How I’m Dealing with the Current Emotional Ups and Downs (in Training, Work + Daily Life)

by | Apr 9, 2020 | Mindset, Training

It’s been a roller coaster of a month for everyone—for Peter and I, a few weeks ago, we were trying to make our way home from Spain, then we spent two weeks in quarantine, and then .. well, barring the fact that I can grab groceries and run outside (albeit on the shoulder of the  crappy highway near our place to avoid people), we’re basically still in that mode. I recognize that we’re lucky both of us are still working, and in fact, I feel like I’m busier right now than I’ve been in quite a while, both with regular work and some of our own projects. Privilege aside, though, I think it’s safe to say that most people, regardless of situation, are dealing with a pretty crazy mix of emotional highs and lows lately.

emotional ups and downs covid19

I swing from feeling on top of all of my work and training to overwhelmed and wanting to take a nap at the drop of a hat. I find myself slogging through a run and feeling like total crap one minute, then suddenly feeling like I’m on top of the world and crushing an interval. I go from anxiety-driven and on the verge of  a breakdown to baking cookies and talking about some website stuff. I know there are a billion articles out there right now on feeling your feelings and how it’s OK to not be productive right now, and simultaneously, there are plenty about how to be productive. Here, I want to talk about the middle ground, and what I’m doing to cope with these highs and lows in work/training/my mood in general.

Busting out The Good Playlist

You know the one I mean—the playlist that you reserve for your A races to get you fired up in the morning. On my sloggy-feeling runs, I’m not worrying about if I’ll get bored of T Swift, I’m just turning that playlist on and the volume up.

Not Strava-ing

I don’t really want to think overly hard about my pace or anything like that right now. I’m still training hard, but taking away a lot of the metrics.


I know, I know, so corny. But I’ve been teaching yoga for cyclists (you can see all the videos here) twice a week and while it’s intimidating to talk at a bunch of people via Zoom, it has been helping me feel connected, and come on, if you haven’t realized that yoga helps with stress, what rock have you been living under?

Scheduling Calls Throughout the Day

This one is a little questionable, I’m sure, but for me, I’ve found that I can be the most productive for the entire day if I have calls spread throughout, so I can’t ever really decide that at 1PM, I’m just plain done. Today, for instance, my first call was at 8:30 (coffee with a work friend) and my last will be 5:30 (work call from the West Coast). I had two in between. This means that until the calls are done, I’m still ‘in it’ and can’t decide to just shut down. I find it’s easier to stay focused when I need to be accountable.

But Also, No Call Days

The flip side is that I can only handle so much extroversion in my life, so I’m also trying to keep 2 of my workdays as call-free as possible. These days are more focused on deep work, and thanks to the busy call days, I’m usually so relieved at having the empty calendar that I’m more than happy to dive into my writing and training.

Reminding Myself Everyone is Stressed

Peter and I don’t fight a lot normally, but I know we’re both a lot edgier lately. So I’m trying to remember that, give him space too, and also make sure I’m carving out time for him. Our normal date nights or walks into town are off the table, but we can still sit on the back deck and pretend it’s a cafe in Spain. (It is nothing like a cafe in Spain, sadly.)

Organizing the $hit Out of My Stuff

So satisfying. (Need some gear closet reorganization tips? I got you.) I admit, right now with potential belt-tightening budget concerns, it’s frustrating to not want to spend money on getting cool, fun organizers and tools delivered. But making do with what we do have is actually pretty rad—I’m realizing little dumb things, like using mugs and glasses that I like for organizers in the bathroom and in my desk drawers is a good way of culling the sheer volume of them that we had in the kitchen. I’m also making boxes of gear and clothing that will likely get sold/donated, but storing them in the closet for the time being, so that I see if I miss them / need them after wearing out something else. If I don’t touch them by August, I’ll donate them.

Re-reading the Harry Potter series

For the second time in a month. Honestly, I can’t handle any reality-styled fiction right now, or anything heavy. It’s the comfort food of the book world. (I’m also re-reading The Urban Monk, an all-time favorite, before I go to bed every night and it is solid gold right now._

Planning How To Be Outside’s Virtual Summit

On April 18, I was supposed to hold my How to Be Outside Speaker Series, which is obviously postponed (to October 9!). Instead, now I’m focusing on a four-speaker free virtual summit on April 18. And talking to my speakers has been really getting me SO pumped up. Honestly, the discussions of micro and macro-level behavior change are going to be off the charts cool and inspiring, so please tune in!

OK, that’s my thoughts on how I’m getting by emotionally right now. The honest truth is in addition to that, I’m letting myself take a few minutes to just wallow every so often. How are you guys doing? 

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