According to my Instagram feed, everyone is on an at-home workout kick — and I can't relate.
Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to leave my tiny apartment in Manhattan behind to self-isolate with my parents in Massachusetts. Since then, my routine consists of taking my dog for a walk after work, returning to a glass of wine in the kitchen, and binging TikToks in prime couch-potato form.
Anxious, cooped up, and frustrated with my lack of motivation, I hit peak grouchiness one day as I sat on my back porch, desperate to be out of the house.
I randomly projected that energy onto an overgrown pachysandras bush planted in our yard by the previous owners. My mom and I always planned on removing it but never had time to tackle the big job.
Plucking stems quickly turned into a game of tug-of-war with the ground. I had no idea that pachysandras are a nightmare to extract — the roots create a complex web deep under the earth.
I grabbed a shovel, put on my work gloves, and went to town. I came across an old stump, grabbed a hammer, and started breaking down the rotting base so it could be covered with soil and grass.
Three hours flew by. In an unexpected, meditative state and clear of thoughts, I worked out all my pent-up energy until I hit a wall.
I only made a small dent in the garden, but I felt accomplished and very thirsty for a glass of water.
The next day I woke up sore in ways I've never felt before. I was beyond confused.
How did the back of my legs hurt from top to bottom? My shoulders, back, and arms all ached in the best way.
I realized I had spent multiple hours doing squats, lifting pounds of dirt, hammering wood, shoveling, and raking with heavy metal tools.
It turns out that gardening was more of a workout than the fitness YouTube video I was neglecting, teaching me that prioritizing physical and mental health doesn't have to look the same for everyone.
The pachysandras bush has gone from an eyesore to my retreat.
As I continue to practice social distancing, my new hobby gives me purpose and a goal to work towards, helps clear my mind, and keeps me in shape.