Food, Exercise, and a Dose of Distraction to Sustain My Spirits During The Pandemic

Food. During this Pandemic it has taken center stage in our minds.  Those of us with money stand in line to gain entry into the grocery store. Wearing masks, we try to navigate through the aisles maintaining social distance, looking for our favorite snacks and treats. Those of us without money stand in line at churches and food banks for groceries—enough to stave off hunger for another week.  Food pantries ask for donations. Shelters pack meals for those who are living on the street.

We can’t easily share dinner with friends, too worried we might infect them with our touch or breath. So we eat alone or we eat with our inner circle of family day after day, week after week.  It is week number eighteen. In the United States of America we are currently losing the war against the coronavirus.  Over 137,000 have died in the United States from Covid-19. The Pandemic continues.

Like the little bunny rabbit that nibbles at the tall grass and garden in my yard, I nervously look around every time I go out for a walk or on an errand, trying to avoid oncoming strangers. And like that little rabbit,  I can run fast,  sprinting across the street when a crowd of people not wearing masks unexpectedly rounds the corner.

Back in the safety of my home, which I am fortunate to have, I can write out another check to send to the food bank and the homeless shelter, but it doesn’t sooth my anger at the state of our current world. What can distract me?

Pulling weeds helps. I channel some of my frustrations into yanking and digging. My husband Peter was kind enough to plant me a vegetable garden this year. In this garden we have future carrots, peas, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and radishes. Well I don’t know about the radishes, whether they’ll survive because the leaves are a favorite snack for the little brown bunny and his friend who visit our yard at sunrise and dusk.  I’ve also planted some herbs: basil, mint, rosemary, and oregano- to further enhance my marinades for food we grill.


Back to the subject of food, I think of pleasurable things to cook.  Peter does his part by doing the majority of the grocery shopping. Proudly this week he bought several bags of avocados. “Five large avocadoes,” he said, “For only three dollars and change.”  All ripe avocados, I might add, which means there has been a mad rush to think of ways to eat avocadoes. For breakfast we had avocado omelets, more avocado than egg. I did cook onions, tomatoes, and mushroom in butter first for some added flavor, but otherwise it was all avocado. For lunch Peter made guacamole. Just mash up the ripe avocado with salsa and chopped onion and you have a tasty dip.  Then for dinner I put avocado in our garden salad.  One of my favorite sandwiches consists of avocado, sharp cheddar, tomato, cucumber and lettuce on toast and that’s been a main staple this week.  Maybe next I’ll make an avocado smoothie.

As to how much weight everyone stuck at home is gaining, I’ve heard figures ranging from 15 to 30 pounds. Although I’m not going to a gym or studio for classes, I continue to work-out by taking the virtual classes offered by my friends at Chesapeake Pilates. At least twice a week I move the coffee table, roll out the mat and unpack the equipment. I’ve got weights, blocks, stretch bands and what is called a “magic circle” that help provide “feedback” as I do a series of floor and standing exercises. This is virtual instruction and the instructor is watching me, via camera. I’ve also heard from friends who are doing yoga and other work-outs via U-tube or something  pre-recorded on a website. Any and all work-outs are great, but it really helps to know that you are being watched, and that if the instructor sees you are doing something incorrectly, they’ll let you know.

Taking our dog Chloe for walks twice a day also helps. Unable to do the swimming he would like to do, Peter has been going for afternoon bicycle rides. To stretch my legs I choose a room to sweep and vacuum.  The knowledge that we have many more months to go before this invisible killer is brought under control depresses me.  The world we are living in is frightening. Uncertain. Election day can’t come soon enough for me. Time to begin planning a delicious dinner and to start yanking out more of those weeds.





Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Defunkt Magazine. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

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