systems in place and I admire them, mine are terrible. I bomb. I don’t reinforce them enough. If it was up to Laird, he’d take everything out in the driveway and drive his truck over everything but I don’t know if that’s the solution. It would be fun but I don’t know if it’s the solution.
Let’s move over to relationships, marriage, and partners. We’re doing pretty good. If you asked me what am I doing that I’ve probably been doing for over 24 years is giving each other room. When I say that, I even mean in that way of the room to be. If they say something, I’m not here to analyze it. I’m not trying to move in and make things personal or get my feelings hurt. I’m giving a lot of room right now. When I can, I’m running away. It’s true.
I love my husband so much. He is such a special person and he is intense all the time. I’m intense, too. I’m seeing after 4 or 5 weeks this good idea about going to my office for a little bit. I hear him looking for me and roaming around. What’s funny is sometimes it’s he wants contact. I’m giving him emotional room. I’ve said this a lot of times. He’s always up before me in the morning. When I come downstairs and I see him for the first time in the morning, let me tell you, I am smiling because I want to appreciate him. I want him to feel appreciated and loved. If nothing else, it sets us off in the right direction.
People can say, “What if I don’t feel it or not?” That’s fine. Everybody should do what works for them. I’m saying that I have found it to be so effective to start us on the track in the right way with that simple thing of smiling, “Good morning,” and a kiss before anything else. When Laird hands me my coffee that he does every morning, I say thank you. It’s easy to take the people closest to us and the people who do things for us every day for granted. We’ve all felt this way. I’m trying to be diligent about not making people feel like I take them for granted because I live with them or I’m related to them, including my children.
The other tricky thing is the sex. You’re together so much so should you be having sex all the time? That’s probably not realistic. You start to realize that you have to make time for that and room. It’s a weird thing how it all bleeds together. You’re finally in the same space and now you have time but now you’re working and you’ve got the kids.
I would say that we’re trying as we always have as part of our marriage to keep that healthy. What I realize is that I don’t know that I always feel like it but I’m always happy after we’ve gotten to spend time together in that way, in that intimate couple way. It is different because you’re together a lot so you’re shifting gears, sexy time. That’s a dance, for sure. Most of you are dealing with that.
The other thing is to keep focusing on what’s great about them. It’s helpful. Remind yourself each day what you value and appreciate about being able to share life with this person focusing on that instead of all the idiosyncrasies and things that we all have. I know I’m not a gem myself, even though I like to think I am. That’s how Laird and I are navigating.
We’ve had one blowout, which is pretty good. It wasn’t big. It’s funny how one person will be thinking one thing and the other person will be thinking another and it’s no one’s intention. I asked Laird to shoot something and I said that I’d be ready in 30 minutes but I was ready in 90 but I didn’t communicate. He felt like he was waiting. I’m thinking to myself, “Where are you going to go?” It’s the principle. I thought, “Why wouldn’t you come into my office and ask me?” It’s all that.
We did have one thing that we had to work through. It’s easy because you think nobody’s going anywhere. He would have taken on some projects and been doing that. It’s that resentment of, “I’m waiting on you and you’re not communicating with me or you’re not doing what you said you’re going to do.” That’s a reminder to me about being clear with my communication.
Every house is different. He will do anything for me and the girls. He’ll bust his butt and do anything for us. If we make him meals and there’s enough intimacy, it’s pretty simple. I hate that I oversimplify it sometimes but I keep seeing that over and over. In the morning, we sit together and have coffee and have 30 minutes where we talk about thoughts, feelings, or something we’ve read or learned, or share justice with people.
We’re in this business of the family together because that’s very easy to do. We’re all running corporations within our worlds beyond our work, the transactional dynamic. I try to avoid that as much as I can. In fact, we do work together in our family. At times, it does run like a business. That is the relationship.
With Food, we’re cooking a lot like everybody. Thank God for Reece, my daughter. She likes cooking, thank God. I’m trying to make the meals as I always do, it tastes good. I’m also trying to make it so that it doesn’t get to be such a drag. It’s always blending, make it taste good and don’t make it too hard to make, too much preparation, and too much cleanup. Remember that magic of us all being together and gathering. If I have to go online and find new recipes, I will. Laird ordered meat online, high-quality elk, and things like that. We put that in the freezer. We’re trying to do more of that. We have the things here and just try to get fresh vegetables and such every few days. That seems to be working well.
We’re watching movies and playing some games. There are more games earlier in the quarantine if I can be honest Laird and I usually try to go to bed by 8:30. It seems like our girls stay up later than we do. I don’t know that I can blame them. The youngest is on her spring break so she looks at us like, “Are you guys crazy?” The best thing you could do is go to sleep and try to get a good night’s sleep so that your system is staying strong.
I will tell you a funny story. Everybody’s watching The Tiger King. I watched it first in the house, which probably isn’t a good sign. Laird didn’t even see it. He heard it for 30 seconds or a minute. He said to me, “You’re not watching that, are you?” I was like, “Yeah. I’m feeling good about my life right now.” For whatever reason, he is genuinely hardwired in a way. He doesn’t want to see people behaving badly or crazy or destructive. You maybe would think the opposite because it’s like somebody who likes to do dangerous things but that’s different.
He’s so appalled at all of us for not only watching it and then talking about it. It’s like, “Can you believe it? What about that?” That was interesting for me because his whole thing is like, “What are we doing?” Everything we eat, who we’re around, even though we’re not around anyone right now, and the things we watch. That’s fun and silly entertainment and it’s pop culture. I know when people talk about it.
It drives it home sometimes about where I put my gaze and put my energy. Is that feeding me in a positive way or not? I know life can’t be all about that and it’s good to be playful and fun. There’s a weird reminder about him not being like that at all but it’s good. I have a solid reference in that way. I always realize it but then I’m like, “He’s right.”
We’ve been watching some movies. I have a tendency to watch documentaries and comedies. Watching Dave Chappelle get the Mark Twain, I love him. I love that he gets acknowledged. There was a documentary on Hulu, two of them, that I liked. It’s both about women. One was about Molly Ivins called Raise Hell. She was a columnist and a reporter from Texas. I was inspired by her. If you have Hulu, that’s a good one.
Also, about a Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. Her creativity is awe-inspiring. You realize the price people pay for their art, for their gifts. Writers, musicians, painters, sculptures, or whoever, some of them pay with their whole life to be that creative. That’s what they’re doing here. Her story says this. She was from Japan after World War II. She came to New York.
If you can imagine a female Japanese artist and the different types and styles of art that she can produce with the level. It inspires you to see people out there doing stuff. They’re like many miracles. The story about Molly Ivins, she was standing up for stuff and some good ones. I haven’t seen any movies that I was like, “Wow.” Those two documentaries jumped out at me, for sure. The podcast with Eric Weinstein on Joe Rogan was good. They’re all good. You know what I’m saying. I’m sharing one. Tim Ferriss had some interesting ones. I mentioned Esther Perel and Jack Kornfield. If you want to feel relaxed, those are soothing, for sure.
[bctt tweet=”Everyone is going through something. Could I be a person that they come across on the day that’s positive?”]
We’ve talked about fitness. We’ve talked about kids. We’ve talked about food. Let’s come back to food for a second. It would be important to remember to stay extra hydrated. We are moving into warmer temperatures. If you live in a dry place right now, if I can encourage you, if you can order it online, to get a cool-mist humidifier if you can afford it. Use it. Moisture, especially if you’re in a dry place, is important. It’s important always and it’s even more important. It’s good for your health. You don’t want it to get above 60%. Between 35% and 60% is supposedly a magic number. It’s great.
We’ve talked about marriage. We’ve talked a little bit about sex. This is an introspective and contemplative time for people and I know it’s hard. My hope for myself is that, as I’m looking at this, I can learn and be reminded about what’s genuinely important. We try hard in our house to stay focused on what’s important. I blow it all the time. I get caught up in nonsensical things all the time. I want to come out of this a better person, a person who only responds to things that are worth responding to, and reacts to things like, “What do I care if people who want to drive slow are driving the left-hand lane?”
My kids can tell you this. If you drove with me, I take such personal offense at people who drive slow in the left-hand lane. I’m like, “You’re inconsiderate. You’re not playing by the rules that we’ve all agreed upon, which is if you’d like to go slower, go in the right-hand lane. If you’d like to go faster, go on the left or use it for passing and keep the flow.” I started thinking about even something silly like, “When I come out of this, am I going to waste energy even on that?” I’ll probably get caught a few times.
My hope is my appreciation for what is important, my health, my loved ones, my friends, expressing myself, and working hard. It’s to be more disciplined. I don’t mean discipline and training more, don’t eat carbohydrates. I mean more disciplined with my mind and my spirit to react better or best, to be clear with what I want to invest my time and energy in, and to contribute more. Also, to come out of this and to be kinder to the people around me, the strangers around me too.
I think about this when I go to the market and you can only see people’s eyes. Everyone is going through something. Could I be a person that they come across in the day that’s positive, “Hi. Good afternoon. How are you today?” Have you ever done this at checkout? I will go to my checkout and I’ll say to the checkout, before quarantine, “How are you doing today?” I’m not kidding, they say, “What?” We’re not talking to each other as much.
The other ironic thing I find about this quarantine is we’re all on our phones. We can be sitting at the table with our friends or our family. You see it at restaurants. Laird calls it facing the block. Everyone’s got their face in the block. Maybe you live across the street from a park but you never go there and you don’t ever use it. This quarantine is like, “Is that what you want to do?” You want to stay isolated. You want to be four feet from people that you enjoy and be on your phone. By the way, I’m as guilty as anybody.
If that park is there, that mountain, that lake, or that beach, maybe take your shoes off and go walk around. The difference between want to and can’t is amazing when we tell people, “You can’t. You can’t go see your friends and you can’t go outside.” All of a sudden, everything gets reframed. They’re like, “I want to. I want to go see my friends. I want to connect.” These are the things I want to do. I’m not trying to learn another language or fix every single thing in my house. I’m asking where to do that but that’s another story.
I am taking advantage of this time with my daughters. If they’re willing to talk to me on occasion and share their feelings, I’m trying to listen and make room for that. That’s it for now. It’s not rocket science. Stay aware whether you’re personally going through it or not and it doesn’t have to be made about you. We are still connected to all of the people. When we’re feeling things and the feelings are confusing or we feel tired, feel sad, or feel something that we can’t put our finger on, and maybe we don’t have the right to feel in our analytical mind, it’s okay. There’s a lot going on. There are a lot of people going through a lot of things.
I’ve done a lot of interviews and one thing that keeps coming up is the word empathy and that’s important right now. When we go to the outside world, it’s like, “Could I go there armed with more empathy, empathy for other people but also even remind to take care of myself and stay kind to myself?” That’s important. I do know or I’m learning that the more I can be kind to myself and love myself is probably going to increase my capacity and ability to love others. That’s not always easy.
One thing that’s weird is we have to work. We get to work. We’re fortunate. We work with three companies pretty much, Laird Superfood, XPT, our fitness business, and we do have a relationship with Land Rover. There’s been something interesting where I get stuck in this middle zone. I’m obliged to post and then people are mad because they’re like, “You’re insensitive.” That’s been interesting. I’m not crying about it. It’s always an interesting thing when parts of your job are weird and you’re supposed to post things, shoot things, and do all the stuff being sensitive enough or delegate to also remember where people are at right now. That’s been interesting on the work front.
I don’t know about you guys but I called a lot more people than I normally do when I’m not at home. I changed it from quarantine to staying at home. Laird has changed it from quarantine to confinement. I don’t know what that says about that. My hope for all of you is that you are finding a way to find moments of peace while you’re at home. If you are alone in quarantine, you have people that you’re connected to. It is not about physical. It’s not about, “I’m physically alone.” You’re not if you’re connected to people. You’re utilizing those relationships through your emotional and mental health and benefit.
I doubt I will do another one of these by myself because I already stress out enough doing a podcast by myself. At least for me, I hear all these other podcasts and I’m like, “These people are brilliant. I want to listen to them.” I was uninterested in doing one by myself but I do like talking to people and I am curious.
The idea of sitting here rambling about what I’m doing, I don’t know if I’ll do another one. Unless we’re here for a couple of months, then I might. If come up with some great solution to anything, I’ll share it. In the meantime, keep doing the best you can. Let’s learn whatever things we can learn from this and drag it even if it’s 10% of it. I don’t want to call it normal. Let’s bring that change when we resume living in a way that is closer to how we used to live, that is my hope.
Thanks so much for reading. If you’d like, rate, subscribe, and leave us a review. All of my music was graciously done by Frank Zummo and Tom Thacker. If you want to see some of the behind-the-scenes action, follow me, @GabbyReece. Remember, don’t miss new episodes every Monday.
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