62: Take a Freakin’ Sick Day

February 18, 2021

How we deal with taking work ‘home’ during a pandemic, taking time away from work, pandemic judgement, thoughts on Crossfit’s silence, and some steps to manage anxious thoughts.

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email: thisisjoyandclaire@gmail.com

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This is Joy & Claire Episode 62: Take a Freakin’ Sick Day

Audio Length: 47:26 minutes 

Joy: Hey guys. This is Joy.

Claire: And this is Claire.

Joy: And this is Joy and Claire. Welcome to another week. And maybe some new listeners. I always wonder if we have new people listening.

Claire: Yeah, if you’re new, come say hi to us. Leave a review. Send us an email. Write us.

Joy: Send us some presents.

Claire: We’ll send you some presents maybe for being new. We’re more than half way through February. It feels like February always flies by after January goes really slow. Although time doesn’t exist anymore because we’ve all just been inside for 100 years.

Joy: We’ve all just been floating around in space.

Claire: As always. How’s your week going? It’s been so cold in so much of the country. We here in Colorado are used to this happening from time to time, but a lot of places are not used to this happening from time to time, and it’s been a real tough week.

Joy: Yeah, real tough week. Well, first of all, I was going to ask you on my way home today. Do you ever take work home with you?

Claire: I work from home.

Joy: No, no, no, no, no. Let me rephrase that. Not take work physically home with you because you’re physically home all the time. I should say, do you let work stay on your mind after you “punch out” for the day.

Claire: Oh yeah. It’s really hard for me. Okay, so here’s the thing I dislike the most about working from home. I’ve seen a lot of studies that very much cooperate this is my work day feels longer, but at any given moment I feel less productive. I can sit down here in my little office from 9-5, but inevitably if I go upstairs and make some lunch I’m going to end up talking to the kids for a little while or helping out with something or unloading the dishwasher. And while when I was in an office and hopefully will return to an office sooner or later, it’s not like I just sat down at my desk and didn’t stand up for eight hours. I would wander around, go say hi. If I was on my way to a meeting, I’d stop by someone’s desk and go to the kitchen.

Joy: And you’re at work.

Claire: Yeah, and you’re at work, but it’s not like I was eight uninterrupted hours of dedicated work time. But it feels more pronounced when I’m at home, so then I feel like, well I didn’t really work a full day, so I should log back on at night. So maybe not most days, but often I will then work – I will sit here at my desk from 9-5, and then I’ll get back on and finish things up from 8-9. And then last night because it was a long weekend, because we’re recording this on Tuesday, have had this meeting –

Joy: Not for people who work in healthcare.

Claire: I know.

Joy: I miss working for the government. There’s days where I’m like – I mean, the government had every holiday off, yeah.

Claire: Yeah, so the company that I work for is actually based out of London, so they’re really good about honoring regional holidays. We have offices in 11 countries around the world, so they’re really good about honoring regional holidays because I don’t know Egypt has its own holiday. So we get all of the little holidays off. But I have a meeting that is with some much higher ups that keeps getting moved around and some of the people in are Dubai and so I had this horrible, irrational fear that the meeting had been moved and was going to be first thing this morning and I wasn’t going to know about it. And of course, that fear didn’t enter my mind until 10 o’clock last night, so I got up at 10 o’clock, came downstairs, checked my email to make sure nothing had been moved. It’s like, come on. 

Joy: Yeah. It’s one of those things where I was just driving home and I was like, I just, something happened right before I left that kind of stuck in my head that is really kind of other people’s crap, and it’s so hard. I had to take a moment because it gets in my head and it almost feels like a headache but not. Definitely not a migraine, but just where you’re kind of ugh. I try to be really good about letting that crap go because it can stew. You make stories up in your head when you get home about why things are happening, and it just doesn’t do anything for me or for any of us. I was just like, I’m sure other people do that. But especially in the pandemic, I thought of people who are working from home that you can’t really shut it off when you’re done for the day because it’s always there or how do you draw boundaries around that. I know a lot of people have good practices about having separate spaces. But what if you live in an environment where you can’t have a separate room for work?

Claire: Right, that was my life until a month ago.

Joy: Exactly.

Claire: It’s hard. I don’t really know. I don’t have good boundaries. I feel like my boundaries are very much around, I try really hard even if I’m thinking about it, I try not to bring my work laptop upstairs anymore. I have a separate work phone and personal phone so I don’t ever have my work emails on my personal phone. I learned that from my previous job where I put everything on my personal phone and was just like, it was horrible.

Joy: Yeah, I have a separate work phone, and I turn it off on the weekends.

Claire: But people are always like, “You know you can get work to pay for your phone if you would just combine them.” Yeah, that is not worth it to me. I will pay –

Joy: Nope, it’s not worth it.

Claire: I will pay my $100 a month phone bill to not have my work emails on my phone. Yeah, I don’t know.

Joy: Yeah, it’s not worth it. And I think that… even with my work phone, I had to set boundaries around the notifications. Even when I’m home, turning off email notifications so that it doesn’t pop up and give you the notification or preview in your home screen that you have such-and-such email because it was just driving me crazy.

Claire: Totally. And I think sometimes it helps me to just open up a Notes app on my phone and just dump. Like, okay, it’s 9 o’clock at night. And like last week, we talked about how I review tomorrow in my head, and I also review the day of in my head. And sometimes I’ll be like, oh my gosh, I totally forgot. Or shoot, I told someone I was going to get this to them and I didn’t do it. So I’ll just open up my Notes app and put that in there. And that I think is just a tried and true method for any tiny thing. Something pops in your head right as you’re falling asleep, let me just get it out of my brain so my lizard brain can stop being worried about remembering it and I can move on with my life.

Joy: Yeah, that’s just really hard. Anyone out there who works from home too that has that set up. I don’t know, anyone can really relate to that, where you’re just trying not to let it get to your head and take up your time.

Claire: And some jobs are easier and harder than other. Like Brandon, obviously he thinks about his cases and stuff after the fact, but there’s literally nothing he could be doing from home. And so for him, it’s really black and white. When you’re at work and you’re in surgery, you’re in surgery. When you’re at home, there’s nothing you can do. You can think about it or whatever. Versus for me, it’s like yeah at any given moment of the day, at 3 in the morning I could be doing work. 

Joy: Yeah, that’s true, that’s true. I think it’s really hard too in behavioral health because you think so much about the patients that are really struggling, and could you have done more. And blah blah blah. Anyway. If work is important to us, we’re going to think about it, but how do you shut it off when you go get done for the day.

Claire: I don’t know, I also feel like it has so much to do with your corporate culture, so there’s some of it that you just can’t control.

Joy: That’s so true.

Claire: Like at my last job, it was really glorified to work all day and be answering your emails all the time. I was getting calls from clients at 5 in the morning and at 8 o’clock at night. And now at my job –

Joy: Oh my God, you were a stress ball at that job.

Claire: That was horrible.

Joy: Oh my God. And it totally is the culture.

Claire: Yes. It was the culture, and people would be like, “Oh my gosh, I was emailing him at 10 o’clock last night,” and it was like, “Ooo, you were up until 10, I should have been up until 10.”

Joy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That martyr thing of I’m working the hardest. It’s so bad, it’s so bad.

Claire: I remember one time my boss – this was towards the end of me working at this job when I was like, I don’t want to work here – my boss was so sick that she could barely even talk on the phone and she was like, “Well, I’m going to take this call from my bed. I’m just sitting in my bed answering my emails.” I was like, take a freakin’ sick day.

Joy: No. Take a sick day.

Claire: And that was when I remember thinking, what do I want out of this job? I was like, I don’t want to move up. I don’t want my boss’s job. She’s miserable.

Joy: Yeah, exactly. And that was the culture at my previous job where you were expected to work 80 hours a week and just be so out of control workaholic that that was really glorified. And when I came to Kaiser, it was such good boundaries. You’re not expected to work at all hours, and you actually can’t because you’re working with patient information so you can’t access anything from home. Well, managers can, but you know what I’m saying. So I just think the thing that hit me too was in 2020, and I realize that I have a position that I’m very lucky that I get to earn time off and I get vacation days and I get sick days, but I recently was on the phone with our HR person and I was talking about some other things that I had going on with my HR account. I had some questions. And she was like, “By the way, you’re not earning PTO right now.” And I was like, “What?” She’s like, “You’re maxed out on PTO.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” She goes, “Yeah, you stopped earning PTO in December,” which thank God it was only a month, but if I hadn’t had asked. First of all, I knew that there was a cap, but I was like, for sure I haven’t been in the company long enough where I’ve capped out at PTO. But because 2020 we didn’t go anywhere, we didn’t take days off, I was like holy crap. So I immediately started scheduling days off this month because I need to start earning it and taking my days accruing it again. But it just kind of hit me too that wow, I also equated – and this is kind of a given – but I equated taking days off to going somewhere as opposed to just taking time for yourself. And because we can’t go anywhere, you still need to take time for yourself and you need to unplug from work. So that’s where I also kind of attribute to me getting sick because I was just working and not taking time off, not taking care of myself.

Claire: it wasn’t even occurring to you.

Joy: It wasn’t even occurring to me. So that was another wake-up call.

Claire: It’s interesting because our business, the company that I work for, their initiative at the first half of last year was that every single employee of the company of 11,000 people had to take 75% of their PTO before the end of the first half of the year to get the cost of unused PTO off the books. And that was one of their measure to not have to lay people off. So all of us took like 1-2 days off a week for two months basically. And my company I work for has really generous PTO. If you’ve been with the company for more than a couple of years, you get like 20 or 30 days of PTO a year and in Colorado you can roll over up to another 40 hours of PTO or 35 hours. So some people have like 40 days of PTO. To try and just use that incrementally  over the course of two months, I mean 40 day is 8 straight weeks of PTO. So anyway.

Joy: You’re like, “See you later.”

Claire: Right. And so I did have to take a bunch of PTO, but it was not relaxing at all because basically we more or less were told, you still have to do your job but we’re only allowing you to work four days a week. So everyone was taking these random days off.

Joy: Yes, so then you’re doing more in less amount of time, and that stresses you out too.

Claire: Right. And I go into this with Brandon sometimes about being home and being a mom and I think a lot of parents and just people in general deal with this is that he’ll be like, “Okay, go do what you need to do. Go to the gym, go for a walk, go get your eyebrows waxed, whatever.” I’m like, yeah but if I leave the house for an hour and then come back and have to make up for that hour that I was gone, it’s not relaxing for me to be gone. If I come back and the kitchen hasn’t been cleaned, whatever, I have to feel like I’m making up for that time. So it’s the same kind of thing. These days off aren’t relaxing because I have to come back – it just was very scattered. So of course I will take any day over having been laid off, but it was just, wow, this is not relaxing and yet there goes all my PTO>

Joy: Yeah, exactly. And I think that was my purpose too of not really taking PTO last year is I’m like, “Where are we going?” So speaking of going places and traveling, I’m going to bring up a little petty topic, but I have a hard time – and I’ve probably said this before – but I have a hard time seeing people on vacation. You know, I’m sure there’s protocol and things people can do to really be safe. One of my friends mentioned to me recently, now’s probably the safest time to travel because they’re disinfecting like crazy. I’m like, yeah, that’s true. I don’t want to say more safe. I don’t have actual, factual data about that, but in theory you could say yeah, it’s probably more safe because they’re disinfecting like crazy.

Claire: Or just as safe as it ever was.

Joy: Yeah. But I see people traveling, and my immediate gut reaction is how dare you, that’s so selfish, we’re in a pandemic. And then I saw this news story on our local news last night that, I don’t know, maybe it was national. I love Lester Holt with Nightly News. I love him so much. “I’m Lester Holt. Take care and…” whatever. So he –

Claire: Whatever it is.

Joy: Take care of yourselves and each other, I think it is. And it was a story about this fire department who I think they were put on leave or something. They had some type of –

Claire: Like a required sabbatical or something.

Joy: Yeah, I don’t know if they were fired. 

Claire: Or not sabbatical, furlough.

Joy: Right, on some type of punishment if you will because they were all posting online that they traveled internationally.

Claire: Oh, not a furlough. They were suspended.

Joy: Suspended, yes, yes, yes, yes. Some type of consequence let’s say because they were traveling together and they were all posting this online on Facebook. “Hey, we’re having this great…” I think it was a weeding they all went to and they traveled for. And I was just like, woah, that’s really a big deal to have that type of consequence, whether it be suspended from work or whatever, when these are fire fighters traveling for someone’s wedding. Plenty of people are doing that, but why are they being singled out. But then it made me think. I talk to a lot of my friends who are adamant about not traveling, and then I have a couple of friends who are traveling like there’s not a pandemic and I secretly judge them.

Claire: It’s not a secret, we all know.

Joy: It’s not a secret. I don’t name names.

Claire: You anonymously judge.

Joy: I anonymously, yeah. My gut reaction is, we’re in a pandemic, we can wait to travel. But on the other hand, I’m sitting here watching – okay, this is another thing I have to get to by the way. Don’t let me forget about Mike Birbiglia’s joke about parents in the pandemic versus people with no kids in the pandemic.

Claire: Okay.

Joy: You’ll laugh really hard. But I think about Scott and I just being so antsy to go somewhere and do something. But I’m like, everyone else is in that boat. So do you take a trip for your mental health? Or those types of things I toss around. At the end of the day, all I can think of is I would not feel good. I wouldn’t feel like I was – we’re in a group project with the entire world, and I want to be the person that’s actually trying to help the problem of this freakin’ pandemic that’s been going on for over a year now.

Claire: I know. I mean, I think I see it a little bit less intensely than you do.

Joy: You mean traveling?

Claire: Yes. Probably. I can see a lot more – I personally see there to be other reasons and angles where I’m not like – it doesn’t feel as black and white right now as it did in June or May. And I think that there are smart ways to do it. I think that there is also, however, the reality that a lot of people are traveling COVID positive knowingly. People are putting strain on communities that don’t have a lot of resources. So those are the types of questions I think people need to be asking. But I think we’re at the point where – and I think a lot of people would argue this about a lot of the decisions that have been made and a lot of the things that people have been told not to do. What’s that balance between your mental health versus living by the rules? And I think for you, you’re a real rule follower. 

Joy: Totally.

Claire: And so for you it stresses you out to think about doing something that is not in the rule book.

Joy: Yes.

Claire: And for you it would not be a stress reliever to go on vacation. You’d be stressed out about not doing vacation practically.

Joy: Yes, and all I want to do is share with my friends and post it on Facebook and take beautiful photos, but the whole time I’d be like, “I’m being judged for traveling.” First of all, it’s not that I care what people think. But I also think I don’t want to be a part of the problem, and I don’t want to be perceived as part of the problem. So it’s like that whole Gretchen Rubin Four Tendencies. My tendency is to be, what is it? An obliger?

Claire: Yeah, the one that’s like okay, rules? Got it. I will follow the rules.

Joy: Rules? Got it. I will follow these rules.

Claire: I think that there are at this point, that there are more and safer and less safe ways to be traveling if you are. I think there is a fairly safe way to do it. Nothing is completely safe, and of course there are a horror stories abounding. I haven’t clearly gone anywhere. But I don’t know, I wish I had. I wish I’d been able to go somewhere. Where is the first place you want to go, other than LA?

Joy: Hawaii. I would take the first flight to Kona. I just want to be on a beach. Here’s where I’m at mentally. This is so stupid. I need to stop doubting my own thoughts, but it just feels dumb in the whole grand scheme of things. But the other day I was craving sunshine on my limbs so badly that I was contemplating going to a tanning bed, which is, A, so not sanitary and, B, – I might as well travel if I’m going to a tanning bed. I might as well get on a plane at that point, right? And it’s also very not good for your skin. But I was so – I was like, I need sunshine. I don’t care if it’s fake. I need rays hitting my body. And that’s where I was at.

Claire: I felt that way about being submerged in a body of water. To the point where I was like, I haven’t submerged myself in a body of water since summer 2019. So we went to a hotel for our anniversary, and I jumped in the indoor pool, and I was like, “This is what I needed. I needed warm water over the top of my head.” You know?

Joy: I just need something. I was day dreaming about swimming in the ocean and going to our favorite beach. I was going there in my mind. I know exactly how it feels, the exact place.

Claire: I think I’ve been struggling, too – I think we talked about last week hitting the pandemic wall, but I’m starting to think of, you know, we keep talking about, “Oh when we went to LA. That was our last big hurrah.” That will be a year next week.

Joy: I was thinking about that.

Claire: And somehow hitting that milestone was like, ugh. 

Joy: It kind of hurts my stomach to think about how, yeah, we’re not going to go down that plan because I will talk for days about that trip. And everyone has heard it, pretty much ten times in the last two months. So let me talk really quickly about the Mike Birbiglia comedy show that we virtually went to. If you’re not familiar with Mike Birbiglia, he’s a comic. He’s amazing. He has a ton of comedy specials. He’s been around. I think he’s my age, in his early 40’s. So he’s been around the comedy scene for quite some time. If you have never seen The New One, I believe it’s on Netflix. His special called The New One is fantastic, especially if you’re a new parent. It is the most beautiful show that I’ve ever seen. He did it in New York. He had a show there for months, and he just did that.

Claire: I haven’t seen it. I’ll have to check it out.

Joy: Oh my God, Claire, you would love it. It’s so good. It’s so good. It’s all about how him and his wife decided whether or not they were going to have kids and what happened when they made that decision. It’s just so cute, so cute. I actually want to watch that tonight. So he did this virtual show on Zoom, and you bought tickets and they send you the link. So we’re in this virtual show with a thousand other people. I was like, oh my God, Claire, we could probably get like 50 people. But he charged like $25 a ticket, had a thousand people, and did two shows a night. That’s like $50,000.

Claire: That’s amazing.

Joy: That’s amazing. Anyway, not to compare ourselves to Mike Birbiglia because he’s definitely in a completely different class. 

Claire: I’m sitting here thinking, he just did that on Zoom? That is a logistical gamble.

Joy: But to be fair, he had an amazing set up. He had cameras. He had a team that was managing people who were going off mute. Because he didn’t want to hear laughter. So he wanted people to be off mute, but he was like. Hey, if you’re going to talk, mute yourself. I just want to hear laughter. 

Claire: Oh wow.

Joy: So it was really cool. Because we could hear everybody laughing. Scott and I were muted because we wanted to talk about the show. We didn’t want to be the annoying people.

Claire: That’s a gamble from an event organizer standpoint.

Joy: Totally. I was so impressed though because he had probably a group of 5-10 people who were moderating and would mute people the second they heard talking. So it wasn’t disruptive, but it was really cool because a thousand people you could hear laughter, you could see everyone on the camera at home. And then he would all of the sudden be like, “Put so-and-so on camera” or “on the screen.” So they would do that split screen, and they would single someone out, and there would be a couple there with their dogs. He’d say, “I love how you’re just on the couch with your dogs,” and it was just really cool and interactive in that way. 

Claire: wow.

Joy: But one of the jokes – he did this whole opening and talked to some people in the audience, and then he worked out some of his jokes. And it was really cool to see some of his process. He has a whole bulletin board behind him of ideas of jokes that he’s working on and how he’s going to work them together. But one of the jokes was called parenting in the pandemic. And I’m totally butchering it, but please just listen to Mike Birbiglia because I’m sure it will be on – he also has a podcast called Working it Out, which is fantastic. I need to take a breath. I’m getting really excited.

Claire: [laughing]

Joy: I just love him so much. He’s so, so funny. And it’s clean humor. He’s not like – I mean, dirty comedy has a place, but it sometimes makes you feel uncomfortable.

Claire: And also sometimes I’m like, is this funny or am I laughing because I’m uncomfortable?

Joy: [laughing] 100%. And it’s almost always I’m uncomfortable. Anyway. So one of his jokes is parenting during the pandemic. He’s like, “There’s two groups of people in the pandemic. There’s parents, who are like get me out of my house, get me away from my kids.” He’s like, “They’re climbing the walls.” And then he’s like, “And then you have the people without kids who are like, ‘I’m bored.’” He’s like, “And I haven’t been bored since the 80’s.” It’s so funny. I’m like, yeah, that’s true. I looked at Scott, and I’m like, “Yeah, we’re so bored.” And then there’s people like, “I hate you.” 

Claire: And I’m lying in a princess tent to hide from my kids.

Joy: That is accurate.

Claire: “I’m bored.”

Joy: “I’m bored.”

Claire: So true. So true.

Joy: It’s very true. Alright. I’ll give a quick health update because it will take five seconds. I’m feeling great, no changes. I am actually worried about going to get – I don’t know why I’m worried about this, but I’m treating it as a report card. But I have to get updated blood work just to see where I’m at, to see if it’s improved. And I’m really nervous about it to a point where I’m putting it off. And I should go tomorrow and just get it done. But my naturopath, last time I saw her, I think it was last week. I was like, “I’m nervous to get my updated blood work.” She’s like, “Don’t be nervous. It’s just data.” Okay. But yeah. Things are just going really well. They’re trending upwards. That’s all I’m going to say right now. Next time, hopefully I’ll have my bloodworm done and it won’t be scary.

Claire: I think that’s reasonable to be worried about that because it’s like – I think with anything medical – well, and going into this, you’ve had this experience of you can’t really necessarily trust what your body is telling you.

Joy: Exactly.

Claire: You feel better, and the last thing that you want is what if you get in there and they’re like, “Well, actually your labs went down” or “Your labs went back up.” Things are worse. It’s like, what?

Joy: Which I know it’s not because I feel better. Every symptom that I have had that I started with with Graves’ has improved. Every single one of them – I even look, like my face. I don’t know if you notice, probably because you haven’t seen me in person, but my skin kind of looked ashy. Like in some of my photos, I look back and I’m like, “I kind of look ashy.” And I feel like I have color back in my skin. Everything is going better, so I feel like that’s just a silly fear that I have that the western medicine doctors are going to be like, “Oh yeah, she’s doing naturopathic medicine,” but that’s just kind of where my head goes.

Claire: Well, that’s exciting. I don’t have any updates to give. No updates from me. Nothing has changed. What did you guys do – oh, you just talked about what you did. What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Oh, you just talked at length about that. We ordered Valentine’s dinner from the secret Vietnamese restaurant in Longmont where you can only order on Instagram and you pick it up from the back door of Tangerine.

Joy: Oh my gosh, yes. You’ve told us about this.

Claire: Yes. It’s not as secret as I’m making it sound. You know, the health department knows about them. But they’re great and we had their really fancy Valentine’s dinner and that was fun. Brandon got me some roses. I was like, “Brandon, I really appreciate this. And also, the next time you bring me home flowers, please don’t bring me just a bundle of uncleaned roses” because dethroning roses on your own is the worst. At a flower shop, if you work at a florist, you have a little tool that does it for you. But if you just get a bunch of unclean roses from the store, you have to – like, I cut myself. I had to wear a Band-Aid. I was like, well.

Joy: This is someone who, like a florist pro.

Claire: Like, I can’t just put them in water without doing it.

Joy: No, you can’t. It’s against your principles.

Claire: But it was lovely. And we paid Miles $5 to put himself to bed, and it kind of worked.

Joy: How did that go?

Claire: It was okay. We set him up with a Lego that he hadn’t started yet that we knew was well within his range of abilities. And he came out a couple times to show us how he was going with the Lego.

Joy: Oh God, Scott bought me that – I posted it on stories and then I totally bailed. He bought me the VW bus Lego set.

Claire: Yes.

Joy: Okay, everyone out there that doesn’t do Legos is going to make so much fun of me. But I am very used to the sets that have the numbered bags, if you know what I’m talking about. It has a set and it tells you, when you open the directions you’re going to start with bag number one. All of the pieces for the next 20 pages are going to be in bag number one. Bus doesn’t have the bag, and it’s like 1000 pieces. I’m like, I can’t do this. So the second I took it out, I was like, “Where’s the numbers on the bag?” I put it all back in the box, and I was like, I got to do this when I’m in a better mindset to actually sift through all the pieces to put this thing together. Maybe I just need to Google how to do it, but I’m just super intimidated. It’s really funny.

Claire: That is hilarious.

Joy: I’m also not a pro at Legos. So let’s follow up on some of the topics that people wrote about. And I think that it’s worth talking about for just a mere moment, not to stir up drama, but someone in the CrossFit world said, “This might be too much of a landmine topic” – and this is also a listener who I love dearly. They’re like one of my favorite people. They’ve written in quite a few times. “This might be too much of a landmine topics to navigate and may end up causing more trouble than it’s worth, but what’s the deal with how many CrossFit athletes are not wearing masks and are surprisingly quiet about recent political events? Would be interesting to hear about ties between the type of folks drawn to CrossFit or other high-intensity fitness and conservative leaning/the military, but that’s a beast of a topic so I totally understand if you’re like, ‘Mmm, no.’ LOL.”

Claire: I mean, it is a beast of a topic, but it’s something we’ve sort of talked about before. The truth is that a lot of CrossFit gyms originated with military families, police families, fire fighter families, the types of people who you might traditionally think to be more of a conservative background and lifestyle and who are more of those blue-collar professions. And also, in parts of the country, there were more CrossFit hot spots in parts of the country where Rich Froning lived in Tennessee and the southeast and places. Of course, it was very, very big in California. But I think you have somebody like Greg Glassman who started CrossFit and he is a raging libertarian, and that was kind of his circle. So not only do you have the aspect of it being, first, early adopters being heavily military, a lot of people in the different forces and then also the immediate expanding circle from the center being people who are very libertarian. I think those two factors mean that you do have a lot of CrossFit founders and a lot of people who were there at the beginning of the sport who are more conservative. What we have seen is that people who are more conservative politically have been less in favor of strict mask rules and less in favor of business closures. I think the other thing is that in a lot of states there are not mask mandates for indoor business. The business itself decides. In Colorado, it’s a mandate. Where you go, if you are going to be indoors in a public place, you have to wear a mask. It is illegal not to do so.

Joy: I just remember someone picked a fight and they were like, “It’s a law.” It’s not a law.

Claire: Even though it’s not technically a law, you can have legal repercussions for not following an executive order. Sorry about the loophole there. Even though it’s not a law, it’s still illegal not to do it. That’s Colorado. In California, they took it quite a few steps further and just said for the most part gyms can’t be open. And a lot of places in the country, they just basically said you can’t have gyms indoors. And a lot of places in the world, gyms haven’t been open for a year. I wish that we had seen more CrossFit athletes being vocal about their opinions, ideally in support of mask mandates and everyone wearing masks and all that kind of thing. But I also think that, and politically for that matter, but I also think there’s no incentive for those people to do that. For them, they can sit there all day and say, “This is a place for fitness and positivity,” and their followers would be like “Thank you for saying that. Oh my gosh, finally, somebody who says it’s just a place – “

Joy: “Finally, someone stepped forward.”

Claire: “Finally, someone stepped forward and helped – “

Joy: “No one’s talking to me about it.” That’s another thing. I can’t stand when people say, “Not enough people are taking about this.”

Claire: Yeah, “Not enough people are talking about we should just not talk about anything.” And I followed one, I even forget who it was because I just blocked it out. But basically, she was like, “Someone has messages me asking why I’ve been silent about recent events. I am a coach. It’s my responsibility to have a neutral platform and make it as a safe and accepting place for all.” I was like, I’m unfollowing you immediately. But that’s the thing.

Joy: Neutral?

Claire: Right. That’s the thing is they’re like – and her entire comment section was like, “thank you,” “finally,” and people being like, “yes, this.” Which we need to retire “yes, this.”

Joy: Yeah, we have to retire “yes, this” and “not enough people are talking about” –

Claire: I think that’s what it is, is there’s no incentive and that community is so ready to just be so affirming of people not saying anything. And also, they’re also so quick to be so judging of people, like, “Well, I can’t believe you would say something like this. I’m just here for fitness.” So it’s always the followers problems of people being like, “Stay in your lane,” and it doesn’t feel safe for those people. And I don’t think it’s right, and I don’t even want to go so far as to say I empathize with that, but if your livelihood is your Instagram account, then I could see how it would feel – maybe I can’t see how it would feel. I don’t want to make apologies or excuses for people who aren’t using their platforms to speak up about what they believe in, but if your livelihood is your Instagram account then your thought process looks a little bit different.

Joy: Yeah, for sure.

Claire: So that’s my –

Joy: Which I think is another problem.

Claire: It’s a huge problem. So problematic.

Joy: With, I would say, white women it’s a problem.

Claire: Oh, I mean, we are the worst.

Joy: Yeah, white women it’s a problem if they’re like, “I have to stay neutral.” I’m like, you don’t get to do that.

Claire: You don’t get to do that. You staying neutral is not being neutral. There’s no such thing as being neutral. There’s no such thing as not being political. If you are saying, “I just want to keep politics out of it,” that’s a political stance.

Joy: That’s a political stance. And you know, we’ve said this before. People leave comments or reviews, and when we started talking about politics last year – we’ve talked about it before, but we really got into it last year – is when we got the worst reviews. And really mean reviews.

Claire: Mean!

Joy: People being like, “This just turned political.” I’m kind of like, look, I’ve been called annoying, political, “Joy’s too political,” whatever you want to say. I’m like, I’m not –

Claire: I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry you feel that way.

Joy: I’m not sorry, and I refuse to be quiet about things that are important. I’m not going to be the white person that’s just going to, “I’m going to be neutral about this” because that’s a part of the problem. And if you don’t see that –

Claire: It’s also not my job to make you see that.

Joy: No. No, no, no, no.

Claire: And I think that there is this – you know, it is really hard, and we do have the position of this is not our full-time job. This is a hobby for us. We make very little money off of this. But also, we recently cut ties with the sponsor for supporting viewpoints that we thought were wildly irresponsible. You may have noticed you haven’t heard ads lately. We’re not in a position to be calling – it didn’t feel so egregious that we wanted to call huge attention to it. Whatever, it is what it is. You know better, you do better. You learn and you move on. I just think that there is so much to be said for the position that we’ve backed ourselves into by feeling like content creators owe us neutrality, and if you listen to someone on a podcast or you read their blog or you follow them on Instagram, this assumption that they now owe anything to you. But I think especially the feeling that people are like, it’s my right to get upset if you say things that I don’t believe in or you say things that I perceive to be against what I believe. And we’ve said this a million times, no one’s forcing you to follow anyone. But at the same time, people just get so mean.

Joy: Well, here’s what I would ponder is are they uncomfortable because that person is standing up for something that they have to think about? And I think there’s something to that. I’m not saying it’s every case, but I think there’s something to when all of the sudden someone you go to for pretty photos of cupcakes all of the sudden posts a stance about a very difficult political climate that makes you have to think about things and how you may be contributing to the problem. And I would venture to say – and I would like someone to prove me wrong, but I would venture to say that 99.9% of the comments of “stay in your lane” are from white people.

Claire: And we talked about this last time too, or two episodes ago, that cognitive dissonance, that feeling of not knowing how to process finding out that the world that you’ve lived in is not the world you thought it to be and not knowing where to go with that, especially if you’re in a community that also is acting and feeling that same way that you are. It’s a lot easier to lash out than it is to turn inward.

Joy: Exactly. And I want to read this post in a second because it was just so well said, just about racism and how people talk about it, or I should say white people talk about it. But I want to say really quickly about the CrossFit thing is I still don’t think they’re doing a great job of drawing attention or making posts or statements about what it going on in the world. They’ve talked with the new leadership, and I don’t know the new leader so I can’t say what his plans are specifically. And I’d love for people to write in about that. But I don’t see anything outright about what they’re doing to be a more inclusive space. And that concerns me because I don’t go to a CrossFit gym anymore. My gym is not affiliated, and that’s not the reason why I go to that gym. I go to that gym because –

Claire: We actually get this question a lot. People are like, whatever happened to CrossFit Jai. CrossFit Jai is just now called Rocky Mountain Athletics. It’s the same exact – 

Joy: Yeah, Rocky Mountain Athletics, yeah.

Claire: – gym that Joy has been going to this whole time.

Joy: Yeah, same thing. And I’m going to keep going there because I love the people, but they chose to make the stance of we’re not standing for this back when CrossFit was in the turmoil of all the shit show. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t go to a CrossFit gym ever again. I just don’t want to go into a space that isn’t a representation of saying, “We welcome everyone. Everyone is welcome here.”

Claire: So I feel like we didn’t open too big of a can of worms. I think there’s –

Joy: Yeah, the CrossFit van is gone.

Claire: Although it actually is driving to Boulder as we speak because CrossFit main office is in Boulder.

Joy: Okay, so let me read this post really quick. I saw this on – do you remember Malcom-Jamal Warner, everybody? Do you know Malcom-Jamal Warner? Theo from The Cosby Show. Anyway, he had this on his Instagram, and it’s from Scott Woods, and it says, “The problem is that white people” – and if you guys want to go to Malcom-Jamal Warner’s Instagram, it’s posted there if you actually want to see the post. “The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pullies set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know or like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people. It’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another, access is another, ignorance is another, apathy is another, and so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air. You take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There’s no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It’s a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.” [sigh] So good. Because the thing that I can’t stand is when shit hits the fan and everyone feels like they have to – this happened last year when I saw so many posts of people being like, “Look at this book that I’m reading” and a lot of white people drawing attention to themselves all of the sudden to be like, “Look, I’m not racist.” And it’s like, we’re living in a racism society.

Claire: Yeah, there was one that, I think it was Brené or Glennon, they posted and it said, “White supremacy is not the elephant in the room. It is the room.”

Joy: It is the room. So beautifully and simply stated. Yeah. So again, that was on Malcom-Jamal Warner’s Instagram. It is by Scott Woods. And I also just want to acknowledge because it is black history month. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts with black guests. My playlist is pretty diverse, but I really specifically loved the interview with Amanda Gorman on Hilary Clinton’s podcast this week. Hilary Clinton’s podcast is You and Me Both. And Amanda is just obviously an amazing human, an amazing artist, but the interview that she had was just beautiful. Along the lines of what your feed looks like, I really encourage you to not just during black history month but every day seek voices from people who don’t look like you. The other one that I have been listening to lately is Undistracted with Brittany Packnett Cunningham. It’s called Undistracted, so if you just search for Undistracted with Brittany Packnett Cunningham. She also has an awesome Instagram.

Claire: Okay, did we have any more questions to answer today?

Joy: Yes.

Claire: Let’s do one more short-ish one.

Joy: Let’s do one more short-ish one. This is a good one because it plugs into therapy hat. It says, “Can you do a podcast” – and we’ll just, we’ll cover it, we’ll do more if people want to write in with more questions – “how to trust others in dealing with negative thoughts. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this, as many others have experienced anxious thoughts. I’m wondering if you have any advice on dealing with the negative thoughts that run through your head or how to deal with trusting your anxiety over the facts in front of you.” So obviously 2020 has kicked all of our anxiety into high gear, and I think the best thing that you can do, if you have from 1-10 if you’re at an 8 with anxiety, meaning it really interferes with your daily life. You don’t have good friendships or you’re second guessing everything you say or you’re nervous all the time or you feel like you can’t do anything right at work, those negative thoughts really constantly run through your head. I would really encourage you to talk to a therapist because that’s something that you want to work on a little bit more strongly. I can’t give you a snippet of a tip in a podcast to be like, yeah, this is going to work for you. But I will say it’s normal. Being a human being, we’re going to be living with a normal level of anxiety. So it’s never not going to be there, but when it is there you just have to recognize it and do that mindfulness exercise where you can take it out and be like, okay this is something that I’m worried about right now, let’s break it down. What are the facts here? And kind of do the facts list of, is this true or am I just worrying about something that could for couldn’t happen? And I think that’s another thing is check the facts, and if it’s kind of just ruminating through your feelings you’re like, oh I’m just worrying about something that I’m not sure about yet, that’s when you want to say, alright I’m going to do everything I can, that’s actually not true, so let’s push that aside. And that’s kind of simplifying. I know it’s not as easy to just push thoughts aside. But really, if you’re thinking about something that’s like you’re just ruminating on it, try to sit down and just bare bones is it factual. And then the reminder that we can’t worry about the future.

Claire: One thing that I think about – and I’ve had diagnosed anxiety at multiple points in my life and also postpartum anxiety was part of my postpartum depression diagnosis – so again, we are using these terms. I always want to be clear about that. We don’t say, “Oh, I have such bad anxiety” because we’re nervous about an event. There’s a normal amount of anxiousness that a human feels leading up to a situation.

Joy: Yeah, situational anxiety is totally normal.

Claire: Versus a chronic, general anxiety that’s actually a mental diagnosis. Not to say that situational anxiety isn’t also difficult to go through, but what we’re really referring to is full-on anxiety. One thing that has weirdly always helped me is I’ve read a lot of interviews with people who had horrible, and I feel like this is from a Ted Talk as well, who had horrible, horrible things happen to them – and this might even be something that the Terrible, Thanks for Asking lady talks about. And you talk to these people who have horrible, horrible, horrible things happen to them, and what they say is no amount of worrying about this could have ever prepared me for what it actually ended up being like, and I wish that I wouldn’t have spent that time worrying because it just took away from that moment. But the reality, what happened was so different and so much worse than what I could have prepared for that what’s the point of even pretending that you can worry about the future. In a way, that sounds horrible of being like having a truly horrible thing happen to you is going to be so much different and so much worse than what you can imagine. I think that could be debilitating. But for me it actually feels kind of freeing, that no matter how crappy I let myself believe that the future could be, I can’t imagine what a true horrible tragedy would be like and so I need to just not even go there because to me that sort of relieves me of the duty of having to imagine horrible scenarios. Because it’s like the people who have been there have said you can’t imagine this.

Joy: Yeah, and I think the piece about anxiety is we are constantly worried about the future, the things that may or may not happen. That is very real. We’re always worrying about that, but I think of Brené Brown where she’s like – oh that’s what it is. It’s “worrying is not preparation” and I love that. Worrying is not preparation. You are doing yourself no favors by worrying about something. And I’m saying extreme amounts of worry. So I think of Brené Brown’s quote of you can’t beat vulnerability to the punch. Meaning, taking myself as an example, no matter how much I tell myself, “Okay, Cadet’s not our dog. She belongs to CCI. We’re just going to train her and she’s going to go off to training.” Like, I’m trying to paper myself to not lose it when we pass her off to advanced training. I started to do that preparing and trying to beat vulnerability to be like, “It’s going to be fine.” And I just had to come to the realization that it’s going to hurt like hell when we turn her in because we’re so in love with her that I’m just going to bawl my eyes out. I just have to come to terms with I can’t prepare it away. I can’t beat it to the punch. I can’t try to plan and tell myself all this narrative of like, “She’s going to be a service dog. She’s not our dog.” I tried to do that so much in the beginning, trying to prepare myself to be like, then I won’t cry. Because my whole goal in life is to not ugly cry because it scares me. But it’s just going to happen, and I just have to be okay with it. So we can’t beat vulnerability to the punch, we just can’t.

Claire: And for me, the phrase that I said a minute ago actually resonated with me when I said it, of “relieving me of the duty of anxiety.” It really feels like it’s my job, that I am beholden to this, that I have for some reason been signed up for this by some higher power to worry about this. And if I don’t worry about it, it could happen. Tina Fey talks about that in her book Boss, this really funny line that’s like, “Not everyone can control outcomes with their vigilance, but it’s my lot in life and I have to accept it.” 

Joy: That’s so true.

Claire: That’s how I feel, Tina Fey.

Joy: Sometimes people need a tangible thing to do. Sometimes it really does help to write it out and put it in a jar and put it in a shelf or burn it or something like that. But truly just know at the end of the day that we’re all walking around worrying about things that we care about and that it’s normal. But if you truly are at a level where it’s interfering with your daily life is when it’s okay to ask for help.

Claire: And I also think – I always like to say this – there’s no minimum prerequisite for going to therapy.

Joy: Oh, absolutely.

Claire: There’s no minimum amount of messed up that you have to be to go to therapy.

Joy: Right, right, right. That’s very true.

Claire: You know.

Joy: I’m just thinking in the terms of like, if you’re really not functioning. But also at the same time, therapy’s great for anybody.

Claire: And if you think, “Man, this might not be derailing my plans but I feel like I could feel better than this. I’m just curious to know if I have to live like this.” 

Joy: Therapists might be able to help you with that and give you some great tools along the way.

Claire: And you know, if not, then oh well. You know, as a reminder, you guys always feel free to email us at thisisjoyandclaire@gmail.com for help identifying therapy options in your area. We also have an Instagram highlight called “Therapy” and it kind of walks you through the thought process of how to find your first therapist or find a new therapist if you’re not sure where to get started. So please use this as a resource. And I actually was talking to a friend about this just today. She’s a new mom, and she’s just one of those very sensitive, emotional people. Which I know, you can’t relate to at all. And there’s some minor thing with her baby that she brought up kind of on a lark to the pediatrician. The pediatrician was like, “I’m sure it’s nothing, but let’s have this other doctor look at him.” And she was like, “What do you mean let’s have another doctor look at them?” And it put her down this whole thing. And while I’m sitting here trying to say, “Hey, rationally your doctor’s just trying to be thorough, and I’m sure if there was reason to worry they would tell you,” her brain is just thinking this lifelong illness, like we’re going to uncover brain cancer. What I had to tell her was, “Listen, we spend so much of our lives reading about conscious leadership and self-awareness and vulnerability, and we validate the crap out of all of our feelings because to heal our inner child from being told that it’s not okay to cry. But there are some parts of our lives when you need to just grab yourself by the shoulders and go, ‘Stop freaking out.’ Don’t validate your fear.” And you know, there’s only so much validating that you owe yourself. At some point you need to just go, “Hey, cut it out.” 

Joy: Yeah, knock it off. 

Claire: So, if that’s helpful for you, cut it out.

Joy: Just knock it off, yeah. And truly, maybe you are having the worst day. I love how we ended our last podcast because people really needed that. You’re having the worst day, and I’ve never heard of a worst day. You win the prize. 

Claire: You are having the worst day of anyone I know.

Joy: And we are celebrating you right now for having the worst day ever and maybe having the worst anxiety ever. You win the prize. But seriously, if you need help, email us.

Claire: Please.

Joy: We are very here for you.

Claire: Tell us now. Alright guys, well thank you for spending another week with us. Please leave us a review on iTunes, on Spotify, wherever you find us.

Joy: It really helps.

Claire: Please tell a friend about us. That’s the easiest way that you can help us is to get a friend to listen to us.

Joy: Let’s move up the charts.

Claire: Send this episode to a friend. Get them to listen to it. That’s a huge, huge, huge, huge help. And we are so excited to talk to you next week. We’ll be back. We hope that you will be too.

Joy: We will always be here.

Claire: We will always be there. Talk to you then.

Joy: We’re never going away.

Claire: Bye.

Joy: Bye.

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