How Marathoner & Activist Jordan Marie Daniel is Staying Sane & Active During the Pandemic

For many, the pandemic has been a confusing time that hasn't been quite as productive as we'd hope it would be (unless you count dozens of sourdough loaves and 1,000 piece puzzles). But that's not the case for Jordan Marie Daniel. The lululemon ambassador, athlete, and activist says she's never been busier. In fact, she's managed to accomplish so much during the last five months. Daniel is producing a documentary film. She launched a new program to provide support to Indigenous communities. She finished her graduate class in social research and started training for Domestic Violence and Victim Services. She currently works at UCLA in the School of Medicine. Oh, and on top of all that, Daniel continues to run — miles and miles — not just for herself, but to also raise awareness about Native American women and the civil unrest of Black and Indigenous Folx. 

In a conversation with SwearBy, Daniel chats about how she's been able to do it all, while still being able to practice self-care and spend time with her family. She also shares the products she's been swearing by over the last few months and advice for those of us who have not been as motivated as she has been. (And guess what? She says that's perfectly OK.) 

How She's Been Spending Her Time During Quarantine 

"During this pandemic, I am grateful to be able to work from home. I'm an Outreach and Project Manager at UCLA in the School of Medicine. We have pivoted much of our services to support doctors and investigators on COVID-19 research and Phase 3 clinical trials, in their project/study implementation and grants submission. I'm a producer on a documentary film, The Sacred & The Snake. I'm an athlete, trail, and marathon runner. So to help with self-care and anxiety during quarantine, I spend time on the roads and trails. I am also a public speaker and social content curator,  spending time on interviews, podcasts, articles, and workshops.

It has been great to have this time at home. I get to focus on cooking more and having those extra minutes (or hours) to not rush dinner. For the first half of the lockdown on Tongva lands/Los Angeles, my partner and I were at our home. But for the past seven weeks, we have been quarantined with my parents in Virginia. It has been such a great time with my parents, especially since I am used to seeing them only once or twice a year for a week at a time.

I know many folx are out of work, or "bored" being stuck at home, but this is probably the busiest I've been and it's really fulfilling. I'm really grateful for this opportunity. I've been able to launch a program, to provide COVID-19 relief support to Indigenous Communities, called MITAKUYE OYASIN. We have delivered over 2,500 masks to our relatives across the country. As well as created social media campaigns to call on the NFL Washington Redskins team to change the name and center and uplift Black and Indigenous voices. I finished my graduate class this semester in social research methods and started my first 4 hours of Domestic Violence and Victim Services Advocate Training, serving as Board Member and Treasurer with the Power Shift Network and on the Intersectional Environmentalists Council."

On Training During the Pandemic 

"During lockdown, in Los Angeles, the local trails were shut down. It made it hard to keep running. Then, the roads became packed with crowds of people walking and running.  Many people were not wearing masks. Coughing and sneezing, and not covering their mouths. This gave me really bad anxiety because I felt like running was being taken from me. Luckily, I rented a treadmill and we put it in our garage. This gave me comfort and made me feel safe. On the weekends, we would drive about an hour or more to go trail running. To not go completely crazy on the treadmill, I would go for bike rides - 18-25 miles around Griffith Park and all around Los Angeles. Having access to these luxuries has kept me running and less stressed out."

On Practicing Self-Care 

"I take care of myself during this time by participating in therapy, yoga, cooking, running, hiking, and disconnecting from the phone and laptop at 7 pm almost every night to spend time with my partner and my family. I practice self-care with therapy, reading, sewing masks, kayaking, and doing anything outside (eating, walking, hiking). When the nights are cool or mornings, I like to end the day or start it with our hot tub. It's calming and relaxing."

How Running for Purpose Has Gained New Meaning 

"My prayer runs, running for justice - are not just meant for the competitive stage. It can take place anytime - anywhere. On May 5th, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn, girls, two-spirits, and relatives (MMIWG2S), I ran in prayer from sunrise to sunset, running two miles every hour on the hour for 27 Indigenous folx. I also fundraised nearly $5,000 for two organizations that focus their work on supporting survivors of violence, ending violence and racism in our communities, and MMIWG2S initiatives. On May 8th, I ran for Ahmaud Arbery. On Global Running Day, I ran for George Floyd, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, James Scurlock, and Ahmaud Arbery. On July 4th, I ran for Breonna Taylor and Laverda Sorrell (Indigenous - missing since 7/4/02).

Due to the pandemic, racing has changed. Due to the civil unrest of Black Folx being murdered and the ongoing systemic racism and white supremacy harming Black and Indigenous Folx, it hasn't impacted my prayer runs. I run for them. I run in prayer. I pray for them, their families, for our communities and the safety of our people. Virtual runs are happening so much - it's building a beautiful community where Folx is coming together to help honor someone taken, to run for them, and raising awareness where Folx can take action. I hope this community continues."

Advice For Anyone Who Can't Bring Themselves to Stay Active Right Now 

"It's okay. It's okay to struggle. We all are. We are all different and we cope and deal with that differently. Don't be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Give yourself a hug. And say, this is for my mental health and well-being. Then get out the door, even if it's for a 5-minute walk outside.  It is proven that getting outside time, boosts our immunity, our energy, and spirit. So, spend some time with Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth), give thanks, and love yourself."

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Lululemon Hotty Hot Short II 2.5"

“I’ve been working out in the lululemon Hotty Hot Short and the Speed Up Short for workouts and long runs.”

Lululemon Swiftly Relaxed Short Sleeve 2.0

“For tops, I’ve been working out in the lululemon Swiftly t-shirts and tanks, Find Your Pace tank, Breeze by Muscle, and Cool Racerback tanks.”

Lululemon Align Pant

“For yoga, any of the lululemon Align products are my favorite.”

Lululemon Invigorate Bra

“For bras, the Invigorate Bra, Energy Bra, and Strong Identity Bra are my most go-to workout bras.”

Lululemon Flow Y Bra Nulu

“For comfort and lounge bras,  I love wearing the Flow Y and Ebb to Street bra.”

Lululemon Wunder Under High-Rise Tight Full-On Luxtreme 28"

“For hiking and lounging, my favorite bottoms are: Align Crop (yoga and climbing), Wunder Under High Rise, Fast and Free Tight (running, climbing, and hiking), On the Fly Crop and Sun Setter Jogger, and Pace Rival bottoms.”

Altra Torin 4 Road Running Shoe

“My favorite running shoes are Altra Torin 4’s and 4.5’s, Lone Peak Summits 4.5 and the Timp.”

Chaco's Z/1® Classic

“For comfort and lounge, my favorite shoes are Chacos and Birkenstocks.”

UCLA Outreach and Project Manager, Athlete, Marathon, & Trail Runner, Public Speaker, Producer of The Sacred & The Snake; Women Are Sacred (Indigenous Consultant), Founder & Community Organizer of the Rising Hearts; Mitakuye Oyasin (a COVID relief program for Indigenous Communities), Women's March, Womxn's Agenda, Ending Violence Against Womxn & Femmes Policy Committee Member, NCAIED 2018 Native American 40 Under 40, Power Shift Network Board Member & Treasurer