Well I don’t know about you, but that was one heck of a week over here! Forget about a week, think back to 2 weeks ago and look at where we are now vs then. I would say it’s safe to say a few things have changed, and let’s be honest they are going to be changed for a little while. As always however, it is really important to look at the big picture, as dire and drastic as things seem now, in 1, 2, and 10 years this is going to make one heck of a story.
Right now, however, one of the most important things to remember is that while this may seem like it is going to go on forever, and watching/reading the news can do anything but give us comfort, we have to remember that this is temporary. We will be able to return to giving hugs to friends, we will be able to shake hands with people we meet. Youth sports will resume, races will occur, and we will be able to go to a friends house for dinner. So we need to make sure we are not doing anything now to sacrifice that long term.
What could that be? Well let’s start with the mental side of this? How are you handling the huge curveball life has thrown at you? Are you putting your head down and going to work full force at the expense of everything around you (This might be me)? Are you eating ice cream and cookies and watching Disney+ all day (you know who you are)? Are you coping with it by doubling your exercise load in an attempt to “burn off” the stress? There are many things in between as well, but the important thing is to make sure that we are being PRODUCTIVE with this time and not DESTRUCTIVE. So yeah I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen stuff online and on social media about creating a routine, and following a plan/script for your day. That can be hard, especially if you are like me and so used to being on a specific schedule and in an environment that has been completely ripped away from you without a moment’s notice or a chance to adapt. So first don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t expect to be perfect at this on week 1 (or 2 or 3 for that matter). You will get better, and you will adapt. It’s really no different than strength training, we are going to apply a stimulus to your body and force/teach it to adapt.
Look for the small wins every day and don’t forget to celebrate them, it can be overwhelming to see so much negative information all around, and people arguing about what should be done or how they would do things. You aren’t supposed to leave your house, so for now just focus on the wins that occur in there! For me I get to receive amazing drawings like the one here from Hayden, and read books to Madison between virtual visits. I also get a really fun window into each of my patients’ lives by being invited into their homes for their virtual visits.
How should you handle the exercise part? I know what you are thinking, this guy is a physical therapist, I want exercise advice. Well here you go, keep it light, low intensity, and change it up. We say a lot in the clinic that as far as your brain is concerned stress=stress. Your body will have the same chemical reaction to physical, mental and emotional stress. So remember the others could be at an all time high right now, so keep that exercise one low, you can control that one. Don’t go out there and do high intensity race pace running and expect to come back and feel better. That is how people get hurt and right now we don’t need that!
In case there was any question up to now, this is my way of giving myself advice and writing the stuff I need to be saying to myself, so thanks for reading this far and I hope you found it helpful. If you did and/or you have some strategies of your own that you are using I’d love to hear about them, so throw them down in the comments below.