When Everything’s Gray.

Don’t get me wrong. I love gray. Most of the walls in my house are some shade of gray. Most of my non-black wardrobe is gray. Don’t even get me STARTED on my love of charcoal.

I don’t love when everything in my brain feels gray.

It’s not pleasant, at all. But it’s also not…horrible? I want to call it a cottony emptiness, but that sounds kind of cozy, and it’s definitely not that.

The days are the same. Don’t go anywhere unnecessary, which for me means out to eat (we didn’t ever do much of that anyway), lunch with friends (something I was doing fairly regularly, and may be part of the depression), or, and this is the big one, to the gym.

Since it’s not my first go-around with depression, I know what works for me. Showering as soon as I get out of bed seems to help, as does blogging as quickly as possible. Or, and this is the big one, working out.

For the first five-ninerty days of quarantine, I struggled to find a routine. Without a job, I canceled my gym membership, which was a place I’m still not comfortable going at this point. I tried YouTube routines, halfheartedly. I wrote up a schedule and tried to follow it. But it wasn’t the same.

Until my friend Jen Miller, a personal trainer, got into Beachbody.

First, yes, Beachbody is considered MLM (multi-level marketing). And I’m an introverted, non-MLM peddler. But the program still helped me feel like I was still working out with people…without working out with people. And that got me back on track. Plus, their shakes are actually good, which is super rare (though I have to say, in addition to Shakeology, I have really enjoyed Ka’Chava and highly recommend it).

Plus, I’m not peddling it. I’m just saying it has worked for me. There’s an app that works on your phone, computer, or smart TV. There are a ton of different programs, from light yoga to hard-core HIIT, from 20 minutes to 60. There’s dancing. There’s stretching.

And not a damn one of them sounded good to me today. I got up, I made my bed, I showered…and then I laid flat back down on my back and spaced out for a good half hour. I thought about what a mistake it’s been to get back on Facebook and read so many comments accusing the unemployed of being lazy and “living off the government.” I thought about how many jobs I’ve applied for every day, and how the great part of living in the time we do is that I can see how many other people have applied for the same job (over 500 on one yesterday). I thought about how many people have it worse. It had the makings of a nice little shame spiral.

But I also knew I had to get up and do something, or risk losing another day to the grayness. So I switched on Beachbody, thinking to myself that nothing was going to work.

Until I saw a program called “The Work.” The title itself turned me right off. But the tagline of “Workouts – Explicit” turned me right back on.

Turns out The Work has plenty of cussing. It’s hard. But it’s not all false pep and cheerleading. It’s admitting that something’s really hard and it really, really sucks, but eventually you’re going to get through it, and in the meantime, may as well drop an F-bomb or a “damn” every now and again.

And if you’re not into that, there are clean versions, too. But I’m way into that so I haven’t watched those yet.

I pushed myself through the workout, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it…I didn’t keep up so well. But I made it. And by the end, I felt flushed and alive.

In these times, we’re all scared. And we all handle that fear in different ways. Maybe by diving into home-improvement projects. Maybe by trolling people online to cover up our own lack of confidence. And maybe, joyfully cussing along with people onscreen as you practice prolonged social distancing.

Thanks, Explicit The Works dude. Because of you, I’m going to power through one more day.

Song of the Day: Come Down, Anderson .Paak. When I did used to work out with people, Jen (mentioned above) was one of my instructors. She busted this song out in 2016, and I like to go back to it when I want to feel like the badass I’m absolutely not. It’s a nice quick punch in the arm, but not the kind that hurts.


I start every day vowing to become healthier and end every day by zeroing out my fridge.
That's the kind of self-sabotage that forms the core of my being.
You know what I'm good at, though? Spinning words into a magical skein that envelopes you in success. Let's talk about that first, and if snacks end up happening, so be it.

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  1. Sue Ellen Novak says:

    But, Hey ya did it!!!!!!!

  2. Yes, grey is exactly how I’d put it. I don’t hate it too, but it’s not ideal. What I’ve found, however, is I still get to make the decisions during these moments, so I pick the salad over the burger, to exercise over Netflix, to cry on the couch instead of on the floor in the fetal position…

    Love your voice, and wishing you well!

    1. Thank you so much, Stuart, both for making my day and for the way you worded the small choices. I really love that perspective!

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