Be kind to yourself and remember this too shall pass.
One of my friends has taken up walking during the pandemic. She walks for miles every day and tells me it helps her reduce stress. Many of us have discovered a passion for baking during this time. We find ourselves elbow deep in flour as we bake bread, cookies, pies, and pastries. Good for stress maybe—but not the waistline.
It's true. There are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Don't worry. I'm not going to be judgmental. We are all trying to find ways to cope with this crisis any way we can. And no two days are the same. It's like we're on a rollercoaster. One day we're up, and the next day we're down. One day I have no appetite, and the next day I'm eating seconds of everything and dessert, to boot.
But hands down, releasing our stress through exercise is probably the best thing we can do for our mental and physical health. I have practiced yoga during this lockdown, following my friend, Emily Wells-Perritt, on Zoom as she leads us through poses designed to stretch and soothe—with a little core thrown in for good measure.
I should be doing more, but some days it's hard to find motivation. There's this dark cloud hanging above our heads. Plus the inordinate amount of rain we've seen this spring. Talk about depressing. Most of us are running low on positive vibes, so what's the solution?
Well, we have to be kind to ourselves. If we put on a few pounds or don't get enough exercise, it's OK. We will find our way out of this morass and feel good about life again. As the Buddhists say, "Everything is impermanent." So when the days and weeks seem to bring more stress and worry, think like a Buddhist and know tomorrow things will get better.
How do we get there? I plan to take my friend's advice and start walking to the future. I'm going to get up early and walk until I can't walk anymore. I'm talking miles. It will help wear me out so I'll sleep better at night, and I look forward to feeling the morning sun on my face and listening to the sounds of nature—birds and buzzing insects—all around me.
I will practice mindful breathing on my walks and repeat positive affirmations. Like the Little Engine That Could: "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can."
And I will and you will and we all will. Get. Through. This. Together. And if you're feeling really low, call a friend and ask for some encouraging words. If you're feeling strong and capable, call a friend anyway. She probably needs to hear your encouraging words.
Soon this strange interlude will be but a memory and life will return to normal. It may take a while, but every step we take is bringing us closer to the conclusion. Meanwhile, hang in there, keep smiling, and take a walk.