#SWAAYthenarrative

Help! I Don't Want To Get The Virus!

4 Min Read
Lifestyle

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! I Don't Want To Get The Virus!

Dear Armchair Psychologist

I feel like I have to constantly disinfect everything because my husband doesn't think he needs to wash his hands after touching things — like change or after being outside!

I'm pregnant right now, and I fear for my safety and that of my unborn child. I think he is being selfish, and I'm tired of having arguments about this.

I might be forced to move out for a while until he employs the same hygiene standards as I do. How can I get him to understand my concern and frustration without him dismissing it as "paranoia/OCD?"

Dear Expecting & Disinfecting,

I'm sorry that you're living in fear. Being pregnant can also make one feel particularly vulnerable, and additionally, this time in history is leaving so many people, including myself, with heightened fear and anxiety.

Because of these fears and anxieties, we could also become extra vigilant, sensitive, or over-reactive. It is important to check in with ourselves to make sure this isn't what's happening. It is concerning that your husband undermines you, and it may be a good idea to engage a qualified therapist together and explore the underlying issues that may be at hand.

If your husband is not following the safety guidelines recommended, then he needs a reality check, because he is obviously putting your health at risk. It is well known that transmittal of infectious disease is much more likely to spread from a person you live with versus a stranger.

I recommend you use a gentle tone and share educational information about COVID-19 and the need for social distancing. Explain to him how it makes you feel when he doesn't take precaution. If his behavior doesn't change, then take drastic measures. If moving out is an option, it's a good one. Otherwise, as "Dr. Arthur L Caplan (professor and founding head of the division of medical ethics at NYU School of Medicine) recommends, make sure to "Minimize sexual contact. Don't share toothbrushes. Try to use separate things. You don't want to be hugging and kissing." He also advises to sleep in separate areas.

In short, tell your hubby "No Purell, No Hunny"

- The Armchair Psychologist

From The Anxious Opera Singer

Dear Armchair Psychologist

I'm single & live alone in NYC. My friend and running partner invited me over for drinks today after a run, and I declined as I am doing my very best to isolate as much as possible. I am on day-11 of my self-quarantine. We are both artists, and he tried to assure me that I would be fine citing that he'd hosted dance rehearsals in his apartment with a colleague.

I was firm in my decision not only because I want to remain healthy but also because I have an anxiety disorder and I know that the psychological fallout of having possibly exposed myself would consume my entire life for at least the next month. It's one thing to run eight feet behind him, but it's quite another to be in someone's space. I could see the hurt and disappointment in his face. I understand he might feel lonely or even depressed.

How do I assure my friends that I love and care for them while maintaining a firm boundary? After all, this can be a matter of life or death.

Dear Anxious Opera Singer,

I'm sorry that your friend is causing you to worry. It's not easy to struggle with an anxiety disorder. You're creating boundaries that are necessary for your mental and physical health, and it's admirable how you are managing yourself. You do not need to explain yourself to your friend about the whys and hows of your choice to social distance.

New York City has been hit the hardest in the US, and I doubt he missed the memo about staying home and not having dance rehearsals in his living room. It's normal to not want to hurt people you care about, but this is about you, your safety, and your health. There are many ways to support your friends and loved ones in this pandemic. For me, facetiming has been essential. While my BF could care less about socializing, I find myself slowly decaying and carrying my head around like a wilted plant if I don't get to socialize and receive stimulus from my friends. I have been on Google Hangout chats, I even had a failed charade party yesterday on Zoom, and am new to the House Party app, but it's lovely so far. All of this has helped keep my social bonds alive and also reminded my loved ones that I care. I recommend you sign up to whichever video chat works for you and get going by turning your friend's sad grimace into a smile when he sees your face (on a screen and not in his living room)!

- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out last week's installment or email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get some advice of your own!

5 Min Read
Career

How Fitness Saved My Life and Became My Career

Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da

If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.

In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.

These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.

After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.

About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.

When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.

Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.

Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.

Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.

This article was originally published September 12, 2019.