Last week I didn’t leave my house one single time.
I didn’t leave to go grocery shopping. Or to get gas. Or to visit the post office. Or to go thrifting (sob).
Believe it or not, I didn’t really notice at the time that I hadn’t left my casa for two, then four, then six, then (wow, count ’em) seven days.
I didn’t even miss my spectacular dream ride, the electric blue RAV4 waiting patiently for me out by the curb (and perfectly parallel-parked, I might add).
I didn’t notice because I was very busy Zooming.
I Zoomed every day. I Zoomed so much it almost felt like I had a social life at long last. At least if you count work-related virtual meetings as a “social life,” which mostly I do these days.
By day eight, I was finally starting to notice my confinement. I was noticing because the endless repetition of work and then sleep and then work and then sleep was beginning to wear on me. And I was noticing because, at long last, I finally did leave the house to make my weekly trek to visit my folks, who live a whopping 20 minutes away.
I have to say – I’d forgotten road trips could be so exciting.
Don’t get me wrong – I love working from home. I actually quite enjoy being alone (although “alone” is a relative term given that I share my casa and daily life with the three most wonderful beings on the planet, my 21-year-old soul bird, Pearl, and his two shelled siblings, Malti and Bruce).
But still, over the years I’ve grown accustomed to breaking up particularly long stretches of isolation with errands and similar small outings around town. Not anymore. Not since COVID. Not with elderly parents who rely on me.
So what keeps me sufficiently sane and grounded that it can take seven days before I notice I’ve spent the last seven days in a space the size of a two-car garage?
These three tools – that’s what.
I have been meditating since I learned how to do it from a library book at age 19. So that means I have nearly three full decades of practice under my belt.
I don’t meditate in any fancy or formal way, although I know how to do that.
But most of the time, I meditate in the mornings while lying flat on my back with a pillow over my head and a weighted blanket over the rest of me.
I like to meditate first thing in the morning after waking up. I use this time to decompress from the previous evening’s always-intense dreams, pray, clear my mind and consider my intentions for the new day.
If my mind wakes me up in the middle of the night, I often meditate then as well. This helps me calm down and fall back to sleep because it gives my bored and restless mind something to do.
After I meditate and get out of bed and care for my animals, I do yoga. I do yoga at least five to six days a week (on the days I don’t do yoga, I either swim or cycle).
Moving my body is every bit as important as moving my mind.
Not only does this keep my aching back from literally seceding from the union, so to speak, but it reminds me there is a whole wider world out there.
I prefer to do Yoga with Adriene online on YouTube because she is such a positive teacher, and I’ve been doing her videos for nearly three years now.
3. Animals and nature.
Throughout each day, I have multiple opportunities to stop and take what I call an “animals and nature break.”
Sometimes it is because my parrot, Pearl, wants a snack. Or his neck feathers scratched. Or he wants to play “I drop it and you pick it up” (“it” being the sparkly sequined parrot he pushes off the high work table we share so that I can get up from whatever I am doing, crawl under the chair and retrieve it off the floor for him).
Sometimes it is to go bring my redfoot tortoise, Malti, a snack or to take a lawn break to play with my rescued box turtle, Bruce.
When I take breaks to visit with my animals, I often notice other wonders, such as a marvelously huge and decorative butterfly pollinating some purple flowers or the petite yet fierce red-shouldered hawklets from the neighbor’s tree learning to hunt bugs on the lawn.
I will be honest. Without meditation, yoga (and biking and swimming) and my animals and nature, I wouldn’t be faring so well in life, especially during this pandemic.
What three things (or two things, or four things, or one thing) do you absolutely rely on to help you feel like you no matter what?
With great respect and love,