April 7, 2020
I have always thought Tuesdays were hardest day of the week. There are still too many days between Tuesday and the weekend. As I sit here at my makeshift work station aka my dining room table I take note of how my physical body is awakening to this soon to be rainy Tuesday. I notice that my legs are a little achy. My eyes are tired from all the screen time I’m getting. My desk chair doesn’t quite fit the height of my dining room table so my elbows are in a funny position as I type. My back pillow isn’t doing its job. It’s chilly in here. And apparently I cannot be pleased today.
The way in which my body takes up physical space today is very much a Tuesday kind of vibe. Not quite close enough to the relief of the weekend and too stationary and confined to really burn off any kinetic energy building up and forming anxiety deep within my gut. A friend from seminary just texted that she felt anxious because she was late for work end of her couch because she spent too much time on the rest end watching Good Morning America. What exactly have we become?
It's obvious that our routines have been disrupted. Those of us working from home have had to adapt to a whole new way of fitting our physical bodies into spaces designed for living, not for working. For those of you still in the field you too have had a disruption of your routines. Wearing masks is a physical barrier to emotional and spiritual connections our nurses and aids provide to our patients and families. The incessant use of hand sanitizer and hand soap has dried out your hands to the point of touching a patient physically hurts. You get in the car, don your PPE, walk in the facility or home, walk back to the car, doff your PPE (in the proper order of course) and drive on down the road to the next one. It’s enough to make the whole body feel like an early Tuesday morning: too far from the weekend, too much let yet to do.
It’s ok to break the routines we’ve settled into. The necessities of our current experiences have created work arounds and patches to keep up the patient care we pride ourselves in providing. So not only does our mental and emotional wellbeing take a toll, our bodies experience these changes too. So, it’s expected that we feel like we’re working twice as hard as usual. Our bodies are tired, our souls are tired.
It’s ok if you’re a few minutes late to the dining room table or the work end of the couch. How about changing things up for 5 minutes today? What I mean by that is “How have you purposely moved in a way that isn’t related to work or rest?” I’m talking about intentional movement. No, I didn’t say exercise. That’s just rude. What I’m asking is when was the last you time you moved your body, your whole body, to some music. I’m talking about loud, soul moving, toe tapping, whole body moving music!!! Turn it on, turn it up and take 5 minutes to move! Even if you’re in the car. Take a break from the routine, move your body and your soul. It might be Tuesday, but it’s a Saturday night dance party right there in the living room or the front seat of your car.
So hang in there…the body does indeed keep the score of our collective traumas. Our physical selves are just as important to care for as our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Dance then like a 3 year old with a handful of animal crackers wearing their favorite sassy sunglasses standing in a rain puddle!
“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching, Love like you'll never be hurt, Sing like there's nobody listening, And live like it's heaven on earth.” ― William W. Purkey