- May 01, 2020
Let’s face it – things are weird right now. Difficult times lead to fear — an adjacent contagion that left unchecked infects us with a different type of toxicity – anxiety, dread and uncertainty.
To experience these emotions is to be human. But this is our moment to choose hope over despair. Let us face this juncture not as a crisis, but rather as an unprecedented opportunity for humanity. To connect. Cultivate community. And grow.
Let us flip the script. Shift our perspective. And approach our changing world through a different lens — a pandemic of viral possibility.
To begin, take comfort in what we can control — our thoughts and words. Our physical well-being. And our connection to self and others.
As individuals we have little domain over the gestalt of global affairs. But how we respond to our environments — mentally, emotionally and spiritually – is well within our command. Rather than reacting impulsively to a world spinning out of control, let us seize the opportunity to take a step back.
This is the moment to go inward. To be more mindful, conscious and selective about what you consume — from food to information. To embrace your sequestration to invest in self-care. To invest in that creative project you’ve shrugged off for lack of time. To inventory the state of your internal life. To take stock of what is working – and what isn’t. And finally summon the courage to discard the patterns, behaviors and practices that do not serve you.
Photo: Miah Watt and image of Alpine Earthworks
Some of us are alone, holed up in small apartments. Others ensconced with family members, cohabitating in close proximity. And yet, because humanity demands connection, I see community celebrated everywhere. People united in song from their balconies in Spain. Participatory fitness challenges hosted live on Instagram. And families congregated around the dinner table.
Irrespective of circumstance, we are truly in this together. So heed the call. And take advantage of the occasion to deepen our connection to loved ones; to ourselves; and the communities to which we are bonded.
But care for others can’t replace looking after ourselves. Now is not the time to sink into the couch but rather a moment to be vigilant about our physical health. To eat the good foods. Move our bodies. And get proper sleep.
With gyms shuttered and parks closed, it’s easy to slack on our fitness routines. So we must get creative. Nobody can take simple body weight exercises away. You need nothing to do yoga. And most of us are still permitted to get outside, even if it’s just to walk the dog.
Photo: Abhish Desai @thedesailifestyle
On a personal note, audio has played a crucial role in maintaining my positive outlook throughout this moment of physical distancing — a time for more conscious choices about the quality of my content consumption. Rather than Netflix, expand your mind with an audiobook. Replace 24-hour cable news with an inspirational podcast. And swap social media scrolling for a Spotify playlist.
To create a solid foundation for the day, I begin with a pre-dawn guided meditation, courtesy of one of my favorite apps like Calm or Waking Up, followed by 30 minutes of journaling — and a gratitude list — set to soothing music. Using earbuds (Jaybird Vistas, always of course) blocks out the world, immersing me in sound, facilitating focus and deepening my connection with self.
Then it’s out the door for a long solo run or bike ride, my only companion the breath, and an uplifting podcast conversation or audiobook in the earbuds.
Sequestered with seven total (my family plus one), we make daily FaceTime calls to extended family members. Mealtime has become a big communal event, followed by evenings learning how to play Majong or Go – all hidden blessings that have brought us closer.
Unlike many, I am healthy – with a roof overhead and food in the pantry. I recognize my privilege. And offer these words not to minimize the extreme hardship so many currently face. But only in the spirit of service.
Amidst the challenge, may you consciously choose a regimen of self-care that serves you — and quells the complicated emotions we are all experiencing right now. Because this difficult time demands our full attention to self and others.
May you be safe and well in this most interesting time. Because now — more than ever — the world needs all of us to be our best, most fully actualized selves.
This too shall pass. My hope is that it leaves us better than before. And when that time comes, may I meet you on the trail — when the era of social distancing is but a distant memory.