If I could talk to April Me, who was so full of hope as we were flattening the curve, staying home, and winning the war on COVID-19, I think I would say, “buckle up, this is just the beginning.”
I live a high stress, busy, non-stop life. I tell my doctors that I don’t choose a stressful lifestyle, but let’s be honest, working full time as a school counselor and running a swim school where you are one of two instructors is incredibly stressful. I thrive on these high-pressure situations, having barely enough time to eat dinner before I finish up paperwork or email before I crawl into bed exhausted. I love it.
These past few months have been difficult. I need to find ways to control the world crumbling around me. I can’t leave my house, I can’t find ways to fill each minute to the brim as I had in the past. I’m terrified to go to the grocery store. Of course, since we reopened I have classes to teach and that helps tremendously. But there are only so many classes that can be taught during a pandemic. So I have turned to using what I know to calm my body and my mind; I swim.
Every day I make time for myself to hit the pool in my face shield and exercise for 45-60 minutes. I run, I lunge, I squat, I do aqua pilates and when I finish all of that I spend time doing Ai Chi. Not sure what Ai Chi is? It is like Tai Chi but in the water and it completely quiets my mind as I focus on breathing and holding each pose. I breathe. I feel the anxiety run out through my fingertips.
We have so many things we cannot control right now. Our mental health is at risk of becoming so fragile - so we must among other things take care of our emotional self. Thirty minutes of exercise a day to strengthen your muscles, to release your anxiety, let go of what we cannot control is one of the most helpful things we can for ourselves right now. None of us can be sure where this pandemic is headed, but we can continue to take steps to take care of ourselves.