The New Normal: How to Weather the Storm and Stay Positive

Real talk, here. The gyms are closed, lean protein is in short supply, and the weather outside is crappy here in New England (SNOW?!?!).
How the heck are people supposed to stay on track for #TeamAssessment with so many disruptions and distractions?
For me, it’s about turning the negatives into positives. I’m a veterinarian, and our clinic is still open to patients who need us during these pretty lean times. I’m actually SUPER GRATEFUL to still have a job right now. I live in the tourist-frequented city of Salem, MA, and my friends with jobs in retail, food service, and small businesses are in serious trouble. As much as we may complain about “still having to go into work,” at least I’ve still got a job that’s willing to pay me even on a sparse schedule. This comes in handy when I go to the grocery store and the only pasta I can find is $4/box gluten-free stuff, and not the 99-cent store brand I usually buy.
My vet techs – Laura, Amanda, and Tracy – are awesome. We’ve turned into a little family of sorts here and are taking advantage of the school closure to get caught up on paperwork, inventory, some policy stuff, and cleaning. We have made some adjustments to our regular workflow to limit potential exposure to coronavirus, and that means we are not allowing clients into the building and rescheduling appointments if the pets are healthy or if the owners are not. With a slightly leaner schedule, we have a little running challenge going to periodically “drop and give me 20” during the day when we have down time – the four of us have taken to doing squats and pushups together and making sure to hydrate between appointments. It’s a little boost that makes us all laugh and bond a bit more even when times are strange.
I normally spend my Saturdays volunteering at the New England Aquarium and feeding Myrtle the Turtle, but now that the Aquarium is closed, I’m not supposed to go in anymore, and I have Saturdays free. Which means…GORUCK! I was able to participate in the A Shau Valley Light and the Star Sprint this past weekend and it was GREAT to have a couple of days of normalcy to take my mind off of all of the stressful changes in daily life. I can work out at home, too – I have a few rucks and a 50-pound sandbag and lots of bodyweight exercises, and I have a little figure-eight path that I can ruck along in my apartment – the curves mean I average about 25-minute miles, but it’s still something (and I can knit while I do it and not get the funny looks I get while I knit on the treadmill, haha).
Specifically, I’ve been doing the Charity Challenges Winter Push Up Challenge, about 80-100 push ups per day, to reach a goal of 5,000 push ups between the months of February and March. I just crossed 4,000 today and am on track to finish by March 31, and it has been great for training for the PT test for GORUCK Team Assessment. My favorite exercises include static overhead ruck holds, ruck thrusters, front ruck squats, ruck swings, ruck curls, ruck rows, flutter kicks, and weighted planks. I try to minimize exercises like burpees and jumping jacks because I have hardwood floors and downstairs neighbors.  I also throw in some 50# sandbag work for a little bit of variety and keep up with mobility by following along with Yoga by Adrienne on YouTube.
So, while things are definitely different, they aren’t unbearable. My heart goes out to those with children, those who are elderly or immunocompromised, or those who are unemployed or underemployed. Our clinic sees low-income patients as well as standard-pay patients, so it’s a really good feeling to be able to provide support for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. Otherwise, I’m just trying to be kind, be patient, and keep calm and wash my hands while the world spins around me, and all I can do at this point is stay healthy and continue to do my best to help others, friends and strangers alike.
Stay safe out there, everyone. When the dust settles, we’ll be a stronger community for it.

About the Author

Erin Turowski is a veterinarian and owner of two cats, Julius and Fancy. She completed her first GORUCK event in 2016 and is a member of Beantown Ruck Club in Boston, MA.


  1. Jaala says:

    Love this Erin, good on you! Your cats are cracking me up. Keep a positive mindset and #keeptraining !

  2. Peter says:

    Erin, hang tough! Thanks for this!

    We’re in Andover and LOVE Salem and the North Shore. So beautiful!

    Meet you out on Misery Island (funny, that’s what my house feels like these days) this Summer when this is all over!

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