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Covid-19 Catharsis Corner

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

So….it’s been a week. Or is it a month? Maybe a decade? With the stranger than fiction reality that has become the norm lately, I have truly lost all sense of time.

Everything seems beyond my control. With social distancing and avoiding stores and public places as much as possible; with the news and media narrative engulfed in the statistics of death, illness, and economic hardship; with the constant worry that someone I know will get sick or I will be the cause of someone getting sick --my brain has felt like it has on fire from this epidemic. Frankly, I need a break.

And I don’t think it’s just me.

I have suffered from anxiety for many years in my life. In the past, one of the best coping mechanisms I have discovered is finding a new outlet or passion to focus on.

In response to the constant anxiety provoking situation we are all going through right now, I would like to open up a space on Citizen Jane for people to provide suggestions on new hobbies they are using to cope: the Covid-19 Carathsis Corner.

One thing I have recently picked up is learning more about the natural world around me. I am trying to be more conscious of my surroundings through myriad senses. I want to learn to be truly present and appreciative of the world I have. (Maybe I am becoming a “budding naturalist” :))

As part of this, I have started taking walks and utilizing this time to take pictures of the things I see. I am going to share some of them here to start off the space.


What have you all been doing? What ideas do you have for new hobbies? Are you baking or cooking more? Share recipes! Are you doing a new type of exercise? Singing? Dancing? Feel free to share what you are doing in any form you see fit. Perhaps your idea will spark a fire underneath someone else’s feet. We all could use it right now.

I will add all ideas, plus continue to post my own below the dotted line. If you would like to contribute, reach out in any way you see fit (Facebook, email at, give me a call, whatever floats your socially distancing boat!)



For our first contribution, my father has agreed to share two hobbies. The first is one we both picked up recently. We are creating a garden! We built (mainly him) a garden box to shelter in some vegetables. So far we have planted peas and radishes.

We are also growing tomatoes, broccoli, peppers and beans. We had to move them temporarily inside to the workroom in the basement (I swear it's not the Little Shop of Horrors!) due to the intense winds and rain earlier this week. We plan to transplant them within the next few days. So far the tomatoes and broccoli are showing strong signs of life!

His second contribution is one that I am extremely proud of-his path to running! I will let him put it in his own words:

Joel Solinski's Running Advice:

A bit over 5 years ago, I turned 50 years old. I was overweight, worked in a fairly high stress job and except for golf a dozen times a year leisured as a typical couch potato.

Heart disease ran in the family (father had two heart near age of 50) and I was doing nothing to prevent my own. All throughout my 40s I knew I was going to have to start doing something not to follow in my fathers footsteps.......but kept putting it off.....taking every last day i could before i turned 50 to actually do something about it.

On my 50th birthday I decided what I was going to do to change my lifestyle. I knew losing weight was my first priority in this journey and I decided to try to lose 40+ pounds as quickly as possible. I took two primary actions to enact that. First I gave up my problem food ice cream for dessert late at night. I also,and more importantly added in a commitment to walking at least 10K -13K steps a day. The change wasnt all that difficult; just needed to plan for my normal day to day things to take longer.

Made it a point to take extra steps whenever i could. Parked at far end of parking lot to train. Walked to far printer at the office. Took the long way to work from the train station, etc etc.

This went on for about 9 months and over that time I lost most of the weight. I had an app that counted my steps.....and on the day i hit 9,000,000 over a nine month period....I decided I was bored with it. I needed something new to keep me at or improve on my new weight and conditioning.

My daughter Danielle had run half and full marathons before but i never even put a thought to running at all ever. I had seen signs for this local 5 k and that run to raise money but had never thought once about actually doing a formal race. I decided to give it a try......I will probably hate it but i need something new.

One cold March morning I talked my daughter into setting me up so I could try to run a mile. As I think about it now a mile at the time seemed like 1000 miles. I am not in the shape to run a WHOLE mile....what am I thinking. This is crazy. I cant do this.

We walked to the end of the block.....and i slowly ran behind Danielle. (She had the watch on to measure out the mile so needed to be with her.)

12 mins later my lungs felt like they were going to explode. Somehow they didnt.....and thankfully i didnt keel over right there. But I had done it. I proved I could run a mile and live. I convinced myself that wasnt so bad. (Though i wasnt really sure about that). I told myself I will take a day off to think about it and try it again.

Somehow that mile worked too and it was even a little easier I thought.

I decided let me try and improve and go for a whole mile and a quarter. Lived through that next one too.

Danielle then also showed me a runners app. One that tracked my mileage.....but more importantly sent me an email CONGRATULATING ME on how wonderful i was for doing better running (farther/faster/whatever).

Three days later I am running a mile and a half....there’s an email....YOUR AMAZING....LOOK HOW FAR YOU WENT. Couple of days after that another mile and half but 5 seconds faster.....another e-mail YOUR INCREDIBLE LOOK HOW FAST YOU HAVE BECOME. Became addicting. I decided I would enter a 5 k (3.1 miles) 5 weeks later. Thought it would take me that long to “build up”.

(Decided I needed that app for all aspects of my life.....You did the dishes, walked the dog, rooted for your favorite baseball team better today...Your great...keep it up.....that make ego is quite the motivator)

With the ego building app and 3 weeks into it my lungs started to feel like they wouldn’t explode after a mile, it became almost a tolerable thing to do.

Three and a half weeks into the process actually went and ran 5 k distance by myself and only walked a little bit. Was shocked......I ran 3 miles.....I am amazing.....(10 months before I was 240 lbs and barely took 4000 steps a day.)

Couple of weeks later ran the formal 5k and came in 75th percentile......was shocked and quite pleased there could possibly be 25 percent of runners slower than me. I was like wow if I am faster than 25 percent.....I could find a way to be faster than 26 percent.


If I can do a up for a 10 K cant be all that hard.......and 5 weeks later I did a 10 K.

I decided then I would try and run a half marathon......and 6 weeks later on my 51st birthday (one year after my big decision) I got up very early and mostly ran 13.1 miles by myself in just under 3 hours. A month later while visiting my son in Detroit I completed a formal half marathon in 2.5 hours.

I thought that was going to be the end of it there. Just go back to normal distances or find something completely new.

But saw that the marathon race Danielle ran had a great deal. If you sign up to run the marathon in Kiawah SC, you cou