Man working out with kettlebells at home.
Man working out with kettlebells at home.
Photo by Diego Lozano on Unsplash

The author Stephen King coined the term “gone nineteen” to refer to a moment when everything changes and reality is put on its head. The coronavirus pandemic changed life in an instant. Millions of people were out of work or putting in long hours while caring for their families and communities and feeling the stress of isolation. As the year wore on, women, parents, and people of color burned out at alarming rates.

There’s no telling when we might shift out of burnout culture. However, in some respects the brutal disruption to our way of life has helped us get…

A deflating ballon with a smiley face and question that asks how are you feeling?
A deflating ballon with a smiley face and question that asks how are you feeling?
Art by Sid Rhea

Keeping up with how much is written about burnout in 2020 is exhausting. I can’t tell you how many times I closed my laptop — or failed to open it — while researching this story, opting instead to take a walk. Walking in nature, by the way, is one of the simplest ways to combat burnout, according to Florence Williams, author of “Your 2020 Burnout Recovery Plan.” But this isn’t an article about walking; it’s about a complex societal problem, which did not begin with the coronavirus pandemic and has only worsened this year.

What follows is a distillation of…

Erica Valenzuela is the owner of E-motion in Arvada, Colorado.
Erica Valenzuela is the owner of E-motion in Arvada, Colorado.
Erica Valenzuela, above, is the owner of a new art-and-movement space in Arvada, Colorado. Image courtesy of Studio Amy Luna. Mural by Ruben Zilla.

These walls will soon be painted with the collective fear, anger, sadness, and hope of the greater Denver community. The first coat of oil-based love shown in these photos is the labor of thirteen local artists.

Erica Valenzuela, 33, is the owner of E-motion, a unique art-gallery-meets-gym space, opening in Arvada, Colorado, this month. The concept has been in the making since Valenzuela turned 19 years old. That’s when she asked her biological mother to tell her the real story of her adoption.

“Everyone in the family knew, but no one talked about it,” Valenzuela says of her in-family adoption…

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Photo by Megha Ajith on Unsplash

Together we ache,
alone we feel
to hear new voices harmonize,
we mobilize like born-again birds
who know a life
different and whole and beautiful.

In nature we soar,
but it’s been ages.
We can’t feel the rhythm
because we are busy,
always-on yet ever-disconnected,
in survival mode.

Breaking from broken systems, we want to be good brothers and sisters, partners, parents, citizens. Aspiring to be alive and well, we scroll past what we know to be true, it’s too much, it’s all too much. We must not stay in this rigid, unjust way of life. Just look…

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Art by Sid Rhea

For a while now I’ve been thinking about how the pace of life feels so intense, even if you like what you do. As Roxane Gay recently put it, “We are incredibly busy in that modern way where we overschedule ourselves and say yes to everything asked of us until we reach a breaking point, recalibrate, and repeat the madness all over again.”

When the pandemic lockdowns began to disrupt the fitness industry, I found myself working 12-hour days seven days a week on digital projects for my employer. …

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Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

A poem

What change is coming,
what day is this,
why do birds still chirp,
where is there stillness?

Told to rest, to distance ourselves,
yet we numb, we busy ourselves,
dreaming of whatever follows spring,
hoping for next Easter before this Easter.

We quarrel still,
we resist still,
we cannot be still.

What change is coming?

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Photo by Callum T on Unsplash

Years of working at home didn’t prepare me for this. The coronavirus has upended the rhythm of our lives, from the way we work to how we connect. So much about our daily routines has changed, and yet there’s still pressure to be productive, always on, at your best.

“This urge to overachieve, even in times of global crisis, is reflective of America’s always-on work culture,” writes Taylor Lorenz in The New York Times. Case in point: I’m writing this article on the weekend, opting to work after a long workweek, one in which I entered a new decade of…

Scott Quill

Founder of Nineteen. Past: Exos, Men’s Health, Esquire.

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