If I had a nickel for every time I have heard someone say something like “we can’t take another day of _______” over the past 6 months, I’d have a great big pile of nickels. Fill in the blank: Lockdown, working from home, election ads, protesting, online school… It’s no wonder that the CDC reports symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorder increased considerably during 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.
Turn on the evening news and your head might spin with all that is wrong and scary in the world. It’s enough to make a person feel anxious, isolated, powerless, and unwell.
But guess what? We CAN take another day. We can take it, and we can keep doing the things we need to do to take care of ourselves and each other at the same time. How do I know this? I see it. I see you reading this paper because you want to stay connected with your village. I see you dragging yourself out the door for a 10 minute walk because you know that Vitamin D is an essential component of your immune function. If you didn’t know that – look into it! I see you trying to keep veggies on the menu even though there’s still a bag of Halloween candy in the closet. And I see you putting one foot in front of the other even though the path forward is not what you might have thought it was a few months ago.
And this is enough.
All of the little moments that we spend caring for ourselves are enough. There is no rule that says the only workout that will help you melt some of the girth that’s found its way onto your waist, thanks to quarantine baking, is an hour long workout. Or, that you can’t manage your blood pressure unless you ditch your kids and take up yoga with some Sufi in Sri Lanka.
- Balance on one foot while you brush your teeth.
- Stand every time your phone rings.
- Buy a new color vegetable and see if you like it.
- Drink a cup of water after you wash your hands.
- Take a deep breath. ( Do it. Now. Seriously. )
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
- Do 5 jumping jacks to make the coffee brew faster.
I could go on and on, and I bet you could too. The list of tiny ways we can contribute to our own resilience is never ending. But “knowing” this list is only a fraction of the battle. The real prize lies in believing that the world is going to keep on turning,that the world needs a healthy you in it, and that you alone have the power to carve out moments of your day to do these things. This time of year we will be admonished to feel grateful at every turn, and practicing gratitude most certainly is a worthwhile endeavour. If you were here reading this column just one short year ago, you know that I believe we must honor and embrace the fact that gratitude can be pretty tough to come by. Which is why I always suggest, if you are having trouble coming up with your list, you may need to resort to gratitude for opposable thumbs or indoor plumbing.
Just like gratitude, our wellness practice need not be epic in nature to do its job. In fact, the less epic the better. Because like 2020, our wellness journey seems never ending. If we are going to keep on keeping on (which we ARE!) we need to have the sort of practice that we can sustain. The kind that celebrates the miniscule moments that make us the sort of humans the world needs us to be: grateful, connected, kind, powerful. These are the goals. And even in the face of all the things we may think we can not endure, with these things, we can. And we can do it well.
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.