March 23, 2020
Together Stay strong

Quiet moments are hard to come by these days. Our electronic devices seem to be screaming at us with updates on that wicked and annoying Coronavirus that has left us with an upside-down world. Not only are the headlines filling the air, but so are your children’s voices, which can prove difficult, if you’re a working mom like me.

As a writer, I am blessed to work from the comfort and quiet of my home. If I feel like it, I can take my laptop and wander into a coffee shop that offers just the perfect buzz and atmosphere to stimulate my creativity. Today, neither of these locations are an option.

With restaurants and small businesses turning their open sign to the closed side, perhaps indefinitely, my local coffee spot isn’t even an option. And even if it was, as much as it pains me, I personally wouldn’t set up shop there. Not until things have settled down at least. And sadly, who knows when that will be.

So that leaves option B, which, for so many of us, is the only option. Work from home. Attempt to work from home may be a better way to put it.

Hanging at the digs with my three-year-old and six-year-old is no picnic. Yes, there are fun moments and heartfelt moments and silly moments that I treasure. Yet, it seems that every ten minutes is comprised of either an argument, an injury, a snack request, a complaint or the sound of something breaking. Giving your undivided attention to your loved ones, work commitments, and those to-do list items is close to impossible right now when we are surrounded with the uncertainty of our jobs, our children’s education, our health and the health of our nation.

But onward we must go.

So here we are, setting up make-shift work areas, taking note of our paper good and frozen food supplies, while trying to lay out a schedule in this new normal we have been forced into.

We feel like we are running around like crazy, yet it’s our minds that are doing the running. A load of uneasiness is bursting within our four walls and a roof.

Like many people, when I’m stressed, there is one remedy that I turn to and it’s exercise. For me, it’s a sure bet. One I’m happy to place because I always win.

Walking through the doors of my CKO gym puts me at ease because I know that with every strike I’m about to throw I will obtain strength of both body and mind. It is a gift I give myself. Right now, for the health and well-being of their community members, the doors of CKO Kickboxing gyms across the nation have been shut, but I still attend class.

Many CKO gyms have taken to virtual exercise. This week, my own CKO in Cary, NC, for example, has a Facebook Live class every morning at 9:30 am and will continue to do so during this time. If I can’t make it, I can access the video any time I want to.

I was overjoyed at this. I grabbed my husband to help me move our coffee table out of the way and that’s all there was to it. I was ready for Tuesday morning’s class.

On a dry erase board that I bought way back when for a New Year’s Eve couples newlywed game (corny, I admit!), I wrote out my kid’s schedule for the day. There was time for play, learning, chores, art, and exercise. Next to 9:30 AM, I wrote C-K-O.

Yes, kids. Mama was doing CKO today. Join if you like.

And they did.

After a while, their short-attention span took them elsewhere but I stayed committed. I joined Thursday morning’s virtual class again. As expected every ten minutes came an uncalled-for cry for help from the kids but I made do. I did jumping jacks as I gave a lecture on taking turns. I held a squat while I tended to a broken toy. And then, when all was quiet and calm again, I returned to the intense combo that my instructor was asking of me.

It’s tough to fit in a workout when you’re balancing work, teaching, childcare, a home, expenses, and the untraveled road that this pandemic has forced us to walk along. But exercise is more important than ever right now. It puts some sanity back into this insane time.

Isolation brings stress. Jobs and the thought of job loss brings stress. Health scares bring stress. And yes, kiddos (God bless ‘em all) bring stress too. Exercise is there to combat it all.

The high-intensity exercise session that CKO Kickboxing delivers reduces stress hormones while increasing those feel-good chemicals in your body and brain that help you feel centered and happier. We all need that at a time like this. Simultaneously, the full-body workout helps you both built and maintain muscle strength throughout your entire body and positively impacts your cardiovascular health.

With nowhere to go, it’s the ideal time to start CKO if you haven’t already. Beginning in your own home may be a great way to start, as taking on a new hobby or workout can be intimidating for some. When CKO gyms open again, you can walk in already ahead of the game.

If you’re already a CKO member, by continuing with your CKO regimen, you’re walking the walk, showing your kids your commitment to staying active and healthy. You’re also teaching them about the importance of commitment itself. As they watch you work out, they will witness your strength and determination. They may even join in, uncovering a strength they didn’t know they possessed.

Hunkered down in our homes, the virtual workout is a reminder that your CKO community is still there. As I work out, I find my eye drifting to the comments that that pop up. “Grateful for this class, Liz.” “Awesome workout.” “Thanks for doing this!” “Ready to work!” “I so needed this today!” My fellow CKO-ers are there. In their own living rooms or basements of course, but they are right there with me. Their words bring a smile to my face, further my motivation, make me feel re-connected and reinforce that we are all on this crazy ride together.

CKO has been my saving grace this week. It has been what I expressed gratitude for during our prayers over dinner (along with the health of my family). I may not be able to stroll into my beloved yellow and black place of strength right now, but the doors are still open.

We are only a week in with homeschooling and I’m still struggling. I’m finding it hard to be organized, to come up with activities, lesson plans and meals all while trying to find time to work. But I’m blessed that I have a job, that I get this time with my kids and that I can still CKO whenever I want to.


There’s nothing like hitting a CKO Bag, and soon, we all will be. Together. #STAYCKOSTRONG


Please reach out to your local CKO for their social media handles and links to virtual classes.

Kimberly Oley is a self-employed content writer and strategist who began as Contributing CKO Author in 2018.