These are not normal times so I shouldn’t be surprised that my “normal” way for “dealing” with things no longer works the same way it did before. Reading and working out were two of the biggest ways I could unwind from whatever was going on and get centered again.
Now… finding the motivation to workout has been challenging and finding the focus to read has been fleeting.
It’s taken me these past five weeks (I think that’s how long? I’ve lost track) to figure out what really works for me. And it could totally change as we’re quarantining for longer. For now? It feels good to have a plan and things I can do every day to ground myself a bit.
The first is long walks with the dogs. I walk them every day normally but we have gotten into a great routine of very long walks. My workload is so much lower and we have zero social plans so there’s plenty of time to get out and pound the pavement with the dogs. Mike joins for the evening walk and weekend walks, but I try to take the dogs out by myself during the work week while he’s in meetings for some alone time. I’ve (very creatively) named all the routes we take: walk, long walk, extra long walk, extra extra long walk, and extra extra extra long walk. They range from one big loop of our neighborhood all the way to an hour and half circuit between our town and the town next to us. I try to take as many hills as possible so the dogs get extra tired. Sometimes I call my mom and sometimes I listen to an audiobook. No matter what I try to take to focus on my breathing for the beginning and end, and often the middle but sometimes I just get lost in the walk. It helps so much.
Unless it’s actually pouring, I walk the dogs every day. Weather permitting though, sitting outside on our porch on a rocking chair or in the backyard on our lounge chairs. Just being outside, even if I’m bundled in a puffer coat and cozied with blankets, is a game changer. Again, I sit out there and meditate mostly. Sometimes I do a full guided meditation from Headspace with headphones, but even just simple cycles of counting my breaths does the trick.
I’ve seen various posts floating around the internet touching on the same sentiment of taking note of what you’re rushing back to once this is “over.” (I say over lightly because I think most of us understand we’ll be more like moving into a new normal than going back to normal.) There are a handful of things I legitimately miss and want to return to and there are other things that I’m realizing I don’t miss at all and can do without. I’m prioritizing and deprioritizing heavily right now. Especially once we moved into a new month of this, I have been sitting down and taking notes for myself on what I need to change and what’s really important to me.
I was sitting outside this weekend and feeling truly warm. From the sun, yes, but also from a sense of peace that sitting outside with nothing to do and nowhere to be. Mike and I both noted that on a “normal” weekend we’d have various obligations (enjoyable ones but still obligations) to rush between but that sitting and being was nice too.
(I feel like I need to put a disclaimer to say that feeling at peace is not actually I feel most of the time– it’s why I keep pushing myself to walk and sit outside frequently. I’m trying to keep my face towards to the sun, literally and figuratively, because otherwise I’d probably fall apart.)