One of my favorite sayings is “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  Coronavirus is happening to all of us. We can focus on all that we are no longer free to do for the foreseeable future and let that take over our mindset.  The uncertainty can be anxiety producing. The “Safer at Home’ restrictions can lead to depression and loneliness. The need to adapt to new ways of being can be stressful. Those are all legitimate and normal responses; and they can drag us down. Pretending we aren’t experiencing this doesn’t make these mental and emotional health challenges go away. What I urge you to do instead is to acknowledge them and then set them aside for a little while. Put them in an imaginary box and leave them on the shelf.  

Commit to freeing yourself from this negativity for 30 minutes. Commit to yourself that you will spend half an hour focusing on all that you are free to do. Remind yourself that you are free to think how ever you want. Then, engage your body to help you feel even more free.  Step outside and pay attention to your senses.

You are free to look around. You are free to listen. You are free to smell the roses. Think about how much pleasure your senses can deliver to you. Then, start moving. Free up your body from being stuck indoors, from the stiffness of sitting around, from the physical effects of any negativity you were experiencing.  As you start to move, notice your joints loosening up, the air filling your lungs, the wind and sun on your face.  Take a moment to appreciate the freedom of the moment.  Think about all that you are free to do. 

Turn a casual walk into a liberating experience in the face of the Coronavirus.

You are free to move forward physically, emotionally and mentally.


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Leslie Gold

Leslie Gold, Founder and Executive Director of Strides in Recovery Leslie is an RRCA-certified running coach who specializes in training the newly sober. As a volunteer at a residential addiction treatment program, she has coached hundreds of people in early recovery across the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon, more than any other coach in the country. Years later, many of the participants still credit the group training and life lessons learned as critical to their long-term sobriety. Inspired by these success stories and numerous testimonials about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of training for a challenging endurance event with the support of a team, Leslie started Strides in Recovery. The mission of this non-profit is threefold: 1) Bring running/walking-based relapse prevention programs to more recovery communities 2) Strengthen and grow the community of sober runners/walkers 3) Educate addiction treatment providers about the healing power of goal-oriented group training Prior to starting Strides in Recovery in 2018, Leslie spent three decades leading clinical and financial performance improvement projects, implementing decision support solutions, and generating analytics for hospitals and health systems across the US. She holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Virginia. She regularly runs 40-50+ miles/week and has joyfully completed a 50K, 9 marathons, and numerous shorter distance events. She is also an avid cyclist.

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