We are solidly in week two of social distancing in the Atlanta, GA area. The euphoria of the first week, of the enjoyment of alone time, is wearing thin. If my Facebook feed is any indication, many of my friends are in the same part of the process of adapting to something new - we are exercising new emotional muscles, and we are weary. I find myself longing for physical touch from other human beings. I work with my hands in everything I do. The new normal is exhausting and I just want my life back.
I have seen some suggestions recently that re-framing the terms we are using might help re-frame the fear and anxiety into something more tolerable, less terrifying. I like these suggestions a lot, so I’ll share them here. What if, instead of “social distancing” we practice “physical distancing?” There is no need to shut out or stop interacting with our friends. We just can’t be in the same room together. In fact, my dear friend Sarah emailed me the other day to set up a virtual dinner party for us tonight. We’ll all meet on Facetime at 6:30 pm, sitting next to our spouses on the same side of the table, with the laptop in front of us, eating our dinners together. We’ll be practicing physical distancing, but we will not be socially isolated in hanging out with our friends over dinner. I love this idea. Who else wants to have dinner with Dave and me?
So, don’t add that extra free course in languages just because you can. Go ahead and binge watch Netflix. I know I did last night, after I ate the chocolate cake I baked. (Some days are worse than others, and stress baking is real.) Even though we’re apart, we’re all in this together. If you’d like a distance Alexander lesson, or even just to talk, I’m here. I’d like to talk to you and teach a bit, even if it is hands-free.
And one more thing, use this time to catch up with people you love. Call your old friends. Say everything to them you need and want to say. Don’t miss the opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Constructive Rest is the classic Alexander Technique exercise of “undoing.” If you find yourself physically and mentally stressed, if you’re having a hard time breathing fully, if your body is begging you to lie down, Constructive Rest is for you.
Set up: (A yoga mat is helpful, but optional.) Lie down on the floor with a book or magazines under your head. Feel the ridge of your skull resting on the book. You should be able to look straight up and feel your throat as open - if your head is tipped too far back or too far forward your throat may feel a bit more constricted. Play with book height to find a place where you are most comfortable.
Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees raised.
Place your hands on your belly so you can sense your breathing.
Stay on the floor for 10 - 20 minutes. When you’re ready to get up, bring your attention back to your breath. Then roll gently onto one side keeping your head resting on the books. Use your hands to push you up to sitting, allowing your neck to stay soft. Stay there a moment and notice how you feel before standing and walking around a bit.