H-Town Run Tourist

Practicing gratitude through 30 more days of social distancing

Photo by Wongyulee.

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. Read her blog, HTownRunTourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy

It has been over a week now that we have been ordered to stay home/work safe. Last night, we just found out that we can expect another 30 days of social distancing. It has been quite the adjustment with no end in sight.

But, if you take a couple of deep breaths and look closely, you can see how there is much to be grateful for. Here are the reasons why I have chosen to practice gratitude during the COVID-19 crisis:

Our focus is on the more important things.

Being ordered to stay home and only leave for necessities has made us aware of what is truly important. Making sure that we have steady income that we can do while staying at home and making sure we are safe and our families are safe has taken number one priority.

We have time to take our time and relax.

If you are anything like me, time is a precious commodity. The cause for a lot of anxiety for most of us is not having enough time to do the things we want and definitely not to do what we want to do well. I took all last week to catch up on much needed sleep. It has definitely been nice to take it easy and know that I am doing exactly what I need to do.

We have the time to make our health a priority.

How many times have you wanted to start that workout routine and something came up? How many times have you wanted to meal prep and run out of time? Because our days have less distractions, we have time to go for a walk, run, or bike ride outside. We have time to cook our own food.

We can let petty things go.

If someone has ticked you off or something upsetting happened, you have permission to let it go. Because we really have no way of knowing when and how this crisis will end, it just does not matter. If you find it hard to forget right away, don't worry, you have time to practice.

We have time to read, learn, and take courses.

There are so many podcasts that I listen to in my car, that I would love to sit down and take notes on and really take time to listen to them. I bet there are so many books that you have been meaning to read, but have not been able to start because you are too busy.

We have time to start that big project we have been wanting to start.

Whether it is spring cleaning, organizing the closet, or start writing your business plan, we all have one thing that we always wanted to start but never had the time. I have been working on a blog that I have wanted to start for over a year now. You can check it out. It is called HTownRunTourist. It is about how I got into running and why I started running internationally. It is not your mama's running blog. Although, it is not for everyone, I hope you enjoy it. Post are being released now.

We have the opportunity to start over.

Is there something about your life prior to COVID-19 that you wish you could change? Did you want to practice a habit like being better organized, you have time to do that. Personally, I need to lose some weight. You better believe it is one of my main priorities. Did you want to end toxic relationships? Now, you can. Use COVID-19 as an excuse why you didn't keep in touch and never look back. If it is not important now, it is not important.

So, let's choose relaxation over stress. There is definitely plenty to be grateful for. Let's start this practice so when we can get back to normal, we can hit the ground running!

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J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans all-time leader in sacks (96.0), is entering his ninth season with the franchise ahead of what will certainly be an anomaly year for the NFL. Due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, there is serious doubt that the NFL will be able to play a full 16-game schedule, while others express their concern with the league's inability to play any form of football come the fall of 2020.

There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the league this coming season, which is becoming a theme for Watt's future in Houston.

The 31-year-old defensive end has two years remaining on his six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in September of 2014. But as he prepares to embark on another year with the Texans through Zoom meetings with his teammates, a new contract is not on Watt's priority list.

"No, I don't think that's necessary," Watt told Houston reporters on Wednesday. "I fully understand and respect the situation that I'm in at the moment, and what's happened in the past few years, so I'm not gonna sit here and demand anything. I think if I went back and asked for an extension or more money, I think that would be the wrong move. I am just going out there to prove my worth and to help this team win games."

As of now, it is unsure what the future holds for Watt's career with the Texans. Should management re-sign the three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner (2012, 2014 & 2015), the question becomes: How much is Watt worth as he enters the twilight of his career? It's the subject that will be the driving force when discussing Watt's future with the team, and the segment that sparked a trade rumor of his departure to the Chicago Bears.

Although his on-field production remains extremely valuable, Watt has had a difficult time trying to stay healthy. Since 2016, he has missed 32 out of a possible 64 games due to an abundance of injuries. In 2019, Watt missed half of the season after suffering a torn pectoral during the Texans' 27-24 victory over the then-Oakland Raiders.

"My goal for every season is to do whatever possible to help this team win, and number one, that means staying healthy," he said. "You have to be on the field in order to help the team win, and then it is to play at the peak physical level I am capable of. It is just making sure I am in the best possible shape to perform that way."

Contract and injuries aside, the five-time Pro-Bowler is excited about his opportunity to play under new defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver. During his introductory press conference two weeks ago, Weaver said Watt will remain the focal point for the Texans' defense in 2020, but acknowledged getting the future Hall of Famer through 16 games remains a hurdle.

After four seasons serving as Houston's defensive line coach, the Texans promoted Weaver to defensive coordinator in January to replace Romeo Crennel.

"I love [Anthony] Weaver... I think that he has a great mixture of knowledge of the game, experience, but also personality to be able to handle the players in the room," Watt said. "To be able to inject some fun and excitement into meetings, practice and everything, all while bringing the knowledge necessary to run a good defense."

Under the guidance of a new defensive coordinator, Weaver may be just the coach to help Watt rekindle the potential that made him an All-Pro defensive end. Regardless of the uncertainties surrounding his future at the conclusion of his contract, Watt is hoping he will have the opportunity to finish his career where it started — in Houston.

"That is a goal of mine, and this city [Houston] has been incredible to me since I got here," Watt said. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I certainly hope that's the case."

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