Sunday, April 5, 2020
Good morning and happy April! I thought I missed the April Fool’s Day joke, but realized we really are staying home for the entire month. Give people a couple weeks of quarantine and they come up with some funny and creative posts. It’s definitely no joke how many people are suffering through this pandemic. The stress and anxiety are real. Our lives seem to be in constant distress. The virus has brought fear, sickness, death, economic and social disruption. The days can easily bring on feelings of helplessness and frustration. This is when we definitely need a boost to keep our mental and physical health intact.
These are difficult times for us all. When you think back, our typical daily lives kept us busy and occupied. Each day was filled with activity and constant motion. We seem to stay so wrapped up in our own affairs that we have little time to dwell on issues that arise in and around our world. Being sequestered at home provides us all plenty of time to reflect and think about our life, our family and what is important. Each new day is much the same, giving us time to contemplate life. The burden can be real and heavy. The secret is to use this time wisely and listen to the silence. Allow yourself, and your mind, the freedom to just let the universe speak to you. Take a little time each day to sit in silence. For many of us, this may be something that is unfamiliar or unnerving. I guarantee new and enlightening thoughts will reveal themselves, if you allow them. You just have to be willing and open your mind so they can be heard.
Next, you need to make a plan for managing each day. Let me share a few ideas and tips to assist building your own plan during the difficult days we find ourselves sharing. I want to keep this as simple as possible. We are three weeks into the “stay home” order. Whether you go to your place of employment, work from home or just feel stuck, like many of us; it is of the upmost importance that we each take care and maintain our physical, mental and spiritual health. If you have the feeling of being isolated, trapped or alone; believe me you are not alone. Staying focused, engaged and busy will help in alleviating some of the anxiety and stress.
This is a new and uneasy experience for the entire world. You cannot allow fear to get a grip or paralyze you. Yes, the virus is out there, we may or may not be exposed or contract it. There are many uncertainties since it is a new virus strain. Experts around the world are learning more about it daily. If it’s similar to the various flu or coronavirus strains, it has the potential of being here seasonally. The experts say if you do contract the virus, the recovery rate is approximately 98%. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who is studying the virus, estimates approximately 4.7% people may die globally. This is based on current numbers, but caution not all cases have been reported or examined. As of Monday, the CDC stated approximately 1.8% of those infected in the USA may die from the virus. Approximately 0.1% may die from the flu in the U.S. during the 2019-20 season. The pandemic is worldwide and the numbers continue to fluctuate between countries and age groups. This is not the time to panic. We must all do our part to slow the spread. We will get through this together.
Let’s build a daily plan to help get everyone through each day and beyond. As you may know, our physical and mental health are closely tied together. When both are thriving, we feel amazing. If one suffers, it has a profound negative effect on the other. The key to good health is maintaining a balance between the two. In times of difficulty, like being told to stay at home during a coronavirus pandemic, keeping that balance can be tough. If you’re on social media, watch the news, do nothing all day or totally isolate yourself, I guarantee your health will suffer. Let’s seize the moment and energize ourselves into action. Empower yourself and boost others along the way. We will conquer this together.
Now it’s time to make our plan. Here is a basic outline of my daily schedule. Like any good plan, modifications or adjustments can be made at any time. I have a routine I like to follow and have daily goals I work to achieve. Every day is different and some goals are not always reached. At the end of the day I re-evaluate my priorities and set goals for the coming day. I begin each morning with several minutes of quiet time in self-reflection and meditation. I express my gratitude for life and am thankful for the opportunities and possibilities the new day brings. I always have a chat with my Dad and include my girlfriends father and Cinnamon (our family dog of over 15 years). I know they are all together watching over us. I’ll consider sharing more details about the connection I, and many others, have with loved ones who have passed.
This always kick starts my day. From there I typically try to get some exercise. This varies from day to day; so I could run, lift weights, bike, yoga, hike or just walk. The optimum thing is to just get your body moving. Movement throughout the day is highly suggested. Don’t stay in one position too long. Get up every hour and walk around. It’s even better if you can go outside for 20 minutes to enjoy sunshine, fresh air and nature. Walking barefoot on the grass, sand or dirt brings amazing grounding effects. The earth and the universe are all energy. Soak it up often and as much as possible. Another great relief for me is to journal daily. I enjoy writing about each day, my life, events and thoughts. It is very personal to me and very different than these weekly posts. Writing, or maintaining a journal, has amazing benefits for your mental health and well-being.
After my workouts, I enjoy a healthy protein shake, watch a little news or read selected posts from my laptop. I do not sit for hours, but just enough time to bring me up to date. Sitting or viewing the news for hours is not my recommendation. There are many days I don’t turn the TV on until evening hours. I’d much rather gather my news in manageable sections from reliable sources. Now it’s time to start whatever projects I want to work on. Breaks are encouraged throughout the morning. Lunch typically comes quickly. I pick up where I left off and resume through afternoon. Breaks to walk, get some sunshine or just stretch are included and highly encouraged. Relaxation, conversation and fun with my partner are incorporated, especially during the evening and dinner hour. With this “new normal” we make plenty of “us” time.
We should all know our own body and what we need physically and mentally to get through each day. Design and structure your daily plan to fit your needs and goals. Be sure to set time aside for the things you deem important. If you have kids, have a plan for them too. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Eat healthy food, exercise, move, do your work and reach for your goal. Communicate, interact and have fun with your loved ones and family. Reach out to family and friends as often as possible. Many of us have a keen sense when anxiety or depression begin to attack us. At the first hint of those feelings, reach out to someone. Staying connected to close family and friends has huge dividends. Maybe others are close by so you can talk from a safe distance. The next best option is to call or video chat. One of my cousins arranged a video chat this week that included 18 family members spanning five states. It was fun and so easy to do. It was uplifting and full of laughs.
We are not only fighting the threat posed by the virus, but a serious disruption to our lives, which brings on anxiety and stress. The struggles this causes and looming isolation are real. If anxiety affects your mental health, please do not wait to reach out for a helping hand. Depression can consume you like a dark cloud. There are hotlines and services available to assist. Reaching out to family and friends can be a fabulous aid too. Talking, sharing and discussing your fears and struggles can often relieve those pains. Seeking more direct professional care is always an option. I knew when I needed that care and making that decision was one of my best. Please do not wait. You’re not alone. We are all experiencing this together.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!