How are you affected by social distancing? One of our members feels like her days are flying by and she just can’t get motivated to do things that need to be done. There is also the anxiety that comes with going to the store or taking a walk outside, the accompaning fear of being less than six feet from another person. This creates a new conflict. We are social creatures, confined to our homes to control the spread of the coronavirus. The face-to-face interaction we crave has been replaced by technology.
Another member shares her wise thoughts and practical suggestions about social distancing: I find it interesting that when we had schedules and routines, we actually accomplished much and the days seemed to go slower. And yet, we seemed to have more energy.
THEN: What I mean is (before quarantine) we each had a routine: time to get up and then exercise, have breakfast, shower, start our scheduled day as in . . . off to work (for me), socializing at breaks or when I walked through the halls. During those scheduled days, we are moving constantly (walking, doing stairs, sitting, standing, blah blah). OR: we have appointments–getting our hair or nails done; or going to exercise class or doctor visits; or shopping or buying groceries; or attending a support group or [fill in whatever you normally did]. Lunch rolls around and we eat. The afternoon takes on various looks with more appointments and “stuff” to do. We run errands, fix dinner, rest or nap. Then it is dinner and the evening of interacting with our families and finally bedtime. Our days were full of activity and naturally moving!
NOW: We may have a routine or schedule BUT everything is different! Plus we must stay inside! We must not socialize in person! We must wear masks! Blah blah! Plus!!! Throw in there all these new circumstances and this creates naturally–fear. What does fear alone do to PD folks? Fear paralyzes us. It also creates stress!! What does stress do?! Stress is like gasoline on fire! Our symptoms appear out of nowhere and create more stress or fear . . . this then creates a vicious cycle that is hard to break!! And our new routines and schedules do not have us naturally moving as much as we normally did before, so we become slower and stiffer and hurt and more tired!! Time passes more quickly–our days seem to fly by–and we all of a sudden realize we haven’t done much at all, which only causes us to be disappointed in ourselves, leading to depression that could lead to a downward spiral.
There: Ya have my thoughts. BUT, ladies!! Listen up!! There is much HOPE!
HOPE as in: Make a list of simple, healthy, encouraging things to do every day that feed good health and a good mindset that are easy to accomplish:
1. Wake up at a normal time most every day
2. Exercise right away or at least do the routine PD stretches
3. Eat breakfast /shower (whichever order you need to feel good)
4. Read something to stimulate your mind for even fifteen minutes a day
5. Get outside and walk as the out-of-doors is uplifting in and of itself
6. Do something that makes you laugh! Laugh often!
Wise words of one of our members indeed! I love her list. We all have our own routines and timelines that are so important to follow to feel good in mind and body. Adding to #4, I believe keeping our minds active is essential. I read inspirational stuff each day. I also try to read part of a book. Or a magazine article. Or an online site. Anything other than what’s in the news. Something to keep my brain focused and get me thinking.
Stimulating discussions are good too, as is writing. I try to get my thoughts down on the page a couple of times a week. It gets them out of my head! Other members chimed in that in addition to the value of writing in a journal or diary, being grateful and expressing that gratitude helps too.
Thanks to the members who contributed their thoughts, ideas, and words to this post. Hope we got you thinking!
A reminder about our virtual meeting next Wednesday May 6 from 1.00 – 3.00 p.m. Information to join our meeting online will be sent out shortly. Please plan to sign on at 12.45 p.m. so we are all set when our guest speaker, Dr. Sean Rogers, Neurologist and Movement Disorder Specialist with INOVA, joins us.