Energize Body and Mind for a Great Workday!

According to the CDC, getting physical activity can be a challenge while staying at home. However, it’s possible—and important—to be physically active while social distancing. Physical activity reduces blood pressure and anxiety and helps you sleep better. It can also help to improve mood and increase energy level.

Since March, I’ve been looking for ways to safely stay in shape. Initially, I set up an overly ambitious plan with sweeping goals. After beating myself up for not following through with my self-imposed regime, I had a talk with an acupuncturist at Blue Heron who told me to take it easier on myself and to start with walks over running, integrate gentle yoga, and to start taking short meditation or Qi Gong breaks when my eyes get overwhelmed with the computer screen. If I wanted something to spike my heart rate, doing a HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training — they make you perform explosive intense movements over short periods of time with an even shorter rest) at home could satisfy that need. 

Seven months later and -11 pounds and counting lighter, these are my top vetted spots for yoga, meditation, and HIIT. 


  1. – – My favorite (fee-based) streaming yoga website. Glo provides access to live classes; brows and searchable recorded classes with time filters from 5 minutes to over an hour; meditation; lectures; pilates; and yoga. – At $18 a month, I am able to do basic searches like “morning” and find a perfect 15-minute stretch session before I sit down at my computer. My favorite teacher is Elena Brower, but there are many to choose from, including local teacher Katherine Budig!
  2. YouTube is the best stop for free yoga. If you find a teacher you love, look them up on YouTube (ex. Elena Brower yoga yields this gem, along with an Adidas playlist of yoga classes)


According to Jeffrey Chand’s Qi Gong blog, Qigong, pronounced “chee gung” is an ancient Chinese moving meditation exercise that looks similar to Tai Chi, but is easier to learn and practice. Qigong involves:

  • body movement
  • breathing
  • mental focus and intention

It is gentle on the physical body, and can be practiced by anyone. While it has spiritual applications, Qigong is not a religious practice – so it is inclusive of all people and backgrounds.

  1. Qi Gong with Jeffrey Chand
  2. And my favorite: a Qigong energy routine inspired by Donna Eden’s Daily Energy exercises designed to wake up your body’s energies and get them moving in the right direction 

*I’m a fan of taking a quick Qi-Gong break after a long Zoom meeting!


This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. Note: these are tough. Be gentle with yourself if you’ve never done this type of thing. When I started doing these, I had to take a lot of breaks, and it was humbling. However, I’ve grown in endurance in a short amount of time, which is remarkable

  1. I started with this free HIIT video by Abnormal Beings 
  2. Access this free HIIT playlist and vary up your workouts from week to week

No matter what you do, make sure you are taking time for yourself at least once a day. Your body and your mind will thank you. 

Mobile, TLT

How to make a paper towel tripod: DIY tutorial

Need help filming yourself? No budget for a tripod? Kentucky artist and film teacher Kathleen Lolley and TLT’s Alea McKinley co-created a tutorial to teach you how to make a tripod for your cell phone using a paper towel roll. Safe, social-distancing was practiced during the collaboration.

Others, Self, Share, Uncategorized

Running During the Time of COVID-19

Three weeks ago, I decided to start running. Without my daily commute and general walking from building to building at the college, my body was craving movement. I tried some Youtube aerobics (remember Billy Blanks and Tae Bo) and just got angry at the lack of space in my house and the complicated footwork.  I decided to venture outside for a “ten minute blast” around the neighborhood. “I can handle ten minutes,” I thought, but my first timed round was excruciating.

Week one of running was just silly and hard, mostly because my body was in shock, but also because I just tried to run without stretching or looking into training. I thought, “I’ll just run around the block for a few ten-minute chunks to help with energy and stamina.” Ahhhh, wilderness! Thankfully I got connected with Jill Whisonant (photo below), a mentor at Summerville’s Fleet Feet, and she’s helped me set goals to safely begin running. Now I look forward to my morning runs without dread; I can honestly say they help a lot right now.

Two years back, Jill began taking her running more seriously and joined Fleet Feet’s 10K program to get more involved with runners locally. “[Fleet Feet is] a great resource no matter what your running experience,” explains Whisonant. “They just create a fun environment where people grow in the art of running and staying safe.” 

Over social distancing, Jill gave me a pep-talk and to-do list about how to safely start running. Here’s what she had to say:

1) Start where you are. Make sure you have shoes that don’t hurt your feet. ***Right now, you are able to purchase from Fleet Feet online and they are allowed to do in-store fittings still as well (***but you can also buy shoes online from your preferred store). It’s obviously at the customer’s comfort level, but they can do fittings outside or just social distance in the store, using extra precautions.

2) The thing that scares most people off [from running] is their breath. Initially, it’s not inherently easy to control your breath when your heart feels like it is beating out of your chest, so you have to find the pace that allows you to keep moving forward. And sometimes, that’s walking before you build up to the run.

3) If you start running without a plan, chances are you will get frustrated and quit. Take some time to understand where you are, and find the path that will get you to where you want to go. A great way to start is with intervals. This will help you find that comfortable pace I was referred to earlier.  Start with a 5-minute run/ 5-minute walk. If that’s too easy, increase your run time and decrease your walk time until you find what challenges you Try 6/4, 7/3 or even 8/2. Once you find that interval that is challenging but doable, start to increase the run time and decrease the walk time weekly. Start tracking distance. Run a mile, walk 5 minutes, run a half mile, walk 5 minutes, etc. Start with 30-minute blocks and go from there. You’ll eventually find that you hit a comfortable pace/stride and can go for miles and miles and miles.

4) Warm up before you run. Do some jogging in place, high knees, butt kicks and toy soldiers (see video below if the only “Toy Soldiers” you know is that song by Martika) to get warm.

5) Do some big holding stretches when you’re done running – that’s when  you’ll need to keep those muscles loose so they don’t tighten up on you as they cool down.

6) Depending on when you run will depend on how and when you eat. Everyone is different and this is one of those things you may have to learn about yourself the hard way. For runs that will be 45 minutes or longer, a light breakfast like a smoothie, some oatmeal or even a couple of eggs – nothing too much – should be enough to keep you going but not make you feel heavy.  

7) Staying hydrated will become part of your daily norm…it’s something you need to pay attention to all day, not just when you are running. Your body NEEDS water and when you start running, it needs it more. Set a timer on your phone so you remember to drink every hour. Pay attention to the color of your urine…it should be a pale yellow. That means you are well hydrated. Plan on bringing something to help you stay hydrated on runs lasting longer than an hour. You will need to replenish what your body is sweating out.


8) I think it’s important to note that not everyone loves running and that’s ok too. Find something that you enjoy doing, so that you are able to keep yourself accountable to the activity. It doesn’t matter how far or fast anyone else goes. This is your journey, measure your progress and cheer for your wins! For some people, running comes naturally, for others, like me, it doesn’t. I was lucky enough to find a tribe of people that encouraged me every step of the way, but it took me a l-o-n-g time to understand your level of dedication is what will determine your final outcomes.   

For online motivation, Jill suggests following Fleet Feet. “They have a lot of virtual running activities that are helping to keep people active.” She also follows a group on Facebook called “Run Like a Girl.”  “People will post questions or their own personal triumphs,” Whisonant says. “It’s fun for me to follow. Finding people that have the same enjoyment, struggles, and passion will help you keep your head in the running game.”




Fiction Friday: SOTA grads flex their acting chops in “Exeter” podcast

When I met George Ducker on the steps of St. Phillip’s Dorm (now referred to as Berry Hall), he told me that one day he would be a paid writer and “the doctor of rock-n-roll.” Fast-forward to present-day, Ducker, who spent his first (and only) year at CofC back in 1998 (I call that a “Quarter-Grad”), is now living the writing dream. In addition to that PhD in rock that he is still working on, Ducker is one of the writers for “Exeter,” an increasingly popular podcast that has now spanned two full seasons. Set in rural South Carolina, the cast includes Kevin Robertson (’99), Robert Seay (’99), and David Thomas Jenkins (’02), all friends he met at the CofC School of the Arts. (George Ducker – image below) 

According to Phoebe Lett of the New York Times, “If you love a ‘Law & Order’ marathon and binged ‘True Detective’ in one go, ‘Exeter’ might be your new favorite podcast. This police procedural follows Colleen Clayton (Jeanne Tripplehorn of ‘Criminal Minds’), a tough-as-nails homicide detective whose trust in her own judgment is shattered after a woman she convicted of murder 10 years earlier is exonerated. Bad timing for an existential crisis, since a ritualistic serial killer is terrorizing her home of Exeter County, S.C.”

I first listened to “Exeter” on a road trip. I’m a huge fan of murder mysteries, and this podcast made the majority of my 10-hour drive from Charleston, SC to Louisville, KY melt away — it’s really that good. And sure, I’m biased because my dear friend co-wrote it and actors I know and love are in it, but that’s an even bigger reason to listen. Listening to “Exeter” not only made me proud, but it took me back to my theatre days here at the college when we all sat on those second floor Simons Center couches dreaming up big creations and exciting futures. Our theatre professors gave us the tools, spaces, and freedom to create, and those comforting walls of the Emmett Robinson and Theatre 220’s blackbox space birthed playwrights, actors, directors, and designers that continue to work in “the biz” today. I imagine a lot of today’s theatre students are feeling unmoored, mourning their disconnection to those theatre spaces and classmates that every CofC grad holds so dearly in their hearts. Having worked with some of these instructors to transition to online learning environments, I know that they are rising to the challenges that Covid19 is presenting and working hard to continue the connection with their students. Thank goodness for the tech that is enabling these students to see and interact with their instructors and friends. And thank goodness for the arts and the people creating the stories we find ourselves disappearing into as we maintain our social distance. (Seay and Jenkins – images below)

In an article for the LA Times, Jeanne Tripplehorn recalls “recording ‘Exeter’ in what she called a ‘black box in Burbank,’ the cast used microphone packs instead of staying behind a desk, which she says added more life to her performance. ‘It was very modern, it felt very fresh,’ she said. ‘If we did a scene where we were sitting in a car, we would stand up and get out of the car. Or if we fell, we’d actually fall,’ she said. ‘I think it will help the listener to really lift it off the page so to speak.’”

Screens can be exhausting, especially now that we seem to be in front of them most of the day. If you want to give your eyes a break and get lost in a story (and feel some CofC pride in the process), give “Exeter” a listen. Not only can you access it (in most places) for free, but there are now two seasons available.

Find it on Sundance Now, Podchaser, Spotify, Audible, Apple… Pretty much anywhere you find podcasts. According to Audible Feast’s Best Podcast Series of 2018, “there is also additional content available to Sundance Now subscribers, called ‘dynamic captioning, a process by which visual elements are added to underscore emotion and enhance the tension of this gripping crime mystery.’” *Youtube (free) and Amazon (with a Sundance Now trial period) also stream this dynamic captioning content.

Contact your friendly TLT team member if you have problems finding or listening to this or other podcasts!