I hope you are well. Writing this, I am struck knowing that many will not be well by the time the paper arrives. I feel it in my chest. Hot and tight. Sound familiar? It’s the same thing I feel when I remember that my kid doesn’t get an 8th grade dance. I know. It’s just a dance. He’s not being conscripted. Our family hasn’t lost anyone close to us. We have a comfortable place to shelter and plenty of flour in the pantry. So when I realized I was grieving, I also felt shame.
And here’s the thing. That’s normal.
This is a normal reaction to an extremely messed up circumstance. We are all missing out on big events, daily routines, and everything in between. Some of us will lose people we love. We are grieving and anticipating grief. This is also completely normal.
The fight against coronavirus is likened to war. It triggers our fight or flight response. For many of us, the combination of hiding from an invisible enemy and not knowing exactly what we are supposed to do leaves us feeling helpless. We are the deer in the headlights; not equipped to battle and unable to flee.
So, we freeze. And again, you guys, this is normal. But not sustainable. It is true that not all of us can be on the front lines. But, there is something we can do. Something radically simple. We can take care of ourselves and do our best to stay out of an overtaxed healthcare system.
To that end, here are seven simple things we can all DO right now:
Drink a cup of water.
Even mild dehydration can impair brain function. We need roughly 72 ounces of water a day. You need more if it’s dry out or you’re under stress. How do youknow you are getting enough? Look in the toilet. Your urine should be almost clear. Anything darker than a yellow tinge and you need water.
Stand on one foot while you brush your teeth.
Because it’s new! And it’s hard. Practicing a new skill stimulates neurons in the brain, which forms more neural pathways and allows electrical impulses to travel faster. This helps you adapt faster to changing circumstances. It seems like a pretty good time for that.
I know, you just feel like grabbing a glass of wine and hitting the couch. Anxiety can make us want to just curl up. So start small. Stand up every hour. Take a lap around your house, climb some stairs, spin in a circle and then get back to work. Have a dance party with your cat or have a pushup contest on FaceTime with your mom. Once you get moving, your body will ask for more.
Learn how to say “thank you” in a new language. Bonus points if you use a dictionary. Not only are you learning, you are reinforcing the gratitude. This small dose of thankfulness can spark joy which improves respiratory function, circulation and digestion. And if you stop searching for that dictionary you saved from college and just Google, it only takes a minute.
Connect with someone outside your four walls.
Text, call, send a carrier pigeon. We are physically distanced but creating connection is one of the most simple health strategies available to us. Just a quick conversation with your neighbor about what you did today can do the trick.
Write down 5 things you’re good at.
Humans are excellent at discovering weaknesses. But couldn’t we all use a little bolstering right now? Self-esteem boosts creativity and gives you a more positive outlook. My list includes stirring peanut butter back together after it’s separated. It doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just give yourself a little credit.
Set a timer for 30 seconds, breathe.
Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that has a calming effect. It can lower your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure, reduce muscle tension and help you feel less stressed overall. Guessing each and every one of us can use that right now.
If you have questions about practicing wellness at home, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or another wellness professional. That is what we are here for.
Wishing you wellness,
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.