We are weeks into a nationwide social distancing and shelter in place order because of Covid19. There is no other way to describe this reality other than eerily weird and scarily uncertain.
When social distancing started and we were ordered to shelter in place, I was completely bummed but I kept moving. But if I am completely honest, I am overcome with FRUSTRATION now.
This past week I found myself feeling cranky, exhausted, and irritated by the tiniest things. Whether overcome with these feelings together or separately, the emotion hits me in waves. I find myself wondering, does everyone feel this way?
I feel completely triggered when I hear my friends talk about jogging or going for a ‘social distance’ bike ride. I feel fumes of anger and envy all at the same time. My exercises are limited now because of my 2009 bus accident which resulted in structural deformities in my right leg. Exercise options like online dance and fitness classes aren’t available to me because I can’t squat, bend, and jump.
I fall into the dark abyss of sadness when I focus on how isolated I feel with our current social distance reality. I ruminate on “why me” and feel victimized, and hopeless, including the negative voices in my head rearing their ugly heads. I dread these days of isolation and long to resume some semblance of my ‘normal’ life.
I realize that now is the time I need to quiet my negative thoughts, take a step back and breathe.
I find myself remembering my mantra ‘Never Give Up’ which is also what I wrote about in Step Three of my book “Dance Because You Can”. Step Three is all about creating your own Victory Dance to the tune of ‘Never Give Up.’
I write about how mad I got when people told me: ‘oh honey ‘never give up.’ I was beginning to feel like I was trapped in my own story again. The truth is, right now we are ALL NOT GIVING UP! We are doing our part and adapting to our new environment. I don’t like it and I know that it is my choice to accept it as my new reality. I can either choose to stay deadlocked, stop exercising, gain weight, loaf around and watch the news all day (bad idea), or I can ‘Never Give Up’.
What does ‘Never Give Up’ look like? Well, every day will be different, but it means facing each different day head-on no matter how uncomfortable.
Every morning I reflect on the time when this is in our past when we have figured out how to resume a normal life again, will I be able to say I was creative and productive?
Will I be able to celebrate my accomplishments? Will I be healthy and fit and will I have successfully managed my type 1 diabetes despite less activity? Or will I have whittled my time away in anger, fear, and frustration?
I could easily become depressed and irritated about all the home workouts I can’t do but I choose not to get stuck in that negativity.
Do you have tools in your toolbox to manage the new Covid19 life? What are they and how are you adapting to this our reality?
Social media keeps us feeling connected, but it can create a rabbit hole and a waste of time as we aimlessly scroll away the day. I ask again, am I creating value? Does my behavior and activities make me feel better, reduce my stress, and create joy or is it all just waste time? It’s a fact, I don’t cook which is likely a result of living single in New York City, but I am making time now to try new things like preparing clean and tasty meals. My Covid19 toolbox tools all lead to self-care.
The 12th-century Buddhist philosopher Nichiren Daishonin (SGI USA) states ‘winter always turns to spring’. With anecdotes like these, I dig deep to stay positive, focused and productive. I remind myself, most importantly we ‘Never Give Up’.
Admittedly, it’s a tough time right now. It is important in times like these that we allow ourselves the space to feel frustrated, angry, or just sad. It’s normal and O.K. and on some level even necessary.
As I’ve said before, it’s always our choice to keep moving forward, to sit with discomfort and to ‘Never Give Up’. In the end, The Victory Dance will likely be more amazing than we can ever imagine. Our lives are infinitely powerful, and we must learn to trust ourselves.
No action or cause is ever wasted.