By Caitlin Hall, Contributing Writer
There is nothing more chaotic than trying to finalize IEPs, create lesson plans, and update grades in the midst of a global pandemic. I personally find these tasks chaotic without a pandemic! Many of us, however, experienced the crushing weight of extra responsibility as we prepared last minute e-learning lesson plans and said goodbye to our classrooms for an indefinite amount of time. We experienced even more chaos when we moved from going to work every day to staying home practicing recommended social distancing.
Social distancing, according to the CDC, is a great way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. When we practice social distancing we are being responsible with our bodies and keeping others safe. For many, the idea of social distancing for an extended period of time sounds magical. Introverts, I see you. For others, social distancing is stressful and cumbersome.
Recently, a friend texted me asking what sorts of activities she can do to relax and enjoy her time at home. She is feeling the effects of all the chaos going on in her external world and wanted to make her internal world an enjoyable space. As I scroll through my social media feeds I also see so many who are struggling with the early days of social distancing. It does not have to be that way.
Social distancing can be a therapeutic time for you and your family. We have been given an opportunity to slow down and really feel human again!
If you are used to constantly going and never having time to just be in the moment, this is your opportunity to just breathe. This is our time to catch up with old friends, play a board game with our kids, go on a long walk with our pets, or even just sit outside and have an extra long picnic lunch.
There are many ways to get in touch with yourself and your family during this time. I personally love getting wild with it and letting my soul sing and feel happy. If that sounds liberating, consider my hippy teacher guide to social distancing below.
It is how it should be
The first thing to remember in all this is it is what it is, and everything is how it should be. It does not matter if what is happening is right or wrong. It is happening, and it is. You may wish this time had never come and feel angry at others who are acting unseemly or share opposing views, but you cannot change what is.
As Gandalf said to Frodo, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.” Your actions change the course of the future. Your stress and emotional attachment to the past changes nothing.
Turn off your devices and just be in the moment. If you need to, set working hours during the day to complete school work and tasks. Once those are completed or your working hours are over, respect your space, and unplug for a while.
Make some noise!
When I was little I used to pull out all the pots and pans out of the cabinet and beat on them with a wooden spoon. It was awesome! Turns out, drumming is actually pretty fantastic for stress management and allows you to feel into the present moment. Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. shares drumming can have positive effects on your health and help with many chronic conditions like stress and can boost your immune system.
What better time to reduce stress than now? Social distancing provides plenty of time to drum away your stress and worries. I love drumming when I am stressed. The fact it is actually beneficial for me is an absolute bonus! Often, I will come home from work, grab my drum, and dance around my house like Betty White in the Proposal. I allow my body to dance, chant, and sing to the rhythm of my drumming. It can get pretty wild in my one woman show.
You do not even need a drum to participate in a Betty White drum circle. You can get the same benefits by playing drumming meditation music on YouTube. Do not be afraid to look silly while doing this; that’s the point! Let yourself be silly, move, and enjoy being in your body. If you have kids, let them dance around the house with you too!
By now you have probably heard of the wildy fantastic benefits of meditation. If you are not already meditating, social distancing could be your ticket to starting a meaningful meditation routine. Meditation is really incredibly simple, but most of us struggle with sitting in silence. Thankfully, there are apps out there you can download on your phone to help you get started! I use InsightTimer a lot for my meditation needs.
Start your meditation practice by meditating for five minutes. Once you feel comfortable with that amount of time, begin increasing your meditation time slowly. I suggest meditating at least 10 minutes a day, but there really is no limit on time.
Get out in nature
The great thing about social distancing is nature is not canceled! Spring is here and the weather outside is getting nicer and nicer. Spend as much time as you can outside.
There is an unlimited amount of things you can do outside. If you need help with some ideas check out this creative list. The wet sponge fight looks especially fun!
Unleash Your Inner Child
One of my friends shared pictures with me recently of her building blanket forts and “hunting for treasure” with her son. The pictures she shared with me showing so much joy on both of their faces was inspiring! She did not just go out and buy things for her son to do on a rainy day, she did those things with him and allowed herself to be a kid again. I encourage you all to do that!
Unleashing your inner child frees you temporarily from the responsibilities of being an adult. For a brief moment you tap into a well of joy that resides in being in the present moment fully. We take everything so seriously and we truly do have so much to be responsible for.
You do not have to be around people to believe in magic or fantasize about Bigfoot. Let your imagination run wild. Build a pillow fort and have an indoor camping experience with your family or spouse. Imagine the floor is lava or search for buried treasure in your yard.
Social distancing is a great time to meet your inner child again!
Whether you are dancing around the house to Stevie Nicks or watching Moana with your husband in your blanket fort, I hope you allow yourself peace. Allow yourself time to be human again and feel the peace that comes with slowing your life down. Social distancing is your time to be in the moment.