A Control Freak’s Guide to Surviving Social Distancing During COVID 19

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A Control Freak’s Guide to Surviving Social Distancing During COVID 19

The current pandemic, COVID-19, has borne down on individuals and families everywhere.  The past couple of weeks have been weird, sudden, and at times, terrifying. As someone who has a very type A personality and plans every minute of every day, social distancing and putting life on pause is the nightmare I didn’t realize I had. I struggle with delays, need instant gratification, and dislike uncertainty… a lot. For a control freak like myself, this pandemic should be crippling. I’ll admit it hasn’t been the best time so far, but I’ve implemented some structures into my life and a mindset that allows me to live my life in the time of the Coronavirus. I hope this can help set off some light bulbs in your head as well.

Focusing on what I can control

That vacation to Chicago to see the Phillies in April? Cancelled. The concert in May? Cancelled. My aunt Pam’s chocolate matzah at Passover? Because my uncle will eat all of it before I can get the leftovers…cancelled. Those cancellations are definite, but the way I spend my April and May, that’s still totally up to me.  I can control how I go forward. I can stay upset, let myself self-isolate, and eat my remaining girl scout cookies on the couch OR I can consciously choose to spend my time in a beneficial way. I am choosing to use this time to reset, to do things I love, to feel productive, and to keep moving forward. As a control freak, I love having this choice, and I am going to choose it every day.

Using the uncontrollable as a way to improve

To be honest, if I was going to be trapped in my 850 square foot apartment with my moody cat and forced to social distance myself, March 2020 is probably the best time in the universe for that to happen.  There are so many resources online and within one’s social community to utilize. We’re in a pandemic – this is the only time where it’s going to be socially acceptable to obsess over hobbies. I am giving all Crossfitters the gold star ticket with unlimited permission to talk about CrossFit. Troy CrossFit, like many gyms, transitioned into the digital space overnight. I have enjoyed the mindset and the attitude behind the programming change. Sure, our strength program we had been building came to a halt, and we are limited by our equipment and space, but the one hour of exercise that is programmed for each day has intention. After working with Derrick, I know he is tackling the program with a plan to get our gym population better during this time. We are working on unilateral and ipsilateral work that may not feel as sexy (not you single leg RDL, you are beautiful), but it is essential to maintaining our strong balance and reducing the body’s chances of injury over time. Let’s get stable in this unstable time.  You also can:

  • Actually practice that instrument you own

  • Start your blog or podcast you have been talking about for years

  • Practice that Crossfit skill you have been neglecting (gymnastics, ankle mobility, bodyweight cardio) < calling myself out here

  • Take a free courses on Coursera or Code Academy

  • Learn a new language (Duolingo is super addictive!)

  • Teach yourself basic HTML or learn SQL

  • Take up coloring or read one of the many books that have been sitting on your shelf for the last 5 years.

Staying connected with your community is you staying in control

Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Your family, your gym community, your friends scattered all over the country are in the same position as you’re  right now, let them be your superpower. I personally got most of my daily interactions on site at work, the lady at the Imperial Ave Shell gas station or coaching/participating at Troy. Now more than ever, it’s super critical to intentionally connect with people. Whether it’s Zoom, Facetime, Messenger, Instagram group calls (do people use those?), face view chatting is the new face-to-face interaction. Last night my 82 year old Nana managed to join the rest of my family and me on a family Zoom call from her phone. So if she can do it, you can do it too. Here are some other ideas that are working for myself and others.

  • Schedule a call with a different person each evening (or, you know, with your BFF every evening).

  • Join a Troy CF zoom class! Yes, members can do classes on their own, but don’t miss the chance of seeing your favorite members and coaches being the same goofballs they normally are, just online. You won’t realize how much you actually missed  your community until you have them back.

  • Hold a virtual dinner party.

  • Get everyone on the line, start a great song, and dance it out.

  • Press play on the same movie at the same time and chat your way through. ( This is hard but can be done if your movie partner has patience)

Let the control freaks have their moment

I get it, control freaks are having a moment. I had mine too. You can have your self-pity time, you can eat those girl scouts cookies or whatever coping mechanism you think will work. Then when you are ready, develop strategies to gain control and rock your life. Let’s turn this break in reality into something tangible and satisfying. Control what you can: your health, your relationships, and your mindset. Get better at things. Stay connected with your community: your family, your gym friends, or that group of friends from college that always say “We need to catch up” three times a year.

Being stuck at home, away from your people, especially with whatever today’s news is happening in the background… It can be rough and mess with our routine. But we aren’t alone, really. We’re going to make it through — together.

Your recovering control freak,


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