Staying Focused, Comfortable, and Calm during the Pandemic Part One

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During this time of quarantine, many of us are using our bodies in different ways than we had been in daily life. Working and schooling at home involves increased screen and keyboard time for many.  As we continue to adjust to activity restrictions to protect ourselves and others, some of our go-to exercise outlets, like walking in the park or going to the Y, may not be an option.  

We are wired to be active, movement based learners and workers!  Heavy muscle work through lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, stretching, and more help offset stress and sedentary patterns.  Children doing school at home need frequent movement to “reset” and “wake-up” the brain’s attention, focus, and memory. Move to learn options in the home can include some of the following (and can apply to grown-ups as well☺) 

  • stand up instead of sitting down for listening, talking, and video chats
  • lie down on your belly to read, pushing up actively through your arms
  • set a timer for body breaks every 10 or 15 minutes 
  • every 10 or 15 minutes set the timer again for 2 to 3 minutes of your choice movement - crawl, hop, jump, sit ups, push-ups, toe touches, dance moves, yoga stretches
  • use the voice and breath together to create short chants to express what you are learning
  • use your own body like a drum to tap out learning bytes while speaking
  • Make time for active recess for kids and active lunch for grown-ups!  If possible, get outside to refresh the senses with natural light, sound, and smells around you.  Restore attention levels with nature’s help: listen for birds, smell a flower, touch the bark of a tree, and watch the clouds move. Even gazing outside a window mindfully observing visible signs of nature like clouds and the sun’s shadow is worth doing!  Active, heavy muscle work is essential for all of us, every day!  It helps us be more resourceful and resilient during times of stress. 

    Self-care practices, like getting a haircut, manicure, or bodywork are not considered essential at this time and yet touch is a vital nutritive group in our “sensory diet” which can nourish us and connect us with others.  We may have low levels of vitamin “T” as we practice safe distancing or isolation. 

    Self-touch through daily activities such as bathing, hair brushing, applying lotion, grooming, and nail care help provide a much-needed dose of vitamin “T”.  Learning to do some self-massage like rolling the foot over a tennis ball or massaging the temples, forehead, and scalp with the fingertips to help transition to or from sleep can supplement much needed comforting touch.

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