Even former First Lady Michelle Obama, who encouraged physical activity, has struggled to keep up her daily cardio during COVID-19.
“There have been periods throughout this quarantine, where I just have felt too low,” Obama said on Wednesday’s episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast. “You know, I’ve gone through those emotional highs and lows that I think everybody feels, where you just don’t feel yourself, and… there’s been a week or so where I had to surrender to that, and not be so hard on myself. And say, you know what, you’re just not feeling that treadmill right now.”
Obama’s guest on her show, journalist Michele Norris, commented that that was unusual for her good friend.
“It is unusual and it is, you know, it’s a direct result of just being out of, out of body, out of mind. And spiritually, these are not, they are not fulfilling times,” Obama said. “So I, I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression. Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting.”
Obama later returned to the subject of her husband Barack Obama’s presidential successor, Donald Trump, without mentioning his name.
“I’d be remiss [not] to say that part of this depression is also a result of what we’re seeing in terms of the protests, the continued racial unrest that has plagued this country since its birth,” Obama said. “I have to say, that waking up to the news, waking up to how this administration has or has not responded, waking up to, yet another, um, story of a Black man or a Black person somehow being dehumanized, or hurt or killed, or falsely accused of something, it is exhausting. And, and it has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life, in a while.”
The Becoming author said she tries to move through those negative feelings by focusing on the small things, reaching out to loved ones and sticking to a daily routine.
“Right around 5 o’clock, everybody comes out of their nooks and we do an activity,” Obama said. “Like puzzles have become big. Just sitting and doing these thousand-piece puzzles. The girls are just, like, into them. And we’re all sitting on the floor around a table where the puzzle is now permanently set up. And then we sit down for dinner and we talk some more. And then afterwards, the girls and Barack and another friend there, they’ve got a Spades tournament. So Barack has taught the girls Spades, so now there’s this vicious competition.”
She added that Sasha and Malia never would have sat down and learned a card game from their dad if not for the forced break.
Obama, too, is learning new skills out of necessity during this trying time.
“Not to put anybody out of work, but this time has taught me how to do my own waxing, do my nails…,” she said. “There’s a lot of stuff, I’m figuring out, if I want it done, I gotta figure out how to do it, but that’s how we were raised, right?”