If the wheel of the bus represents our world, we ourselves would be the hub at the center of it, and the structures in our lives would be the spokes. This is a concept that my friend Sandra talked about during her recent visit with me. As usual, I was drinking up her amazing insights and practical approaches to life’s challenges. We had a short visit slipped in before social distancing was strongly mandated. The irony is not lost on me, as I am sure it is not lost on you, that we live in a time where many people are already socially isolated and many programs have been set up to counter act it. In fact, the UK created a Minister for Loneliness not that long ago. A good idea, but something that would have seemed more normal in a Harry Potter book rather than stiff upper lip Britain. But it is real, and this is a real problem.
Now the powers that be have just done a complete turn around. Social distancing is a must to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
What are the spokes in your life, the structures that support your wellbeing and for many, your mental health? Mine were just beginning to grow here in Owen Sound, and this week they were to blossom some more, lectures at the Grey Roots Museum, and last week I went to a book club at the library. So what to do, what do we all do?
So how do we maintain or support those structures in this new era when we can not actually get out of the house to go to the gym, get together and knit, go to work, go out for a meal? I think it is important for us to keep connected in other ways. So here I am, writing this blog. One of the things that I really enjoyed about writing the blog during my year away was its call and response nature. Something in what I wrote would strike a cord with someone and they would comment on it. Sometimes as a comment on the blog and sometimes as a private email. It was a great way of staying in touch, and of keeping me in touch with important people in my life, with some of the spokes of my wheel that were not actually on my year away with me but were still important. So I am hoping that it can be that again. We are all isolated (except those providing services out there keeping us fed, secure and healthy, thank you) but we do have each other. So my goal is to stay in touch with as many people as I can during this time. In no small part to keep my motivation up. I have joked to friends recently, during the last dregs of winter, that I had to go and look for my motivation because I couldn’t find it. So part of my communications will be to see what you have been doing, and tell you what I have been doing.
Going back to that concept of motivation, Sandra and I talked a lot about structure. It is so much easier to get moving, to get to work, to the gym, to choir practice if it is a structured part of the day. No structure can equal no motivation. So what is your structure? Mine is not really in place yet, and when it does happen it has to have some physical activity on it. How I loved going to classes at the gym. The teacher told me what to do and I passed that message on to my body which did it to its best ability. And it was getting better at it. I don’t want to loose that. So here goes, time to build structure.
Breakfast and write down one or two things that I want to accomplish that day from my to do list.
Do something physical. Yoga, tai chi. Perhaps a swing fit class from Joo Lee. She teaches in Durham, UK and I loved her classes. I have to make myself do this even though I will feel a bit self-conscious doing in my living room by myself.
Do the tasks on my to do list
Dinner and relax.
So, my call to action at the end of this blog, contact me. I would love it, and I need it, we need it!