So … what a week. Who knew that this whole time that we have always been surprisingly close to our currency going to the toilet-paper standard? I have a friend that bought some 12-packs of Charmin Ultra at Costco a few weeks ago, and she automatically made the next Forbes’ 30 Under 30. If you have a fat stack of 2-ply, you can buy the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Life has changed, but life moves on. In the last couple of weeks, I have seen athletes go through some dark moments that go beyond health or day-to-day decisions. And, often, they have felt alone in their struggles, not comfortable talking about it during the pandemic.
But, no matter what, you are not alone. We are in this together.
If you are worried about your livelihood, there are tons of people right there with you. It’s a shared feeling we can all embrace as a community and talk about openly, lifting each other up as much as we can along the way.
And that is the message of this article. Even though health is the most important thing, it’s normal if you have personal worries that go beyond that, and it’s normal if you feel alone in your personal struggle. In particular, this historical moment comes with financial uncertainty for so many people, layered on top of pre-existing problems of inequality and insecurity. If you are worried about your livelihood, there are tons of people right there with you. It’s a shared feeling we can all embrace as a community and talk about openly, lifting each other up as much as we can along the way.
I get that I am not an economic expert. My expertise lies in writing articles like “4 Ways To Run Through Bunions” and “You Are Awesome Even If You Smell Like Burned Garlic.” But, through coaching, I have a window into some behind-the-scenes thoughts of athletes. And, right now, there is a lot of fear, sometimes stirred together with shame.
People are talking about big fears when it comes to their jobs, their small businesses, their bill payments, their passions … and then sometimes apologizing for focusing on themselves. I have seen existential dread for running coaches, adventure guides, salon owners, writers, race directors, waiters, pro athletes, chiropractors, media members and plenty of other jobs. The financial ripple effects are an annoyance for some—ugh, shared Google Calendars and Zoom conference calls! Slack is crazy right now! My 401K is more like a 50K if you know what I mean! For others, it’s waves battering against their dreams, threatening to have it all come crashing down.
CANCEL EVERYTHING, we hear shouted on social media. Yes, that is a necessity right now, along with physical distancing and other CDC/TLC recommendations, like “wash your hands” and “no scrubs,” respectively. But even if you aren’t worried about your business shuttering forever, put yourself in the shoes of an adventure guide in Alaska or a salon owner in Los Angeles or a start-up running coach in Oregon or a bar owner in Florida.
There are plenty of people who are scared that turning things off for a month or two may mean their dreams are turned off for the foreseeable future.
For some, it can feel like years spent building a house brick by brick, and, just as it starts to rain, realizing that all those bricks were made of papier mache. There are plenty of people who are scared that turning things off for a month or two may mean their dreams are turned off for the foreseeable future.
You Are Seen and Loved
The simple thing I am asking athletes in this situation: if you are scared, embrace those feelings and talk about them if you can. You are seen and loved. It’s not selfish to worry about your bank account or your business. It’s a sign you care. Life is all about caring, it’s what separates humans from crapface viruses. Life is about shooting your shots and taking risks, and there are millions of people that took shots and realized all at once that the basket suddenly might be a flaming economic tire fire.
Life is all about caring, it’s what separates humans from crapface viruses. Life is about shooting your shots and taking risks, and there are millions of people that took shots and realized all at once that the basket suddenly might be a flaming economic tire fire.
Talking about it openly doesn’t put customers on your website or money in your bank account. But, right now, the shared experience may be good for some cathartic cries and cleansing laughs (and maybe online orders—reach out to me if I can share something for a business you care about). Later, maybe that mindset that will help us all move forward together, supporting each other through it all.
Danielle Snyder, counselor at Inner Drive Athlete, said that the first step is to lean into your feelings and share them with others. “Isolation physically or mentally can contribute to stress and depression, possibly even hopelessness. Right now, we need a supportive community more than ever.” Snyder says that being open about these shared experiences is essential for moving forward with hope (contact for her remote counseling services here).
Brigitte Bradford, a growth consultant and running coach, says that this time sucks for a lot of people, but there are things we can do. First, ask for help if you feel alone or lost. And, if you have the capacity, Bradford lists some options to provide some direct help to others. “You can buy gift certificates to your favorite businesses, place an online order for your favorite run shoes from your local running shop, write and share testimonials for businesses, connect with old colleagues to make new connections and introductions for friends who have been laid off.”
When some people’s worlds feel like they are crumbling down, we can all help lift each other up. We can do it with our wallets if we have the means. We can do it with our words and love if we don’t. But we can only do that if we make sure no one feels shame to be open about what they’re going through and how they feel. Depending on your situation, that might all be of little solace to you right now, and those feelings are 100 percent valid too.
I’ll start with some companies and groups of people I love. First is Spring Energy, which I think makes some of the best fueling choices on the market. My favorites are Canaberry (one of the tastiest gels ever made), Speednut (makes long-distance fueling easy) and Koffee (it will melt your face off with deliciousness). Based on how great the products are, I’m guessing they’d be good for exfoliation too. Not that anyone asked, but I personally would take a bath in Canaberry. You can order from their website here.
If you want to support individual creators, Patreon provides subscriptions for $1 a month and up. Ginger Runner Live makes tons of amazing trail running videos and resources, with great perks for Patreon subscribers. Plus, one look from his dog and GUs is what made the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes. Support Kim and Ethan of Ginger Runner Live here.
For terrific races, Pacific Coast Trail Runs has some of the most beautiful courses in stunning places, great for training or a destination event. Right now, they have a special offer to purchase race credits that will be good through 2022, so even in this time of uncertainty, you can register to run historic courses like the Skyline To The Sea 50K. You can get 20-percent off with the code PCTRCARES20 when registering for races here.
Those are just a few small businesses, and there are thousands more out there that are facing uncertainty right now. Plus, countless people in the community are out of work or worried about losing their income sources. Let’s do what we can to help when possible, and let’s get creative.
We Got This
The first priority is community health and doing everything we can to stop the spread of the virus. No matter what we do as a community, though, the world is rapidly changing.
We can’t prevent the ripple effects of the virus from changing lives and changing the trajectory of dreams. Have compassion for yourself and others in this process if you can. It’s a crazy time to be alive, and even for healthy people, it can be immensely scary. Add in financial worries, and for some people, this can feel like a nightmare that no words (certainly not a magazine article by a running coach) can help.
But we will get through this. Most economic analysts predict rapid, possibly unprecedented growth later in the year. Opportunities are hopefully coming soon, including things we might not be able to predict in the midst of this crisis.
Let’s talk about it, lift each other up, and share the love (and financial support) we can spare. You are amazing!
David Roche partners with runners of all abilities through his coaching service, Some Work, All Play. His book, The Happy Runner, is about moving toward unconditional self-acceptance in a running life, and it’s available now on Amazon.