Emerging with Strength: the Metamorphosis of Covid-19
Author: Sierra Klotz, Physical Therapist & Athletic Trainer
Many of the previous blog posts have shed light on how to emerge with strength: the previous post on how to change physically, the post before that on creating positive change within our community and Light at the end of the tunnel on healing if you become sick. This post will aim to tie all of these together to come out of this “tunnel” per se, a stronger, healthier person, so that hopefully we can emerge as a stronger, healthier world. We have often heard the saying that “one must go through darkness to see the light” so let this challenging time illuminate your way ahead.
1. Appreciate the simple beauties around you. Though we are in a scary time, many of us still have a lot to be grateful for. Take the time to call loved ones up on the phone and tell them how much you miss them or how you appreciate them. While you are walking, eating, or even brushing your teeth, slow down and appreciate what you have and often take for granted. If you are back out on the roads, take a couple of minutes to think in your head of at least three new things you are grateful for when first setting out. Gratitude boosts mental and physical health, improves relationships and enhances empathy while reducing aggression. Morin, Amy “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.” Psychology Today
2. Accept your Fear. It is very easy to get caught up in the fear. I often find myself while at the grocery store or listening to the radio, very fearful about our current situation. This fear is natural during this time and will only grow if you push it away. Instead, draw attention to where in your body you are feeling the fear. Are you feeling an ache in the pit of your stomach, a headache or tension in your shoulders? It is a natural response, to curl inwards and flex forwards when we are fearful. By bringing attention to this and accepting it, we can help the fear melt away and welcome in the next emotion. If the fear is long lasting, it can be very harmful to our overall health. I would encourage you to get professional help if this fear stays with you when you turn off the radio or leave the grocery store or public space. Psychological counseling is often needed, but physical therapy can also be helpful, as doing specific stretches and exercises can change your posture and help ease your fear from the outside in. At Injury To Excellence, we are currently offering telehealth services that can be scheduled at 802-871-5423 or [email protected]
3. Create a Supportive Environment. Our environment contributes largely to how we feel and how our bodies react. If you have boxes piled all over, you have a much higher fall risk than if your floor is clean and organized. This can be a great way to help your balance improve, but also presents a hazard for falling. If you have the space, this is a great time to dedicate a room of the house to pursue your passions. This could be making a fitness area with some small gym equipment or even just putting down a yoga mat for pilates and plyometrics. This might also be setting up a space for arts and crafts or planting a garden. There is no better way for positive behavioral change, than to make your environment conducive to it.
4. Slow Down. As a whole, our typically fast-paced American culture has considerably slowed down. Many people are able to be home & spend quality time with their children or loved ones instead of everyone racing out the door. Though I am sure we all felt very challenged by this slower pace at first, many folks, myself included, are starting to appreciate this time we have to go outside, exercise and be creative. I have heard anecdotal evidence that babies are being born with less complications and higher birth rates during this time. Nurses are theorizing that it is because mothers are not having to work as hard and are able to slow down and rest. I encourage you to talk with your supervisors at work to see if working from home or changing your hours may be an option even after the quarantine is over. If you have not yet seen this viral video, The Great Realization by Tomfoolery, it highlights very well how us, as individuals and also our world are craving these changes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw5KQMXDiM4 To emerge from this stronger individually and as a nation, we must make permanent changes after this is all over.
5. Remember to Smell the Hay! It is very important to take note of what is working for you during this time. So much about our daily lives is changing. If there are moments for you in which you feel light and at peace with your world, take note of that. What are you doing? How is this feeling? This may be cooking a creative dish, going for a run or playing outside with your children. To emerge as a stronger, happier individual, it will be important to keep the positive changes and do more of the enjoyable activities that you are now doing during this time of quarantine. It may also be helpful to keep a journal so that you can jot down each day what you did and how it felt. Don’t let yourself completely return to the old ways, but instead emerge as a healthier, happier you.