MGU 86 | Quarantine Fatigue

With the current pandemic due to COVID-19 going on, a lot of things are either put on hold or cancelled. If that isn’t stressful enough, we’ve all been advised to stay put and socially distance ourselves as much as possible. This adds to the discomfort that often leads to anxiety, depression, the feeling of overwhelm, and, not the least, caution fatigue. On today’s show, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen open up about what they’re experiencing and feeling during this crisis. As they acknowledge and sit with the idea that something is making us uncomfortable, they also share some helpful strategies to address quarantine fatigue with self-care practices.

Listen to the podcast here:

Handling Disappointment And Discomfort During COVID-19

How To Address Quarantine Fatigue With Self-Care Practices

We’re going to start this episode, sharing some of our personal discomforts. Part of our aim with this show is to bring you into our lives in an intimate way. Share our personal conversations and the lessons that we learned from them and share with you how he worked through tough times. There are certainly been in abundance of tough times in the past few months. This one is related to a bigger issue. It’s relatively minor, but that doesn’t mean that something that is minor is uncomfortable. That’s a point I’ll start with here is everything’s relative.

Sometimes we can get to this place where we feel like our problems aren’t worth being problems like, “My problem is so small and people are suffering in much bigger ways so I should be grateful.” On a psychological level, that isn’t helpful because each of us are struggling with things that are relative to our previous struggles and our current struggles. We can consider what other people are struggling with around the world, but we also don’t know exactly how they feel and they don’t know how we feel. I want this to be a reminder that even when something feels small, you should still honor it, address it, and let yourself work through it. Before we started, Jason shared that he’s feeling some sadness. Do you want to share what your sadness is about, Jason?

Before I share what I’m feeling sad about, I want to blow it out into the deeper reason why. Whitney and I have many audiences. Many people out there seeing the cancellation of a lot of large-scale events as big as something like the Olympics. This is big as you get on a worldwide stage to festivals like Coachella and Burning Man, to some of our favorite musical artists canceling their tours and then to the health and wellness industry canceling a lot of the trade shows and also some of the events that Whitney and I were scheduled to speak at. That’s part of our business and part of our revenue stream. It’s been this myriad challenge on so many levels from being music fans and fans of going to festivals and things like that to being compensated as part of our business to speak at health and wellness events.

We learned that the Natural Products Expo East was officially canceled for September. I’m feeling sad for a few primary reasons. Number one is with everything that had been canceled so far through 2020. There were only a handful of events left that I was, at least, I know you were too, Whitney, holding out hope that they would happen. Expo East was one of those things of, “If we get one show in, give us one show and connect with friends, connect with brands and secure some new sponsorship deals.” This wasn’t just about going in and sampling food for any of the audiences who haven’t prized yourself to what the Natural Products Expo is. It’s an industry food trade show. It’s one of the biggest trade shows in the world for food and every year, Whitney and I go to.

MGU 86 | Quarantine Fatigue

Quarantine Fatigue: Anticipating something that may or may not happen in the way that you think they’re going to can be very uncomfortable.

 

It’s not just-food. It’s beverages and any natural products for home goods and companion animal products, sometimes even clothing and such.

I did not want to minimize it and say just-food. It encompasses pretty much damn near all of the wellness industry in terms of products. We love going there because we get to reconnect with friends who live on the East Coast. We usually make a trip out of it, going to Boston and New York City. This time, they moved the event from Baltimore, Maryland to Philadelphia. Two of our greatest friends and their son live in Philadelphia and moved into a new house. I’m bummed not only for the cancellation of an event that I was looking forward to on a professional level. I’m holding out hope that for us as entrepreneurs and business owners, some of that lost revenue or some of those speaking opportunities, Whitney, that got canceled for us in these festivals and conferences, this might be a way for us to connect with brands and leverage our platform to forge some new alliances and partnerships.

That’s a huge reason for it. The other thing is, I wanted to see our friends, Mike and Ariana, and their son, Leo, and see all of our close friends like Leanne and Chloe and people in New York City. The East Coast trip that we take on an annual basis, technically it’s a business trip and we do write it off. It’s so much more than that in terms of seeing your family, Whitney, in Massachusetts, and seeing all of our friends up and down the East Coast. Beyond the business side of this, I’m sad because I was looking forward to seeing the people we care about. If I’m honest about it, now that I’m pondering it, it feels sadder than the business side of things is feeling like it’s going to be even longer that we get to see the people that we love, who live on the East Coast. That’s tough right now.

It may be something very relatable, even if the audience doesn’t go to a trade show like this or have a business event that they look forward to. I’m sure most people can relate to that sadness that comes with something that they were looking forward to being canceled. That’s something a lot of people are experiencing this year in ways that maybe we’ve never experienced before. It keeps coming and coming. That’s part of the sadness here for me and perhaps for you as well, Jason. It’s a cumulative effect knowing that, “It’s Expo West,” which is there are two Natural Products Expos a year of one on each side of the country. When it was canceled, the March was a big deal. We had a special episode of this show that we recorded, which was never fully broadcast on the show. It was broadcast on YouTube. If you haven’t watched that yet, and you’re curious, it’s interesting to me because that was right at the very beginning of the COVID development in the United States. This is early March 2020.

Stay as informed as possible in a balanced way so that you don't feel overly informed and thus get fatigued from information overload. Click To Tweet

If you want to watch our take on that, how we were discussing it, and where we are at that point, you can find that video at Wellevatr.com. In that video, we talked about our feelings on COVID. It was an interesting time in early March because there were so much unknown. When they canceled Expo West, it felt like a huge deal and some people felt like it wasn’t necessary. There was a huge backlash from the natural products industry because this event was canceled at the very last minute. It was a few days before the event happened. They canceled it and this occurrence that we’re speaking about right now with Expo East, they’re canceling it a little over three months in advance. They gave people a lot more notice, which was smart from a business standpoint, but it’s got a different effect because what they kept saying when they canceled Expo West was, “We’re canceling Expo West, but don’t worry. We’re going to have this great time for Expo East.”

Back in March, we thought that COVID might be a short-term situation. They’re also being a bit overly cautious, but my mentality is gratitude for that because A, I’d rather more advanced notice. I have time to cognitively process the cancellation versus Expo West, which was very abrupt. It’s interesting because the cumulative effect that I was mentioning is that it’s not one event that was canceled. It was multiple events. As Jason said, it’s tough because it almost feels like there isn’t anything to look forward to for a while. That’s a very relatable feeling. I’ve noticed this in articles that I’ve read about the emotional effects of COVID is that there’s so much uncertainty. It’s so challenging to plan. In a way, I feel relieved that Expo East is canceled because now I know how to make my plans. For months, I felt like I couldn’t make plans.

I couldn’t book my airline. I couldn’t book hotels and car rentals. I couldn’t make all these plans with friends and family. Everything felt so up in the air and that felt uncomfortable to me. Now that it’s canceled while I may feel relieved to not be up in the air anymore. Now I have to deal with that sadness. This may be an extreme example, but it does remind me of that feeling that comes along with death. When there’s someone in your life, whether it’s a human being or an animal companion that is getting older and maybe sick, one of the most challenging elements of that for me and I’ve noticed this with other people in my life is that anticipation. They could die on any day. There’s a lot of emotional weight that comes with anticipating something negative. There’s a sense of relief. We often feel when someone passes away, knowing that we no longer have to anticipate that moment.

It’s almost as if there’s a dual-edged sword when it comes to something like this, where there’s the dread of the inevitability of the event of someone passing or something being canceled, they’re going away. There’s also part of that time that allows us to process and prepare. There’s the preparation for the thing and then there’s the actual thing. Preparing for someone to pass or to die or an aspect of one’s life to close or move on to a different chapter. You never know what it is until you’re in it and in the moment of it. It is a dual-edged sword, Whitney, in that sense of the dread and the fear of how might I feel or react when it happens. There’s also like, “but maybe I can bolster myself emotionally or make plans.” It’s both of those things wrapped into one for me.

MGU 86 | Quarantine Fatigue

Quarantine Fatigue: The numerous things you have to remember to do every day to make sure you’re safe and protected can leave you anxious and overwhelmed.

 

It’s a different stage of grief too, because similar to death, when you’re anticipating something that may or may not happen in the way that you think you’re going to in this situation, it’s been so up in the air. That’s very uncomfortable but then once something finally happens, you go into a different stage of processing that grief. I am in the midst of reading a spectacular book about this. This reminds me of something that I was seeing online about what it means to get uncomfortable. What the meaning of discomfort is? How important it is for us to acknowledge and sit with the idea that something’s making us uncomfortable. That’s a huge part of the grief process.

I also read this quote online that I thought was eloquent, which is, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” I saw that quote on Facebook. There wasn’t an author attributed to it, but the quote was shared by Project Personal Freedom. That was directly related to the racial justice that we’re working on right now as a country and as a world and how uncomfortable that is. I also think that applies to COVID. All of these things that we’re discussing right now about it can feel incredibly uncomfortable. If we allow ourselves to sit with that with it, to look within ourselves for deeper meaning and answers and finding new ways to approach life, we can learn so much. As the quote said, “We can tap into finer moments of life as a result.”

One of the most uncomfortable aspects of this entire massive sweeping change and I feel it’s an evolution of humanity. I feel like we’re being presented with so many opportunities through everything we’ve been experiencing in 2020 to collectively move our conscious evolution forward. Here’s what I mean by that. One of the key aspects that are challenging, certainly myself and a lot of people I’ve spoken to, is the concept of identity and the meanings and the attributes we attach to the identities we hold. For example, we talked about the sadness around the Expo East and the cancellation of a lot of the events I mentioned, Whitney.

Part of my pain around that is not only an income source, doing a lot of speaking appearances say over the last few years, being on a book tour, promoting the TV series, and a lot of the things over the past few years. We’ve done a lot of traveling and been on the road a lot. We got to meet a lot of great people and have that as a substantive source of income. Beyond the money part of these avenues drying up, part of it is that I’ve attached part of my identity as I’m this great speaker. When I go out on stage, I bring so much energy, heart, laughter, and make people feel joyful and perhaps give them some tools to overcome their suffering. That’s something I love it, at the top of the list of things that I love to do in my career, speaking live on stage, singing, telling jokes, educating, and entertaining. It is probably the most joyful thing that I do. I love it.

Self-care should be a priority. A big way of self-care for your body is a massage and making sure that your muscles are being released. Click To Tweet

Part of my sadness is the attachment to this identity of you are this great speaker that gets booked for all these events and people love you. You get a lot of love on stage when you give a lot of love. Now that’s not an option, probably who knows, but maybe through the entire year of 2020. There’s a part of me that feels pain and discomfort. I’ve identified that as a source of joy and also a source of who I think I am. To go deeper into that, you talk about racial justice and the inclusivity in a lot of the mindset shifts and belief systems that are changing for humanity right now.

It’s also incredibly uncomfortable if you were raised in, as an example, an Orthodox Christian faith of some kind that in perhaps in your church or your form of religion, homosexuality is something that God looks down upon. It’s a sin. If in your heart, as a person, you’re looking at LGBTQ+ people, their rights, and their inherent humanity. It’s something about your identification of a religion that says, “This is a sin.” In your heart, you’re feeling empathy, compassion, and love for these people. That’s extremely uncomfortable. You bring up issues of belief, faith, religion, politics, and all of these things we identify ourselves as, all these titles, “I’m a Christian. I’m a Muslim. I’m a vegan. I’m paleo. I’m this. I’m that.” We lumped so many titles in our life. We had a great episode about bridges, walls, and titles. My point here is that as people are waking up and opening their hearts, opening their minds, doing the research, checking in with themselves. Part of the massive discomfort is people may be feeling things, thinking things, realizing things that are counter to who they thought they were.

It’s a fascinating place that we’re in right now. There are a lot of things that are being brought to the surface, which is wonderful. I mentioned that I’ve been reading a book about this. It’s called Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair. It’s beautifully written. It was written around the time of 9/11 when the World Trade Centers were hit and how intense of a time that was. As usual, I highlighted a bunch of sections from this book. In the end, there was an epilogue. I believe that the book was being written before 9/11 and then it was published after 9/11. The author started to weave in elements of that. It was fascinating to reflect back on how 9/11 affected us as a country in the US. It had a ripple effect on other countries. It often felt so intense here in the US and wondering, like, “How did other people think about that?”

Here are a couple of quotes from the book regarding 9/11. One came from Judith Lewis Herman, who wrote that “Traumatic events destroy the sustaining bonds between the individual and community. Those who have survived learn their sense of worth. Their sense of self, of humanity, depends on a feeling of connection to others. The solidarity of a group provides the strongest protection against terror and despair and the strongest antidote to a traumatic experience.” This also leads me to an article that I read about caution fatigue.

I wanted to discuss this. This was on CNN.com. It was fascinating reading about caution fatigue, which basically occurs when someone shows low motivation or energy to comply with safety guidelines. Part of this is because of the way that our brains process new details. It’s become difficult for us because a lot of the ways that we obtain details is through digital means. We’re socially isolated. We can’t fully rely on the part of the brain that helps us contextualize information because we’re not processing our intuition or social cues the same way and we often learn with people.

They help us process and they help us positively reinforce responsible behavior. It’s been challenging for people on a psychological level to be cautious right now with their health and that’s also interesting, and may also play a role in how we’re processing this news about our event being canceled, Jason. There’s this desire to connect with people because traumatic events are often healed in our connection with other people. We look forward to going to this event to connect with people, and then simultaneously because we’re not connecting with people, it makes it harder for us to understand why we should be so cautious.

I’ve never heard this phrase before caution fatigue.

Maybe it’s being developed now. It might be a new phrase, similar to how I’d never heard of the term digital blackface and maybe that’s a new term. I’m not sure I haven’t looked into the history of it. We’re seeing these new ways of describing the things that we’re experiencing and the things that are happening in the world because we’re in new times. Not just new in terms of a new virus, racial challenges are not new to our country, but the way we’re dealing with them is new because of platforms like social media. Blackface is a term that’s been around for a long time, but has it been used digitally? Has it been discussed in that way? For anyone who’s unfamiliar with this term, we did explore it a bit in the episode previous to this one.

Caution fatigue is in that same category of a new term that we’re learning and one of the things that the article got into is how heightened or newfound anxiety and depression can make us feel very hopeless and depleted. Jason, you talk a lot about your struggles with anxiety and depression or depression mainly. I would say maybe I’m the more anxious of the two of us. That’s something that I’ve had to hone in on and do a lot of work on so that I don’t get to a place of feeling hopeless and I don’t get to a place of depletion. With struggles that we’re facing through COVID such as unemployment, our stress levels are going up and that’s affecting how our brains function and how we’re behaving. Stress can make it easier to forget things, so sometimes we become stressed out and exhausted by that. Our brain resources are not operating as well mentally. It makes it tough to figure out how to respond and be cautious, and that’s why the word fatigue is integrated into that. We’re so fatigued emotionally and mentally right now. It’s tough to handle any new sources of information.

There’s another level. I’m glad you spoke on anxiety, Whitney, in terms of the preparatory steps and also the preventative steps regarding COVID. I don’t think I’ve spoken about this at the beginning of this, in March, in particular. I remember having a tremendous amount of anxiety anytime I would leave the house. It was like, “Do you have your mask? Did you clean the mask? Did you sterilize the mask? Did you bring your gloves? Are there gloves in the glove compartment in case you need extra gloves? Do you have at least one bottle of sanitizer? Do you have sanitary wipes to wipe down the steering wheel? Did you take your Vitamin C? Did you take your Vitamin B?” Now they’re saying, “Take glutathione to protect the lungs. Did you take all your supplements? Don’t forget to take your supplements because if you forget to take your supplements, you’re going to be more susceptible to the virus. That doesn’t work as an antiviral. Do they have colloidal silver?”

I remember going nuts with all of these checklists in my mind of how to protect myself and possibly prevent any infection. I’ve eased back on it a lot because I feel like it’s a routine to have a mask in the car, to sterilize it, to have the sanitizer, to have an extra set of gloves, to be taking my supplements for immunity. In the beginning, it was like filing for unemployment, not making any money. All my speaking appearances got canceled. All these contracts are put on pause, the devastation of that side of it but then it’s like, “Here are twenty other things to put in your mind to do every day to make sure you’re safe and protected.” My anxiety was creeping in from that overwhelm, which is interesting you name it caution fatigue. My version of that was, things are changing so rapidly and getting canceled and life is clearly not going to be the same, but then you have to do these twenty extra things to put your mind at ease so you can leave the house.

MGU 86 | Quarantine Fatigue

Quarantine Fatigue: Part of the danger of this virus is sometimes we don’t have the symptoms and we can pass it on.

 

In that article I’m referencing about caution fatigue, they also call it to quarantine fatigue. It is challenging for us to make decisions and also handling disappointment, sometimes it feels like, “When is the disappointment going to end?” That’s part of the uncertainty that comes along with being in COVID. I was talking to a friend and this has come up in multiple conversations with friends. We feel things are starting to get better. The City of Los Angeles, for example, is opening up and you can eat out at some restaurants. It’s easier to grocery shop. There are more things that are available. People are starting to feel more comfortable. The timing of that, of it is almost summer. Summer is often associated with being outside, having fun, being on vacation, relaxing, and being with your friends, a lot of socializing. A lot of people are anticipating that and like, “We can finally be free.”

The unfortunate thing is if we start to let our guards down too quickly, we increase our chance of there being the second wave of COVID and so now that’s been on my mind a lot. This is part of the reason that the Expo East was canceled because we don’t know what’s going to happen a few months from now. Things could be better or things could get worse again. That to me is intense. There are moments, for example, Jason and I went to the All Black Lives Matter protest and march, which corresponded with some of the pride activities for Pride Month. It was amazing. I didn’t look it up. I don’t know how many people were there. Do you know, Jason, how many people attended the march?

I didn’t look at the stats. The feeling was that as we were walking down the streets that there were tens of thousands of people.

ABC7 estimates it was 40,000 people and that was one source. I don’t know. They said at least 30,000 so it’s probably between 30,000 to 50,000 people. That was an incredible feeling to be around that many people. I don’t know if it was you, Jason, or someone else I was with saying like, “It felt so good to be around people.” In my head, I kept thinking, “But we’re also still in the midst of COVID-19.” A lot of people were wearing masks, myself included, Jason included. I want to give a shout out to the company that made the mask I was wearing, its Canopy Verde, who makes my favorite collection of vegan accessories. I have so many items from them. All my bags are from them, from my laptop and my purse. I love them. They sent me their masks, which are comfortable. I wanted to make sure they were acknowledged for their amazing work. It’s a cloth mask. They do have an insert where you can put a filter in it so I want to do that.

That’s part of the caution fatigue for me. I’m going to this big event and I’m wearing a cloth mask with no filter in it. At one point during the march, I thought, “I’m around thousands of strangers and yes, most of us are covering our face, but not all masks are created equally.” Luckily, Jason was wearing a very heavy duty mask, which I thought was smart. It’s going to take me probably two weeks to even know if I’m in the clear. I potentially put myself in harm’s way, but I did it because A, I do want to socialize and B, I wanted to show my support and be in solidarity for the Pride community, for the LGBTQ+. It was also interesting that it was called All Black Lives Matter because it’s like combining Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter. I haven’t looked that far into it, but that was the official march that we were in.

If I may, the phrase about All Black Lives Matter was in response to a lot of the hate and the legal overturns against trans, lesbian and gay people of color. It was the idea that not just black lives, but all black lives, regardless of gender assignment or choice or sexual orientation.

Jason and I are people that believe so much inequality. We want to make sure everybody has the same level of justice in this country and the world. That’s why I went. That’s why you went, Jason. Did you feel like at moments that you felt a little uncomfortable being around thousands of strangers during this time?

It’s interesting because I was observing not only, first of all, the incredible energy of love, positivity, and openness that was there. The energy was incredible. Secondarily, I was bolstered by the fact that, and this was not a surprise at all, the incredible diversity of human beings, beautiful, openhearted progressive human beings that were there. The diversity of people, colors, fashion, and styles. There were all kinds of ages too. It was awesome. Thirdly, in terms of feeling safe, my mom was kind enough. She had some N95, the surgical grade N95s that she sent over so I’ve been using those. I did the double layer thing where I had the N95 on my face, and then I had a clean bandana over it. I had my hand sanitizer. I was very mindful anytime I touch something or brush on anyone or handled anything to sanitize my hands. I felt secure in the steps that I was taking.

Except for that time, you decided not to have that drink we were given.

That was a little bit like, “I’m going to wait until I get home.” I didn’t feel like being in a street with thousands and thousands of people surrounding me that pulling my mask down to take a drink of juice was a smart idea.

Sit with the discomfort and uncomfortable feelings and tune in to how you’re feeling instead of numbing yourself. Click To Tweet

I did that. This is what I mean. I do experience that level of caution fatigue. It’s like, “I want to drink some juice.” In my head, you weigh out the pros and cons of things you think like, “I’m probably safe enough.” The truth is, maybe I wasn’t. It’s part of that challenge right now of when do you do something, how risky is it, and how cautious should you be?

This is an individual decision. I had a friend of mine who was questioning me about my social distancing, “How far did you stand from people? Are you going out?” She was being like hyper activist about my social distancing procedures. I’m like, “Chill. I’m doing what’s right for me and I’m being respectful and being mindful.” One place that I don’t want to get into that I could because of my anxiety and some other mental health challenges that I have is obsessing. I’ve never been labeled or evaluated as OCD, but I do think that I have some OCD-Esque tendencies. When it comes to my personal health or my safety or precautions, like being in a Pride parade with tens of thousands of people, I was a little bit extra OCD about stuff like that, Whit, but I hear you. What you’re detailing, Whitney, is a microcosm of one of the larger conversations around this, which is, do we overprotect people and therefore, destroy the financial system, destroy the economy, prevent people from earning a living?

Are you preventing people from living too much to try and ensure that they don’t die? If we’re too on clamped down and we have too many restrictions and we have too many things that restrict our choice and our freedom, then it’s like, “I’m locked in my house for months and months at a time, but is this living?” I’m by no means comparing this. Some people are like, “You’re locked in your house. That’s a privilege,” and it is. We’re not in an internment camp. We’re not in a concentration camp. We’re not in jail. We’re not being enslaved. Being inside the house has had its mental and emotional challenges yet compared to those kinds of things, it’s not all bad. My point here is that at what point do we evaluate whether or not we’re living and experiencing life to some degree of fullness and fulfillment versus being so overly protective that we cancel or diminished certain aspects of our social connection. It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?

It is. It does come down to the cognitive side of it and like you’re saying each of us making our decisions based on perceived risk. It’s also an element of reward. Going back to that CNN article about quarantine and caution fatigue, it’s that if we’re not going to be motivated by the fear of something, then we need another source of inspiration. We can switch it to be about the reward and asking ourselves, “What is the reward that I get for the choices that I make relative to what I’m giving up?” A reward could be our health like, “If I do this thing, if I wear my mask, then I’m rewarded with health, so I think.” The trick is that the reward is not immediate.

In my case, I decided to drink that juice that was being passed out at the march and granted, I thought it was safe because I knew the company it was coming from. It was sealed but it was passed to me by somebody else, multiple hands touched the bottle. As Jason said, I took off my mask to drink it, and unfortunately, with the incubation period, I may not know for a few weeks what the reward is or what the risk was there. Other rewards, which we’ve seen happening a lot during COVID is the altruistic side of the health of your family and other people. That’s helped me a lot with COVID is that I’m not just wearing the mask for my own sake.

I’m wearing that mask to be respectful of other people. Sometimes I get triggered when I see people not wearing a mask because I feel like it’s selfish. You don’t know if you’re sick or not. That’s part of the danger of this virus is sometimes we don’t have the symptoms and we can pass it on. If we can tune into the reward of the reward is, in protecting my health, I’m protecting other people, other people that I care for. Another way of looking at it is like, you can feel like you’re a master of staying safe during the pandemic. To Jason’s point, that can also become obsessive. You feel like you have to go through this whole checklist and that can be very stressful. Each of us just has to figure out what is important to us. That’s tricky because a lot of the time, we look to other people to determine what’s important. Part of the answer is having conversations with our loved ones and staying as informed as possible in a way that’s balanced so that we don’t feel overly informed and thus get fatigued from information overload and doing a lot of self-care. We can go down the gamut of things, whether it’s eating well, and making great food.

A lot of people have been finding joy in making great food for themselves. People are finding new ways to exercise. I’d love to touch upon that with you, Jason, and see where you’re at with it. I’ve been through a lot of different phases of exercise with myself. It was tough for me when my yoga studio closed down in March. It was mid-March when they finally made that decision. For me, I feel most motivated to work out when I’m in that community setting. I felt a little like, I don’t know if I would say depressed but low. We were talking about this. I’d love for you to share your perspective as we are discussing how it’s tough when you don’t have that routine of going out to a class.

One thing that helped me greatly and I’m very grateful for this is that my favorite yoga teacher started teaching online classes. She has a mixture of on-demand classes that you can watch any time and live classes that you can tune into and be there with other people, which is most appealing to me and a lot of yoga teachers or exercise teachers, fitness teachers, in general, have been doing things like this. We each have to find what works for us. You said that there was a class in the park or something that your yoga studio is doing, but have they offered any online classes, or have you dabbled in that yourself?

I am a practitioner of Jivamukti Yoga. Years ago when I lived in New York City and was cheffing there, I was taking yoga classes and worked at the Jivamuktea Cafe that was back in 2006. Jivamukti LA opened, amazing teachers, Hachi Yu and Beatrice Buenaventura shout out to those ladies and the staff there. I discovered them in the arts district, which is a semi-ish neighborhood for me in Los Angeles.

Not to mention that was the location of our show launch party back in December before COVID hit the United States that we knew of at least.

That was the last party we threw, which was a great party. It was lovely and what an incredible space and community to share that with. Jivamukti shut down as part of the safer at home orders of Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti here. Jivamukti has shifted to a donation-based online Zoom class. There’s a thing called Jivamukti Union, which is all of the Jivamukti studios around the world that have combined forces in this online entity called Jivamukti Union so you can take online classes. I noticed that Hachi Yu, who runs Jivamukti LA was doing yoga in the park. Slowly with social distancing in an outdoor setting integrating a physical aspect of the practice back in. I found it very challenging to be away from that group of people. First of all, I love most of the personalities with people in the classes I’ve met there.

It is a very small close-knit community at Jivamukti LA, rich history there. I missed the routine, like you mentioned, Whitney. It’s partially because I’m not great at holding myself accountable for certain things. If I am at home, working from home, spending time at home, which has been mostly indoors, I find it difficult to work out at home too. We talked about this in our episode with Dotsie Bausch, the Olympic medalist of getting into robot mode where it’s like, “Just do the pushups, do the squats, do the yoga class.” It’s been tough for me. I’m inside all day and I’m like, “I’m here in the same four walls. I don’t feel like doing the fucking pushups and the squats.” To answer your question, I started resuming my workouts again a few weeks ago. I was playing basketball, doing cardio, and doing bodyweight exercises like pushups, dips, and air squats but then I had a foot injury. I rolled my ankle and then I got gout. I have not been mobile. I’m hoping I can get back to movements with my foot again, that it feels good enough, but I’ve had the last few weeks of barely any movement. It’s been tough.

That is tough because when you’re stagnant, that can affect your emotional state. They say that the issues can be in your tissues. For any of our regular audiences, you may have heard us talk about Rapid Release. We were talking about how important it is to be mindful with your body. It’s not just about moving your muscles in a form of exercise but then caring for them and in one way or another. A big way of self-care for your body is a massage and making sure that your muscles are being released. That’s why this product is called Rapid Release and we’re affiliates of theirs. We were absolutely blown away by them. We were introduced to Rapid Release when we were at the longevity conference. Speaking of events that we love, there is this incredible event series. Is it called Longevity Now or was it called Longevity?

In the beginning, it was the Longevity Conference and it became The Longevity Now Conference, which was pioneered by David Wolfe and some of his associates. One of our favorite events that we’ve been through over the years and I’ve had the great honor and privilege of speaking at seven of them over the years. It’s like a mini expo, though, in the sense that there are product debuts and brand-new things that have come out brand new healing technologies. This was one of them. This was at the 2018 show. We were so geeked. I remember turning the corner at the Anaheim Hilton and being like, “What is this?” People moaning in ecstasy. People being like, “Oh my God,” and we’re like, “I’ll have what she’s having.” It was like, “I want to sit on the massage table, and have you put this machine on me.” It was the natural excitement of being introduced to a new healing technology, which Whitney and I are very much, maybe in that biohacker realm of always wanting to try new foods, new technologies, and seeing how we feel. This was definitely an alignment with that of like, “Something new we’ve never tried before.”

MGU 86 | Quarantine Fatigue

Quarantine Fatigue: When you’re getting something cheap, it’s generally not going to be as rejuvenating and healing for your body versus going to a talented professional and getting high-quality experience.

 

Do we even say exactly what it is? I don’t want to be vague about it.

It’s not to diminish what it is, but if any one’s heard of like those massage guns or things that use vibration and have a mechanism that repeatedly pushes like a ball or an accessory or head into parts of your muscle. As you go down, say in your traps, it would like to have a repeating drumming motion.

It is different than some of the more popular, cheaper models out there. There’s a difference between vibration technology that Rapid Release uses and percussion is what a lot of the other companies use. It’s an important distinction because Rapid Release is a higher-end machine, for lack of a better term. Meaning that it’s a bigger financial investment, but it was developed by a chiropractor. It was a bodywork professional who designed this machine to have a specific way of working through the muscles. That was part of the excitement that we felt when we tried it at Longevity for the first time. The reason they got in there is that brands have to apply to be at Longevity, or they did in the past when that event was running. They had a very big evaluation period to make sure that only the top products could be there. Jason was saying, it was neat to experience them. I didn’t mean to cut you off, but I wanted to clarify the difference between vibration massages versus the percussion massage tools.

It’s a wonderful distinction. I remember from the multiple experiences I had. Getting worked on with this machine, first of all, when someone else is doing the bodywork on you, I find it’s different. I’ve used the machine on myself without any assistance and then had another person facilitate the Rapid Release technology on my body. Maybe it’s like when someone else cooks a meal for you, it tends to taste better rather than me cooking the meal for myself. There’s something about having bodywork and that healing technology facilitated by someone else. It’s a deeper sense of relaxation and relief I found.

That’s one of the things I like about Rapid Release is that they have a section on their website where you can find practitioners. You can explore it more for yourself. They talk about the differences between vibration versus percussion and the practitioners that you can go to. That was one of the reasons I became so trustworthy of them is that they have a very specific technique to it. All of these chiropractors and bodyworkers will utilize it in their regular practice. Something that I’ve been wanting to go to do is visit one of the local practitioners to experience it.

I liked them better than other massage tools out there because of the way that it’s designed. It feels so high quality. I find this is like the opposite than yoga and fitness in general. Whereas I’m somebody who likes to go somewhere to do some fitness routine, whether it’s yoga or bar or Pilates or whatever else I’m doing. I feel more motivated as Jason was saying when I have a class structure. When it comes to massage and bodywork, I will delay that a lot. That’s something I’ve been working on throughout my life is I want to prioritize bodywork more often, but it can get expensive.

A good bodywork session is generally around $100, sometimes it will be closer to $50 or $60, but you pay with your purse or you pay with your pocket. When you’re getting something cheap, it’s generally not going to be as rejuvenating and healing for your body versus when you go to a talented, massage therapist or a practitioner, a chiropractor, those type of people, you’re going to get, generally speaking, a high-quality experience. For me, spending $100 or so to get that bodywork on a regular basis can add up.

What I liked about Rapid Release is even though the product in itself is an investment financially, the long-term effects of it make it very affordable because then you can have a high-end machine at home that you can use any time you want. I know when I’m working out regularly or feeling stressed, I would like to have my bodywork done almost every single day of the week. It’s about that accessibility. When I’m weighing out the pros and cons of purchasing something, I try to think like, “What’s the long-term investment here?” When I buy a product, I want to say, “It might be expensive,” but as Jason talked about in an episode, if it’s something that you’re going to utilize for years to come, and you can do the math, you’ll find that it’s affordable.

It’s the same philosophy that I employ when I talk to people about investing in specific pieces of kitchen equipment, like a high-speed blender or a juicer. It’s this idea if you go out and most place your average juice bar or your smoothie bar, you’re going to be paying $7 to $10 or more if you’re in a place like LA, a lot more for a smoothie or an organic juice. Some places here, it’s more like $12 to $14 for a high-quality organic smoothie or juice. If you add it up and spend something like $500 on a blender or a juicer, or you invest in something like Rapid Release, you outweigh that against what you would be paying per item, per service, per smoothie, per massage. You realize that if you have the means to invest, you end up saving a lot of money in the long run.

The cool thing is Rapid Release and even some of our favorite kitchen tool brands like Blendtec, they have refurbished products that are less expensive. You can also do payment plans. I don’t know if brands like Blendtec offer that, but a lot of companies have some payment plan on that. I know Rapid Release does. As we touched upon in our last episode, it is important to consider your financial situation. We certainly don’t want to encourage anybody to go into debt or to stretch themselves quite outside of their comfort zone. In general, the whole point of doing this show is to encourage you, the audience, to go to a certain degree outside of your comfort zone to see if you feel better from it. That can be true with making new decisions to your routine or investing in things financially.

It’s interesting how money comes up so much when it comes to our self-care. A lot of us will use money as an obstacle like, “I can’t afford that.” Sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out your priorities and we believe that self-care should be a priority. It’s like with fitness, Jason, when you were talking about the obstacles you face around discipline when it comes to working out at home. I face that too. What I did for my quarantine fitness routine is I have to put it on my calendar. As I would with going to a yoga class in person, if I’m going to attend a virtual yoga class, if I put that on my calendar and say, “I’m going to do it at this time every day or every other day, whatever my routine wants to be.” It helps me get into the rhythm of it, which starts to release some of my mental obstacles around it. The same thing can be true with your finances. If something feels expensive to you, but you want it, start saving up for it. There are so many ways that you can save money. You can put things in a piggy bank if you want.

You can put aside money in bank accounts. You can create a savings account for certain things. You can use tools. Mint.com has features where you can be reminded to put money aside. There are so many different ways that you can save money. It adds up quickly. Thinking of it as a reward. When we were talking about quarantine fatigue here and how we have to measure out risk versus reward, remembering that there are things that are good for your long-term health that you can reward yourself with too so that it becomes something that feels valuable to you. I know that I’ve often struggled with the finances of things. Even my yoga practice can often feel expensive, but I know the long-term benefits of it are good for my mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. I prioritize that in my finances.

It’s an interesting conversation of what we choose to invest our financial resources in because one of the gifts that I’ve been reflecting on through this quarantine period has been that all of my necessities are met. All of my needs are met in terms of having a refrigerator, pots and pans and all the kitchen equipment I would need and having music and animal companions. It’s been a real break. Looking at my own level of materialistic tendencies of not wanting to buy any more clothes, not wanting to buy any more kitchen stuff. Looking at rather the spell of constant materialism that seems to drive our economy. One thing it’s funny that I am looking for is a new guitar because at the beginning of this it’s scary financially. I sold my old guitar. Whitney remembers I had a period in March where I was looking around going, “What do I not need?” My guitar was one of those things.

As part of this conversation of where do we want to spend our money and what are the long-term benefits, I’ve been going around to different guitar shops since we reopened here in LA and playing guitars. I spent over an hour at a guitar shop, playing guitar after guitar and having fun with it. I found one that I really like. It’s a lot more than I had thought I wanted to spend. It’s not an egregious amount like you’re going to need to mortgage the house to get that guitar. It is more than I thought I wanted to spend. Every single time I’ve picked up that guitar in the store that I’ve gone to, something about it feels right. The vibration of the body when you hit a chord, the way it feels in my hand. I’m in that whole mode of like, “You need to think about this is a time of great economic uncertainty and you love this thing, but is it a necessity? Not really, maybe it is for your mental health. I don’t know. Let’s hold off and not do it until you get clear about whether or not it’s a good choice.”

A plus side to the event being canceled is that the money that you were going to put towards that event could be put towards the guitar instead, Jason, if you’re looking for a silver lining.

That’s an interesting point. I hadn’t considered that. The dualistic nature of so many things, Whitney, isn’t that interesting? On the one hand, we started this episode off feeling bereft about the cancellation of this event that we love every year. All the attendant tentacles from that, not seeing our friends on the East Coast, not seeing family, all of those things. On the other side, and you and I were joking and conversing about this before the episode started of like how much money every single year I certainly spend on flying to shows and conferences. Sometimes the organizers cover that, but sometimes it’s out of my pocket. We did go to San Francisco at the beginning of the year and I went to New York and stuff like that. It’s going to be close to nothing in terms of travel expenses, which year after year, that’s a high budget I’d say with the amount of traveling I do. Unless something drastically changes by the end of 2020, to your point, the travel budget is next to nothing.

Ensure that you’re taking great care of your body so that you can release all the stored up emotions, tension, and stress. Click To Tweet

This part of the processing that we need to go through and taking the time to reflect. In that book I referenced, Healing Through the Dark Emotions is what it’s called. The big takeaway that I had, even though I haven’t finished it yet, is sitting with discomfort and uncomfortable feelings. Instead of trying to numb ourselves, tuning in to how we’re feeling, and all the different ways that we’ve been talking about in our episodes and tuning into our self-care. Remembering that we have so many tools at our fingertips. It can be as simple as making sure you’re hydrated and eating high-quality food that can have a profound, almost immediate impact on how you feel. Moving our body, making sure that we’re taking great care of our body, whether it’s through massage or maybe taking a bath or relaxing our muscles so that we can release all of those stored up emotions, tension, and stress. Having conversations with friends and digging in and processing the way that Jason and I do in most of our episodes here. Not being afraid to face our grief, our fears, our despair, that might feel so heavy.

It’s turning towards them as opposed to turning away from them and trying to numb ourselves or distract ourselves from it because ultimately, we have to face them. The book even talks about how those emotions can end up causing health effects, like physical manifestations of our emotions, if we do not face them. That’s interesting too. That’s one of the big benefits of doing bodywork is that you’re releasing stuck emotions or doing yoga. Certain yoga poses, especially when you get into your hips, you can release a lot of intense feelings.

Sometimes that stress we start to grip certain parts of our body and we’re not even aware of it. The more that we can tune into ourselves mentally and physically, the better we’re able to face these tough times and acknowledge them. Give ourselves that self-respect instead of trying to pretend that it’s not happening or get to a point of denial so much. I appreciate that you opened up to me about your sadness and how you’re being very genuine in your emotional reaction to this news. Whereas some people think like, “It’s not a big deal. We’ve got bigger issues in the world to face and so I’m going to pretend that I don’t feel that way.”

Bypassing or compartmentalizing isn’t serving anyone right now and that can come in so many forms. You talked about one form of bypassing of minimizing an emotion or feeling or a challenging emotion. It’s like you said, “There are bigger things going on. I’m not going to let myself feel sad.” We’ve also talked about toxic positivity and that’s also a form of bypassing of like, “No. High vibes only. It’s all good.” We see a lot of that on social media still. One thing we can do for our health right now because we do believe the mind, the body, and the spirit are connected. There’s a symbiotic relationship between these levels of wellness and self-care. If we are emotionally bypassing or not allowing ourselves to feel what we’re feeling and own it and not try and make excuses for it or diminish it or minimize it, then that as far as my understanding goes toward preventing trauma from being stored in the body. One book that I’m familiar with and I’ve read some stuff out of is The Body Keeps the Score and how trauma can be stored in our tissues and our cellular memory.

We mentioned this briefly on the episode with Jason Green, the second episode we did with him about somatic experiencing. One of the most beneficial things that I’ve done with my therapist, who also has a background as a bodyworker is not just getting to the psychological side of trauma, healing, and dealing with our issues. The fact that, especially as we’re younger and we don’t have a way to contextualize or compartmentalize things mentally or fully understand them, we store shock, pain, and trauma in our bodies in specific areas. Through that work and you’re talking about getting to the issues in the tissues, a lot of the trauma that I discovered was stored in my abdominal region, in my heart, and my lower back. I’ve had gut issues my whole life. I’ve had some heart issues. I’ve had some stuff with my lower back. Going to these specific memories and working them on a cellular level, it’s like, “That’s where my body decided to store this stuff because I didn’t emotionally process it and allow myself to feel it as a kid.” It’s interesting how interrelated all of this is.

MGU 86 | Quarantine Fatigue

Quarantine Fatigue: Discover what works well for you. Go outside of your comfort zone and get ideas for your self-care and wellbeing.

 

It’s a journey to discover what works well for you. For me, I love learning through reading. I read books and articles. I like to process them out loud with my friends, my loved ones. That’s part of the biggest joys I have with doing this show is it’s healing for me and I hope that it’s healing for the audience. Getting new perspectives and getting ideas for your self-care, your wellbeing, and being encouraged to go outside of your comfort zone. For me, I have learned that I have the ability to change very quickly and reconsider things. A lot of people though are afraid to change and do things differently because it feels very comfortable to stay the same. Each of us has a different relationship with discomfort. Sometimes we avoid it. Sometimes we embrace it. We face it head-on. It’s okay wherever you’re at, as an audience. We’re not here to shame you or tell you what’s right or wrong. We don’t believe that there’s a right or way to do things. It’s wherever you’re at this time and we hope that these conversations that we have give you a lot to consider. We’re grateful that you’re here and you’re open-minded, you’re openhearted to each of it. We also want to let that we’re here for you.

As we wrap up this episode, as we try to do with the end of most of our episodes to remind you that you can always reach out to us and be part of the discussion, there are a few ways that you can do that. One is to go to our website, which is Wellevatr.com. Not only do we have the show section, but we have resources there. We have free PDFs, all about different elements of wellbeing. We have videos you can watch. Those are all free. Blog posts that you can read. A newsletter you can subscribe to if you want to get reminders about our show episodes and other resources in your inbox. On the show section or even the blog section, there’s a comment element there. You can go in and, and share your thoughts on things.

We genuinely love to hear from you. We hope that you do comment. The more that we can learn about you, the better. We talked about this in an episode. We want to know where you’re at, who are you, what are you going through and what are your feelings? What have you learned? What has been helpful to you? Not only does that help us as podcasters, but it helps other people that are checking out the comments section. The same thing goes with social media. We’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, even under @Wellevatr. That’s our brand name. You can reach out to us there, connect with us, follow our comment, and you can also direct message us on most of those platforms.

If you have something you’d want to say to us privately, we’d love to hear from you. You can also reach us via email at [email protected]. We want you to know that you’re not alone, that you’re supported. We’re here for you. We’re doing this for you as much as we’re doing it for ourselves. The more that we can connect with you, the more joy we feel, so we hope that you take advantage of that. Also, there are resources, as we mentioned in every episode. If you want to read the books we’ve referenced, check out the articles, check out products that we talked about, like Canopy Verde and Rapid Release, we have a discount code. If you click the link in our resource section, that should automatically apply for you. You can also use the code Wellbeing, and that’ll apply a discount for you. If you want to save a little bit of money, as many of us do, we’re always doing our best to get you some discounts and freebies, whatever we can do to make it easier for you to feel your best. Jason, thank you for having this conversation with me. Is there anything else you want to add?

Two things, I want the audience to know that we don’t ever expect you only to give us “positive praise or positive feedback.” If you have something constructive or perhaps certain topics you’d like us to focus on or dive deeper into, don’t feel any pressure that some people feel like I can only give positive feedback and positive reviews. It’s certainly not opening the flood gates to the trolls right now, but we want to hear from you directly and what’s going on in your life. Whenever we get those personalized emails or those personalized direct messages, as you’re giving us a glimpse into some of your challenges or discomforts or struggles, it is a way that we get to know you on a more intimate and deep level. We absolutely love that part of this.

I want to agree with you there, Jason, and that’s part of getting uncomfortable. We did receive one piece of feedback months ago from someone who is praising Jason but wanted us to know that they didn’t like it when I interrupted you, which is ironic because I did interrupt you with there. We are certainly growing as podcasters. As I said in my reply to that person, I was grateful to hear that feedback. I’ve worked on trying not to interrupt unless it felt like it was appropriate or necessary to. We’ve come a long way since our first few episodes. In fact, we upgraded our equipment.

Thanks to some of the funds that we received on Patreon from our wonderfully supportive community there who sends us a few dollars a month, that’s something we save up and we apply towards equipment and software. We use Dropbox, for example, which is a great service to upload our episodes too so they can be edited and that costs a certain amount of money every month. Now we were able to purchase some new equipment for ourselves and it greatly improved the audio quality. We’d love to hear feedback from you. We got something called a pop filter. Jason already had one, but the one that we got, do you feel like it’s different or better than the one that you had before, Jason?

Yes. The weave is different in terms of the mesh. I also think that by using these wonderful boom arms, it’s a much more direct line for my mouth to be in the directional microphone so it’s interesting. There’s the idea of having high-quality stuff, but then making sure you have the ability to use it properly. We’re super grateful for our patrons. We’re grateful for all of our fans, followers, and friends and all the encouragement, comments and ways that you support us energetically and financially to keep this message going so we can support people in getting clear, getting out of their suffering and becoming more self-aware as we, Whitney and I certainly, hopefully, you as well, dear audience, aim to have a more equitable, peaceful, kind, loving fair world.

A lot of people are afraid to change and do things differently because it feels very comfortable to stay the same. Click To Tweet

One other way that you can be of support in a very easy way is if you ever purchase anything that we recommend if you click on the links at Wellevatr.com, a lot of those are affiliate links. If you purchase something that we recommend such as Rapid Release or a book, we will often link to an affiliate platform. When you buy something, you will be sending a percentage of that to us, indirectly, meaning it doesn’t cost you anything extra. You’re buying that product at the price it would be, or even saving money. Like I said, with Rapid Release, we have that discount code with the word ‘Wellbeing.’ If you purchase Rapid Release, you get a discount and Rapid Release will send us money for referring you.

If there’s something that we believe in, we will recommend it. We never recommend something we don’t believe in. Part of the benefit is that it’s a way for you to support us financially and that helps us continue to grow as podcasters to make it sound better and better and to provide more resources for you. It all comes full circle in a way that we can give more back. As Jason said, thank you so much. We are grateful for you and look forward to connecting with you on social media, in the comments section, or having you as an audience, we will continue to bring you three episodes a week for as long as we can sustain it. Certainly, after about a few months of doing this, we have gotten into our flow with the show and it’s brought us a lot of joy. We’re nearing 100 episodes. This is the 86th episode, but 100 will be here before we know it!

That feels significant for so many reasons and yet also, still very much in the embryonic stage of this wonderful gift and, and certainly Whitney, I would want to say, you talked about bringing joy to ourselves and joy to others. We’re figuring this out as we go. We don’t claim to have any expertise or answers in life. We’re in the school of life, the game of life and the experience of this fascinating thing called life along with you, dear audience. We’re figuring all of this out in real-time so thank you for being on the journey with us.

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