I am completely taken by this image from the cover of this week’s New York Magazine. Hailing from part of Manhattan that was in the dark in the days after Hurricane Sandy hit, I find the stark contrast staggering. Before I go into my personal experience with the events of last week let me preface this post by saying that I am truly blessed. Yes, I lost power, heat and hot water. Yes, I climbed many flights of stairs getting myself, my husband, my dog, my sister, my mother and my sister’s twins out of TriBeCa. Yes, I had to move uptown and stay with family and friends for the week. Yes, my routine was disturbed and my internal rhythms were all askew. In light of the utter devastation in Staten Island, New Jersey, The Rockaways and other areas I got out unscathed. There was no flood damage to my home and after a few hours of cleaning and laundry things were restored to normalcy. My heart truly goes out to all of those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In the New Your area there are many volunteer opportunities and donation collection sites, I know I will be doing everything I can to help those in need.
As you might have gleaned from my last post- before the hurricane hit I did not believe the hype about Sandy. Doug and I had planned to ride it out in our apartment drinking water from mason jars and playing Muppet Monopoly by candlelight. After what felt like days of waiting, when the power went out at 8:30 Monday night we turned on our lanterns, broke out the snacks (my new pumpkin pie recipe featured heavily) and began a heated game. For the record I won, Doug didn’t know this at the time but I NEVER lose Monopoly. Later that night we ventured down the stairs of our building with flashlights. Maddy needed to go out and we wanted to check out the neighborhood. The water was just about up to our corner, but seemed to be receding. The streets were completely dark save the lights of a few police care. It was eerie.
The next morning we woke up with no cell service and knew we had to migrate uptown. No one knew for sure but we heard rumors on the street that it could be days and days before the lights (and heat) came back on. We are fortunate enough to keep a car in the city, and even more fortunate that our garage was open and our car was accessible. We alerted my sister of our plans to head uptown with our stuff and then come back for her, my mom, and the babies. Early that evening after many many flights of stairs, two trips from TriBeCa to the Upper East Side, two loaned portable cribs, and the generous help of my mother and brother in law, we were all settled at my father and step mothers apartment.
The next five days were a lesson in adjusting, coping, and gratitude. While it was unsettling to be out of my routine, away from my home, and sharing a space with family I am not used to living with I made a huge effort to create some sort of normalcy for myself. Once the mayhem of the initial move was over I was able to focus on trying to enjoy this break in my routine instead of fight it. After all, I was much better off than many people affected by the storm. Here were the main things that helped me get through Hurricane Sandy, they may seem simple or trite but to me they were the difference between a healthy week and completely falling of the wagon.
Move My Body
I made sure to pack workout clothes in my “go bag” before leaving home. Luckily the Upper West Side and Upper East Side SoulCycle studios were open with many extra classes to accommodate displaced downtown riders. Each day I walked either up or across town to get my fix. Being able to spin not only kept me from feeling lethargic and gross, but also cleared my mind and made sure I had 45 minutes of pure pleasure each day. There is a good reason I am a Soul addict- it works!
A Little Help From My Friends
I have many friends who also live downtown and were similarly displaced last week. I made a point to make plans with as many of them as possible. Whether is was a quick smoothie date, a stroll with a friend’s baby, a dinner date, or a shared SoulCycle class seeing my friends throughout the week was incrediblly therapeutic. Sharing stories of what their neighborhoods were like also helped remind me that EVERYONE was dealing with this, not just me. One close friend walked 120 blocks round trip several times to check on her East Village Apartment for fear of looters. Stories like this made me snap out of my self-pity mode and tune into some serious compassion.
Green Juice is Sacred
My daily intake of green juice is a no compromise, sacred ritual for me. In the four plus years I have been drinking green juice I have barely ever missed a day. Green juice keeps my body hydrated, alkaline and flooded with vitamins and nutrients. There was no way I was going to let Sandy stand between my daily greens and me! Fortunately this city is well populated with places to get my green juice fix! During the course of the week I frequented both The Juice Press and Juice Generation many times. Neither of these shops have locations near me so it was fun to change it up and try some new juice!
Allow Myself to Rest
With the high intensity of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday come Thursday afternoon I was exhausted. I had spent days carrying bags and babies up and downstairs, walked much further than I do in a normal week, and had been trying extra hard to keep busy to pass the time. After my morning workout on Thursday I was EXHAUSTED. Usually when I am tired I can push through and rally, but this time I did something different. I gave myself permission to rest. For the remainder of the day I sat on the couch, read and watched bad television. It was delicious. A very welcome break from my normal high pace.
Tune In to The World Around Me
Anytime I was feeling frustrated, cranky or just homesick I would be sure to turn on the television or read the newspaper. Stories of the damage outside of Manhattan quickly refilled me with gratitude. When so many are suffering it quickly reminds you of how very good you have it. Doug is in the business of emergency relief and on Friday was working on putting together teams to provide aid to the most affected areas of the city and its’ surroundings. Listening to his stories of the damage and devastation his teams came upon made me so appreciative that all I lost was a few nights sleep in my own bed.