As Americans, most of us are used to a fast pace. If a condition or situation is not to our liking, most often, there is something we can do about it. We pride ourselves on being proactive, action-oriented, dynamic go-getters — it’s the American way! But few among us alive today have ever experienced conditions as serious and limiting as we’ve witnessed this first half of 2020.
If you read in our April 21 edition Meg Dunn’s excellent and well-researched article titled: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 in Northern Colorado, you may extrapolate that we are faced with a difficult challenge with no end in sight. Back then, every time they thought it was over, it wasn’t.
All this is not to depress you any further but to establish the circumstances within which we offer the following recommendations:
- Consider facing each day as a “day-tight” compartment. Focus on how to make THIS day a good one. This approach can help you calm down enough to sleep better. Perhaps by enabling you to experience small victories, focusing on just the day at hand can make you more resilient and resourceful than you ever thought possible.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much.” We have some of the most beautiful nature trails in the country — it’s time to get out and see them, if not every day then at least, several times a week. If you have small children, take them with you once in a while to turn them into attentive walkers — pay attention to what they notice.
- Read up on “Forest Bathing.” Recently written about in the Blue Zones newsletter, it is an ancient Japanese practice, perfect for this moment in time. It’s been shown that many natural elements in a forest can help reduce stress and contribute to a person’s health and wellbeing — it’s worth a try!
- Stay in touch! Write letters, send cards, make phone calls, and for those of you who are tech-savvy, send emails and “visit” your friends on Zoom and Google meetings where you can see their faces. Especially with all the people who live alone in these current conditions, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to your friends and loved ones.
- Keep a journal! These times call for unloading on paper your concerns, your observations, and your hopes. In the future when we are beyond this public health crisis, in reading it, you will better understand how it made you the person you became through mastering our current challenges.
Life is not a sprint — it’s a marathon. Building endurance requires pacing. And pacing requires planning. And planning requires assessment and the realization that we are living in unprecedented times. And these times require new and creative ways of living and coping.
We hope we’ve given you some new ideas that become lifelong practices that serve you well.
Stay Safe! Stay Well!
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