The Covid Way

By Kim Lowman

Wellness Program Manager

If Covid has taught me anything it’s this: I get rather stuck in my old ways sometimes. To be clear, my old ways are not necessarily bad. In fact, I had a good healthy balance between work, family, social and self-care before COVID. And I still do. But it’s very different and I find I sometimes have high expectations that my old ways will still work. Most recently, I found a new challenge as I started to teach virtual fitness classes. Since I have been teaching in person for 25+ years, it comes rather natural to me and I need no preparation at all. I just need some great music and some people who like my style and are happy to be a student. It’s like hosting a party. I entertain. It’s my fitness teaching style. I’ve always taught the way I speak which is fairly off the cuff and I’ve enjoyed the banter that follows. My worst fear was getting into the class and the music not working or people not giving me any feedback.

Teaching virtually has brought it all to a screeching halt. The old way just does not translate through a Zoom meeting. First of all, it is super difficult to align the music with the device. I sought help. Spoke with people who have had some success. Learned most do not use music due to the complications that occur trying to stream it. After multiple “promises” that music was coming soon, I’ve had to let go of that expectation and accept what would normally be a huge fear for me with teaching in person—there shall be no music people!  And forget any banter because the only person who has a mic on is me, the teacher, and everyone else is muted. It’s my nightmare coming to life. No feedback? I feel like an actor on stage giving a monologue—terrifying, actually. In fact, it is so very different that I found myself getting “nerved up” before the virtual classes due to all the things that can go wrong when you rely on a device, Wi-Fi, and your students navigating the sign-in process. I held on so tight for the first month trying to re-create what I did “in person” that I felt each week I had failed. This past week I finally made peace with the idea that I can teach a quality class without it being the same as in person. It just sort of washed over me on a walk. I let it sink in that things are different now. Time to see things as they are… the new Sheriff in town is Covid and we have to do things the Covid way.

Does this sound familiar? Are you trying to hold on to the old ways that worked and you’re finding it is causing stress or upset? You know, it’s truly our own expectations that cause us to feel a failure when most of the time, those around us do not see a fail at all. As we try to bring kids back into the schools, the teachers are realizing that the old ways do not translate into this new world. As we bring the adults we support back to day programs, the staff is prepared to let go of the old ways and try a new version of what works based on the guidance we must follow. Hair salons look different. Stores are different. We are all learning a new way to do the “old things.” The Covid way is doing the best we can do with what we have. This philosophy is really no different from pre-Covid and it won’t be too different when we are post-Covid. If we are doing the best we can with what we have, then our expectations are in order. It is not a fail at all to not meet the expectations of the old ways … in fact it is a huge success to find a way to continue on in any way that works! That’s far more than anyone expects and believe me, it is appreciated! Remember to thank those who continue providing a service, even if it’s the Covid way, because it means they did not give up and they found a new way!