Food for Thought #20: Adapting and Overcoming in a Pandemic (While Taking My Own Advice)

It’s probably the understatement of the year to say that 2020 has been challenging for millions of people around the country (and the world). I’ve had friends fall ill to a serious new virus. Thankfully, everyone I know has recovered so far, but how much damage it has done to their long-term health is still unknown. How much damage this novel coronavirus has wreaked on our mental health is also unknown.

I’ve written extensively about dealing with anxiety, weight gain, noise pollution (which could be an issue in a home now multitasking as a workplace, nursing home and/or classroom), and insomnia with elements of wellness design. I’ve even created and recently updated a FREE, home health Covid download!  It’s not an exaggeration to say that most of my writing this year has focused on the many ways wellness design can help you cope with the impacts of Covid-19. Not all, certainly, but most.

But while that’s been the impetus behind this post, it’s not the main point.

#Kili2020 has also been impacted by a global pandemic
(Photo: aromcdaid from Pixabay)


Adapting and Overcoming – A Painful Life Lesson

Maybe you saw the #Kili2020 hashtag on my Facebook page or Instagram posts. Maybe you read about this long-planned adventure in the introduction to my latest book. (I had no idea a pandemic was looming when I turned in my manuscript at the end of last year.) I already had to change the date from August to late December when the pandemic postponed our publication date from May 26 to September 1. I chose a December 21 trek because it’s typically a slow time of year for my business, it’s a week after my 60th birthday – what an awesome present to myself, right??? – and it would still give me plenty of time to get ready for the big trade shows in February. (I was recently selected as an International Builders Show panelist for the first-time ever!)

Darned if the trekking company I chose cancelled the December 21 trip and the CDC advised strongly against traveling to Tanzania for all non-essential travel.  I could still go with another company if I wanted to – but did I still really want to go then, and with a company I hadn’t researched or spoken to before? I had been training toward December 2020. But the virus. If I postponed, I’d have to keep training for many more months — who knew how many! But the virus. Was I really ready to go in a matter of weeks?  But the virus.

Without realizing it, the conversations in my head, accompanied by an iconic 1981 Clash soundtrack, had gotten louder and more stressful with each passing week and a difficult decision looming closer. I didn’t realize how stressed out I was until I spoke with two trusted friends – one of whom exhaled audibly when I said I was considering delaying the trek.

My best friend of almost 30 years on a Runyon Canyon hike was relieved when I postponed my Kili trek

I felt a relief from having made the decision to both wait until it was safe to go and not set a third date that might have to be postponed like the two before.  At the same time, I also committed to: 1) Staying in training mode; 2) Eating to fuel my training; 3) Improving my bedroom even further for sleep optimization; 4) Looking at other wellness design enhancements I can make at Chez J, my townhouse of 10 years, or 5) Deciding whether I want to buy a different place to live in this community I love.

Next Steps

So what are my next steps in this “adapt and overcome” adventure we call life? First, I’m going to take advantage of some coaching hours with a super-savvy Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach friend from my 2018 class to see whether my goal setting strategies that have worked mostly well for the past seven years need retooling for a new decade.

Then I’m going to look at whether I want to buy a single family home nearby. I love where I live, even though I think San Diego real estate is vastly overpriced. (When I looked at moving and couldn’t replace what I have here, I realized that some benefits are priceless.) Chez J 2 must have a yard. The pandemic has made me long for private outdoor living space. My townhouse has a postage stamp-sized patio without a gate next to my home office. I’d love a fully-enclosed space with high fence where I could entertain outdoors or even possibly host foster dogs while their parents are deployed.

I also want a more telegenic, Room Rater-worthy home office. Sure, I can redo this one, and may decide to do so if I stay put, but it would be awfully fun to create a new work from home space designed for new needs. I might even get myself the Herman Miller Aeron chair in my book!

This ergonomic desk chair from my latest book might be my next home office purchase
(Photo:  Herman Miller // Wellness by Design (Tiller Press) (c) J. Gold)

I don’t see Chez J 2 as being my forever home either. That will be a custom home within a Blue Zones-inspired community I develop long-term. And it will likely be single story, a nearly non-existent home type in my current neighborhood.

Thoughts for 2021

Like so many other Americans, I’m longing for a safe, effective novel coronavirus vaccine, but I won’t stop living in the meantime. I’ve had to adapt and overcome. So, probably, have you. There are lessons to be learned from painful experience, including that you’re more flexible and resilient than you thought possible. That was a good one for me to remember from my divorce a decade ago. (It’s amazing what we forget in a decade, isn’t it?)

I will, however, do everything I can to stay safe and healthy while this virus surges through my country, state and city. I’ll fortify my immune system with healthful food. I’ll continue coordinating my masks with my outfits when I leave the house, and storing them in a bag on the front door handle so I don’t forget one on my way out. I’ll continue seeing friends only socially distanced and only outdoors. Training hikes have been great for that, though I do limit myself to just one hiking buddy at a time these days.  I’ll stay as fit as I can with hiking, rucking, dancing and stretching. I’ll manage my stress with meditation, movement and sleep.

What do the next few months look like for you, your loved ones and your living space? Whatever you have planned, be prepared to adapt and overcome when necessary – and please stay well!



  • I wrote about showcase homes adapting and overcoming pandemic restrictions on Forbes.com this week. You can read that here.
  • In honor of Veteran’s Day, I wrote about one of my favorite charities creating wellness spaces for veterans’ families. That’s available here.


  • It was great fun talking about wellness design on the Party in My Plants blog recently. Here’s a link to listen.
  • Money Geek included a few of my tips in its Making Home Accessible post. You can read it here.
  • AARP shared some of my indoor air quality ideas on its blog. That’s available to all here.

Save these dates:

  • I’m going to be visiting with Ali Wenzke’s Happy Moments IGTV show on Thursday, November 19 at 7:30 AM Pacific time/10:30 Eastern to share wellness design tips. (I apologize for posting the incorrect date last week — you did not miss this segment!)
  • I’ll be giving a presentation on  YOUR HOME AND YOUR HEALTH — THE FIVE FACETS OF WELLNESS DESIGN IN A PANDEMIC AND BEYOND on December 8, 2020 at 11 am PST/2 pm EST, hosted by the Coronado Public Library. More details to come!
  • I’ll be speaking at the first-ever virtual International Builders Show in February 2021. My session description is live now on the IBS site! The dates are 2/9 through 2/12. I’ll keep you posted as my slot is scheduled.



I’m planning posts on creating a healthy, stylish poker room at home, healthy home holiday helpers and 2021 design trend forecasts on Gold Notes.  If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up at the bottom of this page. (Don’t worry, your info will never be shared or sold!).



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Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS,  MCCWC

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC
San Diego, CA

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