We do not learn from experience...We learn from reflecting on experience.
-- John Dewey
This week marked one year that we have been in quarantine of some sort here in the north east United States. Life has changed a lot over the past year for everyone as has our view of our world, our lives, and even though our priorities. When I look back over the last year there are a few things that became clear to me:
I don’t have to be kept busy by the outside world. I recognized for myself that while I felt somewhat isolated in the beginning of the quarantine, and again looking inward for things that I was getting excited about, things that not only kept me occupied, but things that actually interested me.
Watching television is not downtime. For a period of time I turned to watching television, movies, Netflix, any form of distraction as I was not around friends and loved ones as I once was, just like everyone else. Admittedly, this TV entertainment took up plenty of time in the beginning until I recognized that I was not investing that time into myself. Television simply became another diversion from more productive activities and I needed to limit the amount of time that I was in front of that screen.
Isolation can be awful. I have the amazing benefit in my life of being surrounded by my children and family. I realize how many other people have been living alone throughout this quarantine. I sympathize with those who have lost both their emotional and physical socialization. I love my long conversations with my daughters and I adore the great big hugs that I am able to gift them but I am lucky enough to be on the receiving end as well. The physical contact and connection is priceless to me and I know that many of us crave that and are frustrated by the intimate limitations that we have faced during this quarantine. Making sure that we continue to reach out for support when we need it is important during Covid and will surely be important long after.
There is no substitute for sunshine. It’s been cold. Yep. I get it. I know there are some days where there is no way that you want to step outside. I have recognized that sometimes that is exactly what I have needed. The fresh air, the sun on my face, the wind against my cheeks, and a different environment than the inside of my house. This one was a big one for me in the beginning of the quarantine because my work hours were so long that I could not find time to get outside and take walks. Finally, I had to break my patterns and force myself to get outside. I acted as though it was a punishment at first. LOL. It was the best thing I could’ve done. I think that college students, stuck inside, are experiencing a lot of this as well. We all need to get outside more and allow Mother Nature to give us the best prescription ever for better health.
Movement is the key to better health. Staying home made it so much easier to stay still and stagnant and move far less. Many people began gaining weight or exercising less when they may very well have been involved in great exercise regimen‘s and healthy eating right before Covid began. I can’t even count the amount of people who have joked about the "19" in COVID-19 standing for the extra “19“ pounds that they’ve gained over the past year. A year later, let’s see if we cannot change our patterns up and incorporate movement into our lives. What is your favorite type of movement or exercise? Is there a way that you can get it back into your life at this time? I know many people are not interested in going to gyms right now as the world still remains tenuous but this may be a place where both technology and staying home may work to your advantage. We can adjust our life schedules to add in short workouts of cardio, yoga, walking, cycling, etc. into your day. There are amazing programs that offer virtual workouts, virtual yoga classes, virtual meditations! I would love to hear what works for you.
With any luck, or year from now we will be looking back at this year talking about it like a painful memory. In the meantime, we can change things we are doing today to support this year moving forward so that we are stronger and healthier in mind body and soul. What steps do you want to take first?