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  • Jill Gamberg

Lessons from 2020

I am originally from Canada. I have always been athletic, participating in many sports growing up. My love, however, was rhythmic gymnastics. I spent all of my childhood and adolescence training and loved it. My love for sport and exercise continued. I then became an athletic therapist after going to University. I spent many years, taking care of athletes and their injuries. Rehabilitating them back to their sport.

My next adventure took me travelling around the world for 2 years…ending up in Australia. I decided to go to medical school. I spent the next 10 years training to be a general practitioner/family medicine specialist. Most recently I became one of the first Lifestyle Medicine Physicians in Australia, completing both the International Board Certification and the Fellowship in Lifestyle Medicine. Lifestyle Medicine is an evidence-based practice looking at regular physical activity, good nutrition, stress reduction, sound sleep, and social connectedness. I am about to embark on a Master of Coaching Psychology.

2020 has proven to be a difficult year for people across the world. When news of the pandemic hit, the clinic in which I work put up their hand to have a respiratory COVID testing clinic. Luckily we live in Australia, and the winter is not too harsh. For us, COVID hit in autumn and headed into winter. We hosted our respiratory COVID clinic in the lane outside in a drive-up setting – putting us well and truly on the frontline. Even though it does not snow, the weather can be cold, rainy and unpleasant. We were lucky to have full personal protective equipment to hopefully keep us safe from contracting COVID.

I needed appropriate clothes underneath my PPE to help combat the elements and keep me warm and comfortable. My chosen uniform was Lululemon under my scrubs with the personal protective equipment on top.

I only had one pink long sleeve Lululemon shirt which I had worn on occasion over the previous few years. I knew it was comfortable and I thought it would keep me warm. What I didn’t realise is that I would end up wearing it every day from March to August. It didn’t occur to me to buy another at the time, as it was so busy at the medical clinic. Due to not wanting to bring COVID home to my family, I would work all day, come home and take off all my clothes outside the front door. Put them immediately in the laundry machine in hot water and rush into the shower before even going near my two children and my husband. In fact, for the first 2 months, when we didn’t know how bad it was going to get, I didn’t hug, kiss, or sleep in the same room as my family…and that was really hard for me. It has been an exceptionally hard year.

Now in October…my Lululemon shirt is wearable and still in great shape, despite being worn and washed DAILY for 5-6 months. I don’t think I own another piece of clothing so durable or reliable. The only reason I am not still washing it daily at this point is that weather has warmed up and I don’t need layers for warmth anymore.

You may wonder why I felt the need to tell you my story? I think 2020 has taught us a lot of things. I’ve learned: to slow down, stress less and appreciate the little things, to move my body more – whether that is inside or outdoors, to sleep better, to eat well and cook at home, to maintain social connectedness even though we cannot be together (I don’t know when I will see my family who are in Canada), and to recycle, reuse or appreciate the things we already have (just like my old long-sleeve Lululemon shirt).

I am and always will be a Canadian at heart. I am proud to support a company like Lululemon born in 1998 in Canada. (I was VERY excited when Lululemon came to Australia in early-mid 2000s). I know that employees are well treated at the company, as I have had several friends work with you over the years. Your ambassador program is fabulous, supportive and innovative.. and I have a friend doing this too.

When I was a student I could not really “afford” the Lululemon products, but when you think about how long the garments truly last and how durable they are – it is way cheaper in the long run, and much better for the environment as you can keep using them for many years.

In the years to come, I will look at my old pink Lululemon long sleeved top fondly. It may help remind me of the lessons I learned in 2020.


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