quarantined

What to Keep

LA SkylineAs the world struggles through the Covid-19 pandemic and begins its slow recovery, there seems to be a need to shed all that is no longer serving. In order to heal, we need to reflect on our current condition and define that which is harming us and that which makes us stronger. We need to let go of old practices and patterns that are holding us back and build upon the things that work.

I believe this to be the case with the Earth, with the global economy, and with each of us individually.

Ever since the human lockdown in mid March, the Earth has felt substantial relief. With an enormous decrease in the use of fossil fuels, the carbon footprint has been drastically reduced and as a result we have seen less pollution and a re-emergence of wildlife. 

Many believe that we are being offered a unique opportunity to use the reduced levels of CO2 output as a starting point and find ways to maintain this lower level in the coming years. However, many also fear that as we re-emerge into the world, it will be easy to fall back into our old habits without earnest intent and strict discipline.

The good news is that we have been given another chance. What remains to be seen is how we choose to move forward.

Economically speaking, there is an overwhelming need to re-evaluate as well. With many businesses being forced to shut down (albeit temporarily), consumers have explored alternative ways to satisfy their needs.  

We have cooked more of our meals or done takeout and curbside pickup.  We have turned towards alternative forms of exercise such as walking, biking and online workout classes. We are seeing the benefits of internet shopping as we enjoy the safety and convenience of having food and products delivered right to our doorsteps, and as additional people work effectively from home, we question the need for elaborate office space in expensive locations (or any office space for that matter).

Many of these new practices will permanently replace the old ways of doing business. We may see fewer restaurants, gyms, office buildings, and storefronts. We’ll see a difference in the way food is distributed and how we work. In an attempt to survive financially, we’ll rid ourselves of the practices that no longer work in favor of those that do.

On a personal level, I have been consumed with a similar thought process. My life and habits have changed drastically over the last few months and I’m realizing some of the new ways may be working better. I have found that coloring my hair once a month is easy, looks almost as good, and is much more time and cost effective. I have found that I can cook a meal just as well if not better than most restaurants at a fraction of the cost and that the scope and variety of workout options online may be all I need. I have realized that I don’t have to travel long distances to find adventure and outdoor activity, and I have seen the advantages of being able to work virtually.

The overall trend is towards scaling back, becoming more efficient, spending less, choosing quality over quantity, having a decreased impact on the environment, reducing meat intake, and adopting a healthier lifestyle (which values less as more). In other words, shedding what I don’t really need and building on the rest. 

As the world begins to re-open and we evaluate our new and old habits, I urge everyone to give careful consideration to what is working and what is not, for the earth, for our economy and for ourselves. I hold hope that we will let go of the habits and practices that are harmful and decide wisely what to keep.

A Night Without TV

No TV Blog

I have never been a big TV watcher. For as far back as I can remember, I could only take so much. I would have periods of binging or try out the most popular show, but the distraction never lasted long because ultimately, it didn’t make me feel good. 

Since the pandemic quarantine, however, things have changed. 

We have been watching TV nearly every night. With the scope, variety, and quality of shows offered by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO at our fingertips, there is never a shortage of options. That, coupled with the need to escape from the world right now, makes the temptation hard to resist. The increase of stress, uncertainty, change, and loss in our current lives leaves us seeking relief, and with those distractions involving socialization unavailable, what’s left?

For most of us, the ritual of evening TV watching does the trick. It pulls us away from our thoughts about work, family, finances, the future, and sucks us into a world of make believe. It entertains us. It numbs us. 

In the long run, however, it may be making things worse. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, watching TV before bed can have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. Not only do you tend to stay up later to find out what happens next but the increase in programming with high levels of violence, gore, or suspense “may leave you feeling anxious and contribute to tossing and turning.” On top of that, an even bigger problem is the light emitted from the screen which disrupts your body’s natural clock and inhibits its production of melatonin, throwing off your REM sleep and resulting in morning drowsiness.

Full Article: https://www.sleep.org/articles/is-it-bad-to-watch-tv-right-before-bed/

Binge watching (even during the day) can cause problems as well. According to Jenna Birch in an article in the Washington Post, How Binge Watching is Hazardous to Your Health  (June 3, 2019), “binge-watching can affect your cardiovascular system, your vision, your socialization and your sleep patterns which can lead to other problems.”

Full Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/how-binge-watching-is-hazardous-to-your-health/2019/05/31/03b0d70a-8220-11e9-bce7-40b4105f7ca0_story.html

Last night, we decided to take a break. 

Instead of planning our night around a new Netflix show, we spent some time chatting while cooking a special dinner. We played our guitars, went for a walk, and got into bed early with a good book. My eyes were closed before 10 and I had the best sleep I’ve had in days. 

We are not planning to cut out TV altogether, but we do see the benefits of cutting back. With the high levels of gore, violence, and suspense in the real world right now, we don’t see a need to add more. Our vow is to look for activities that are calming, healing, and relationship building. 

It’s an idea worth considering.

Photo from NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/back-basics-how-instituting-nightly-reading-ritual-has-become-my-ncna1071391

 

Staying Balanced at Home

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I am a massage therapist and healer by trade, and since Covid-19 arrived, I have been unable to see clients in person, to soothe their muscles on the massage table, to work out the knots that prevent them from moving, to reduce their anxiety and stress. 

I imagine that most are seeking opportunities to heal on their own through walks in nature, getting more sleep, cooking healthy meals, reaching out to loved ones, exercising regularly, and spending more time engaged in relaxing activities. I appreciate all that people are doing to keep the focus on the positive, to embrace the healing that is coming from all of this.

I am advocating that we take it one step further by implementing therapeutic services at home. Of course, it’s not quite the same as going to a hands-on studio, but it is surprising how much can be done on your own (or with a partner) from the comfort of your own home.

For those who are interested, I did some research and found a few Youtube links to get you started. 

Self Massage with a Foam Roller 

This video offers a full body routine and covers most of the main muscle groups. It will leave you feeling like you just got a professional full body massage (well, almost). There is also a link to purchase a foam roller if you are interested and don’t already have one. I would highly recommend this technique as it is also a perfect complement to regular professional massage and can be continued once you return to your regular therapist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu-rVZVSzxs

Self Massage with a Tennis Ball

If you don’t have a foam roller or want to get to more specific areas of the muscles, tennis balls are a wonderful option. This video will give you some basic ideas. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY-7CXAHxfY

Couples Massage for Beginners

This is a gentle and easy-to-follow guide for couples. If you are lucky enough to be quarantined with someone you like (at least a little :-), give this a try. I guarantee it will be a practice you carry forward even after the pandemic has passed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aliKjIcDMQ0

And if you don’t have a massage table and want an idea for creating one on the floor, you might like this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKSsAs_GMpM

Once you’ve loosened your muscles and slipped into a relaxed state, you may want to continue the treatment by giving yourself a facial, taking a warm bath, lighting some candles, diffusing essential oils, and hydrating your skin with a cream of your choice. There are plenty of products out there to get you going. I have decided to clean out my drawers and use up all the creams and serums I’ve collected over the years (including samples). It’s been a fun way to try new products while clearing space.

There are many ways to set up a home healing space and I hope you delve into it with a creative and playful approach.

Feel free to contact me at wsaydah@gmail.com with any questions related to the at home techniques. I am sending you all continued love and light during this difficult time and reminding everyone that the more love and care you put into yourself and those around you, the less room there will be for anything harmful to get in.