Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Your Attitude's Impact On Mind & Body During COVID-19 Crisis

My front window gives onto the street, and every day I see people walking their dogs. Maybe a half dozen folk in all, giving their pups some exercise. But over the last week, since California went on “lock-down,” I’m utterly amazed by the number of people walking. With dogs, without dogs, with children, on their own, pushing strollers; it’s a wonder to behold, because along with the benefits of fresh air and exercise, these walkers are stimulating their immune systems.

And what, along with following the CDC and WHO guidelines, does the most to protect you from COVID-19? Strengthening your immune system, which--in a nutshell--is your body’s defense against disease. We already know that the coronavirus is deadliest among those with compromised or weakened immune systems. Maintaining/developing a strong immune system can go a long way toward our staying healthy.

That being said, you can only walk so much in one day. Gyms are closed, both my dance studios are closed, soccer games and other group sports are canceled. Working out at home to YouTube videos is great, but again, limited by how much “no pain no gain” one is willing to endure.

But here’s the good news: there are 2 things you can do right now in the privacy of your own home to significantly improve your immune system.

1. Institute The 5-minute Pity Party.

I don’t know about you, but my first response to my finding out my ballet and ballroom classes were shut down indefinitely was to call my BFF and whine. Loudly. For a good 15 minutes. Poor woman, I’m surprised we’re still BFFs. Oddly enough, when all my work canceled, I didn’t have a melt-down, because at that point I still had dance to help me keep my sanity. But once the dance classes went, that’s it, I lost it.

That’s when I knew I needed to institute the 5-minute Pity Party. The 5-minute Pity Party is when you acknowledge that you need to rant, rave, whine and generally have a FIT over whatever aspect of your life has just been nuked by the coronavirus. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your job you can’t go to, your child who now relies on you 24-7 for all education, entertainment, maintenance, etc., or your gym/church/class you can’t go to, it’s time for a release of your anguish. Fine.

Set a timer for 5 minutes. Have at it! In the safety of your shower, bathroom, parked car, wherever you have maximum privacy, let it all out. Scream if need be at the injustice of it all, wail your despair at what seems to be a hopeless situation, and cry out your woe-is-me to your heart’s content. But when that timer dings, you’re done. Pick yourself up off the floor of misery and regroup. Move on to step 2.

2. Value What You Can Today For A Better Tomorrow.

There are actually 2 parts to this step. One is how you think/feel, the other is what you do.

A. Think/feel

Look around you. What can you appreciate about your life right here, right now? You still enjoy running water and electricity, you still have a roof over your head. Don’t let thoughts like “Yeah, but for how long?” intrude. You still have whatever health you enjoy. You still have your friends/family. You have endless access to resources via the internet. Dwell on whatever you can find to appreciate, to value and be grateful for, because that single action will have a dramatic, positive impact on your immune system.

You see, when we think/feel negativity, our immune systems suffer. And when our immune systems cease functioning optimally, our health can rapidly decline. So bolster your positive thinking as much as you can. Turn yourself into an optimist. Because optimists thrive—and so should you.

B. Do

Get creative! What’s the best possible use of the time you now have? Many are finding that with a little creativity they can continue some or all of their business using online platforms mostly from home. There are always projects we let go by the wayside for lack of time, how about picking up some of those now?

Make daily (realistic) lists of what you want to accomplish, and check off items as you get them done. You will feel productive, like you’re not just spinning your wheels, and with that, your immune system will benefit. In the long term, so will your life.

In every crisis, there is opportunity for new growth, new inspiration. Let’s keep our moments of dark despair as brief as possible and amp our times of appreciation as much as possible so that we come out of this challenging situation stronger and better than ever.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

What's Your Next Right Move?

 Something Oprah Winfrey said in an interview I stumbled across recently really hit home with me: “What is the next right move?” She was talking about how to handle disappointments, even failures, and the point she was making is how useless it is for us to dwell on whatever-it-was, but rather to point ourselves in the direction of the next “right move.”

I love that! A mantra that can be applied to the little annoyances in life, as well as the oh-my-gosh flops/falls. My latest rescue puppy, during the first couple of months with us, would get so excited about FOOD!!! that the second he’d inhale the contents of his dish, he’d race over to my older dog’s dish and with the excitement of possibly locating the merest lick of MORE FOOD!!! would pee, right there on the kitchen floor. Needless to say, “Mom,” aka me, was not happy. He had learned that his bathroom was out there in nature, so it wasn’t an “I’m not sure where to go” issue, it was truly food-excitement.

I had a choice. I could get myself in a snit over his unwanted behavior, hash and re-hash it, etc., but fortunately, I had come across Oprah’s “next right move,” and sat myself down for a good think. I came up with first making sure that according to the vet, my new “boy” was getting proper nutrition. That being done, I decided that the instant rescue-baby had finished his meal, I would zip him out the puppy door and into the yard for a pee. Phew!

Problem solved. Now, a couple of months later, he just zips out that door by himself right away, and we haven’t had an indoor pee since.

This may seem minor to you, but then, most of the stuff that gets us all annoyed is minor!  However, when we  have to deal with the heavies of life, we can use the “next right move” just as effectively. A dear friend of mine is suffering from a health condition that her physicians and various specialists cannot yet diagnose. So they keep giving her treatments in hopes something will alleviate her pain. What an unfortunate predicament! Yet my friend inspires me by her decision to continue with as much of her regular life as possible, keeping herself firmly on the track of “next right move,” rather than on the oh-so-seductive “woe is me” track.

We all somehow know what a “right move” is, even though that “move” will be different for every situation. It is, always, the move that keeps you on a positive, upward path. A move that leans in the direction of solutions and away from lamenting your misfortune.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been rejected for a job, by a spouse, or lost your savings in some unfortunate occurrence, as best you can, howl briefly over the injustice/pain, and then follow Oprah’s excellent advice, “What’s my next right move?”

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Up Your Game This Valentine’s Day

How about if this Valentine’s Day you upped your game? What if, instead of--or in addition to-- focusing the intensity of your love on that one special person in your life, you turned the spotlight of your love onto your life! Your whole life, all of it, every aspect of it. If rather than complaining, dissing, blaming or criticizing your life, you embraced it wholeheartedly with all the love, hugs and kisses you lavish on that special someone?

So granted, your work life isn’t perfect (whose is?!), but if you look at your job, your career, through the eyes of love, you’ll find all manner of things to appreciate about it. Not the least of which is the paycheck it affords you. There are co-workers you do like or who support your efforts in some way. There is a place to go, tasks to achieve, which allow you to use at least some portion of your intellect and creativity.

Your family and/or friends drive you batty at times, but somewhere in the mix there are good times, fun adventures, tender moments. What if you focused on those, letting the memory of them bring a smile to your face, and let friends and family members know how dear they are to you, with words as well as hugs.

Then there’s you. Ah, yes, the tough nut to crack. How about loving yourself? You see, as wonderful a gift as social media is to us in allowing us to more rapidly and freely connect, it also brings up an awful lot of the devil known as “comparison.” Everyone else seems to be happier, thinner/fatter, taller/shorter, prettier/more handsome, more successful, than you. Everyone else seems to be trending with what’s trendable, in the know on all the scoops, and launching into ever more exciting jobs, travel, cars, clothes, mates!

Aargh! You can’t possibly love yourself and compare yourself to others at the same time. Other people will always, being the different sorts that they are, in one way or another be more of what you aspire to, or less of what you dislike. So what? You are YOU, marvelously uniquely YOU! And that--along with your marvelous and unique life--is worthy of love.

Love. As in caring about and caring for, yourself and your life. Love. As in being grateful for and appreciative of, yourself and your life. Love. As in being tender towards and taking pleasure in, yourself and your life.

Love really is all there is.

Happy Valentine’s Day!