The Rona-Coaster

I want off the corona-coaster. I know that it’s not over. I just want off.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Right now, it’s okay to feel good and bad at the same time. That’s been the story of my day, literally and it’s not even noon yet as I type. I just learned that my hometown of 3,000 is having a surge of infections. At the same time, I am reaching for a professional milestone, one that’s been years in the making. I am elated and scared to death at the same time. My family has lived in Poteet several generations. I will know people affected by this surge.

In the corona-scape, it’s hard to allow yourself to feel good about anything. Perhaps it’s “surviving” guilt. Perhaps its feeling under-deserving of the good one is receiving in the face of such vast suffering.

It’s okay to feel a lot of things, even conflicted, I’ve had to make peace with that today, not to disown my own good in the face of so much pain. What good things can we own, claim and feel gratitude for?

Today, I encourage you to feel good about what you are achieving and not feel guilt, even when faced with bad news. Then, do something to help fight COVID-19. Donate. Spread reliable information about the virus. Encourage social distancing.

Making the COVID-19 Numbers Personal

I  am sick (not literally) and tired (quite literally) of hearing people say that the deaths from COVID-19 are not large enough to justify the stay-at-home orders. I am fed up with people being so blase about the death toll in the US alone, much less the rest of the world.

signboard informing unavailability of sanitizers

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

As of today, April 30,2020, there have been 63,538 deaths in the USA, with roughly 2000 of those deaths occurring today.  Globally, there have been 230,804 deaths, with 3,400 of those deaths happening today.  Numbers of deaths remain abstractions until we put names to numbers, until we compare.   Let me make some comparisons.

In my own life, I identify strongly with three places:  my county of origin, Atascosa Co., Texas, the University of Texas at Austin, my alma mater and San Antonio, Texas, the nearest large city that I visited as a child.

As of today, there have been 1,092,328 cases of COVID-19 in the United States.  Globally, there have been 3.2 million cases.  The city of San Antonio, Texas has a population of 1.5 million people.  San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S.  This virus has infected the numerical equivalent of a large U.S. city.  Is that not enough?

Now let’s take a look at the deaths.  Deaths in the United states are at 63,000.  My county of origin, Atascosa County, Texas, has a population of roughly 49,000.  The University of Texas at Austin, enrolls 50,000 students.  It’s the 7th largest public university in the country.  Corona deaths have taken out the equivalent of a rural Texas county or a large public university.  Is that not enough?

fashion man people sign

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

By the way, the cities in my county of origin range in population of 2,000-10,000 people.  At the current rate of deaths in the U.S., it’s like one small town is dying off per day.  Is that not enough?

I say enough is enough.  We think of numbers as mere data, cold, hard and impersonal, but these figures get very personal when you compare them to what and who you know, where you came from and where you are.  Let’s stay at home, stay well, stay alive and come out safer and stronger with as many members of our communities alive and kicking as possible.

 

 

Admitting My Fears

I’d be lying right now if I didn’t admit I was scared.

pexels-photo-3952231.jpeg

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I am scared everyday.  I am scared by the lack of leadership and coherence.  I am scared by the lack of unity.  I am scared that there’s no vaccine and not enough tests for this virus.  I am scared of the halt to most filming.  I am scared for loved ones who live in states where social distancing isn’t respected.  I am scared when I sneeze or cough, or feel just plain icky.

Once again, it’s time to inventory what I can and cannot control.

  1.  I can lead by example by social distancing and wearing masks and gloves.  I can post about what I am doing to stop the spread of this virus.  I can set a standard for my family to follow and take proper precautions.
  2. I can choose not to add to the din of social media right now.  I can choose not to attack my neighbors, friends and strangers online or offline.  I can choose to add helpful, factual information from credible sources and actionable tips and advice.  An ignorant person has to choose not to remain ignorant. I can instruct the ignorant, but its not my place to scold or punish those who are willfully and dangerously ignorant.
  3. I am not a scientist.  I choose to trust the science and the scientists, doctors and nurses.  When I need expert advice, I take it.
  4. Many of our industries will bounce back after a time.  It may not be on my preferred timeline, and there will be changes, but the film industry is resilient.  I am resilient and I will adapt as best I can to the changes that will inevitably take place.
  5. I cannot choose the actions or inaction of the federal, states or local governments.  I can share what I know to be true with my family.  They can make their choices in accordance with their local laws.  I may not like what other states are or aren’t doing, but I believe in democracy and I believe people DO get the government they DESERVE.  If you believe you deserve better, vote and act differently.
  6. I can keep my risk of contracting COVID-19 down by maintaining social distance, washing my hands, disinfecting surfaces and keeping myself minimally stressed.  A sneeze is not a death sentence.

When we keep facing our fears, we can be more honest with ourselves.  There is no “okay” right now.  It’s okay to be “not okay”.  However, we can’t just let our fears spin around in our monkey minds.  We need to get curious about them, like we would a new, intriguing species or a first date.

I’ve found Therapeer to be a free, valuable resource to discuss your COVID-19 fears with supportive peers.

Join me on Therapeer to receive peer emotional support, and to support others in need. Follow this link to get your own private support room for free https://www.therapeer.app/invite/xupg3

I am still scared, but I am supported in moving through and beyond my fears.

Managing Your Anxiety During Corona Virus

white toilet paper

Photo by hermaion on Pexels.com

I’ve been making light about the panic around toilet paper and other supplies on my other social channels, but I must  admit, as a person who’s anxious, it was hard to keep things in perspective when out getting groceries today.

I am not a health professional, so please check all the tips I am about to give against your  own common sense, life circumstances and the advice of your doctors, the CDC and your local governments.

  1.  Renew your prescriptions IF THEY ARE LOW.  I have one medication that I take that has some serious withdrawal symptoms if I suddenly stop taking it.  If that’s the case with your medication and you have a week’s worth or less, you may want to consider calling in your refill and picking it up.
  2.   Social distancing does NOT mean isolation.  Facetime and Google Hangouts work.  Reaching out doesn’t mean you have to be in the same room with someone. Reach out, especially to those who are vulnerable.
  3. If you are out, be kind, polite and give people plenty of space.  Our healthcare workers, grocery workers, retail workers and many others are seriously overburdened at this time.  No yelling, shouting or snarky comments are going to make things any better.  Stress ups our susceptibility to disease.  Don’t stress yourself or others out.  Smiling improves your health.
  4. Get support if you are going through a hard time already.  If you are struggling with addiction, there are support groups online too.  If your usual meeting is canceled,  Virtual meetings of AA, Al-Anon and CODA groups are happening all the time, all over the world, and you don’t have to leave your home.  I also recommend Therapeer, an app.  Join me on Therapeer to receive peer emotional support, and to support others in need. Follow this link to get your own private support room for free:  https://www.therapeer.app/invite/xupg3
  5.   Try to keep up your healthy habits, even if your routines are disrupted.  There’s a treasure trove of exercise and yoga classes on YouTube.  It may help to keep up your morning routine even if you’re not commuting to work.
  6. Many of us are news junkies.  It is very important to keep up-to-date on what’s happening, but if you find the news is making you anxious, limit your time reading the news.  Check in the morning, noon and night only, and for short, designated times.  Consider a digital detox.
  7. If you’re bored, try something new.  Take an online class or take on a household project.
  8. Meditate and rest.  Can’t stress this enough.  During today’s grocery store gauntlet, I had to stop and do a quick grounding meditation because I was so unnerved by how under-stocked the shelves were.
  9. Focus on what IS going RIGHT.  Be grateful when stores are still open.  Say thank you to people working at this time, especially in customer service jobs.
  10. Remember and remind yourself of what you can control…and what you can ‘t.  You can control your attitude, your preparedness and your response to this situation as it unfolds.  You cannot control others.  You’re doing the best you can and that’s sometimes the only thing you can really do.
  11. Laughter is great medicine.  Watch a comedy or some stand-up on your TV.  It’s for your health!

petri dishes on table

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The Heart of the Matter

macro shot of light bulb

Photo by Suvan Chowdhury on Pexels.com

One of the biggest and most persistent criticisms of the body positivity movement is the notion that it promotes obesity and in turn, poor health.  Yes, there are strong correlations of high BMIs with heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and even depression.  “Fat and happy” is often a myth.

The reason that I am strongly body positive is that I want to feel good about myself as I make lifestyle changes that support my overall health.  I have always had a higher BMI.  “Skinny” is not in my genes, but “healthy” can be in my habits and my choices.

To that end, I want to remind women everywhere that February is Heart Health Month.  Heart disease the leading cause of death for women, according to the FDA.

According to the FDA, heart attacks manifest differently in women than in men:

The signs of a heart attack can be different for women than they are for men.

  • Heavy ache in your chest or back between your shoulder blades
  • Sharp pain in your upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Unusual or unexplained tiredness
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • Feeling sick to your stomach

You can have a heart attack without experiencing chest pain or pressure. Women may also experience back pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, indigestion, and nausea or vomiting.

Whether you’re lithe or voluptuous, ladies, please schedule a heart check up if you haven’t had one in awhile.  That saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is true.  You only have one heart.  Take care of it for a long, healthy life.

Assess your risk here.

From my big heart to yours, I wish you all a Happy Heart Health Month.  Keep your hearts happy and beating strong.

The Old Injury. The New Perspective.

When I was in 3rd grade, I broke my left arm.  I fell off a swing backwards on the playground and snapped my left ulna.  The bone was set properly.  It seemed to heal quickly.

yoga bitmojiFlash forward a few decades, it’s giving me trouble when I do Wheel Pose during yoga.  I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with yoga.  I’ve settled into a  steady yin and restorative regimen.  I’ve always loved Wheel Pose.  I made an ambitious goal.  I was going to practice Wheel Pose every day.

It seems the old injury has come back.  I can’t get up into wheel everyday.  My left ulna needs a rest for a day and then it will cooperate the next day.  It took me a week or two to figure out why this was.  And then I remembered my elementary school swing incident.

Healing is an ongoing process.  Long after the cast comes off, long after you’ve done talk therapy, you may still have flare ups from an old wound, whether the wound is physical or emotional.  It’s okay to rest.  It’s okay to say, “not today”.  It doesn’t make you less than.

It seems my left forearm needs my patience.  If I force myself into the position, it hurts.  How often have we forced something that ended up hurting ourselves or another?  Probably more often than we’d like to admit.  We’re often told to toughen up, feel the pain, push past it or get on with it.  That’s not how we heal.  We heal by listening.  We heal by respecting our boundaries and limits.  Right now, I have three limbs that are consistently ready to do the Wheel.  My back appreciates the stretch too.  My left arm needs a little coaxing and permission to back off when its too much.

Compassion for yourself is trusting your process–even if its decades-long.

 

 

 

 

 

Deep Coughs, Deep Breaths, Deep Insights

From 12/22 to New Year’s Eve, I caught that nasty bug.  After gallons of cough syrup, mountains of tissue and a lot of rest, I’ve shook most of the nastiness off.  It’s not the first time I’ve been sick during the holidays.  However, this sickness was definitely teaching me something.

I had been keeping a breakneck pace up almost from October forward.  I had crisscrossed the country and also dealt with some decidedly un-fun situations too.  Right before I caught the bug, I felt like I was fighting nearly everything and everyone.  I was hyper-vigilant and agitated.  I feel inadequacy often, and I felt like I was steamrolling into 2019 without a plan and I was a nervous wreck in early December.  Definitely wasn’t feeling “all is calm; all is bright”.

On 12/22, there was a hot tickle in my throat that I knew wasn’t strep.  It’s funny when your throat chakra is out of whack, because it seems like everyone and everything suddenly wants to hear from you.  And there I sat, on my couch, with a a hot lump at the bottom of my throat.

As the illness progressed, it dropped into my chest and I coughed so hard at times that my sides hurt.   Of course the gunk came out in many Pantone shades of yellow to near chartreuse.  I’d tire easily and it was hard to breathe.

photo of plants on white pot

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

I’d put a steamy towel on my face with eucalyptus oil and just inhale.  It helped me get up in the morning.  It would calm my cough down enough to sleep too.  I had to take time just to breathe, with full focus, with full intent.  It’s so important that we breathe, especially if in our stressful moments, especially if our tendency is to hold our breath.  Breath can heal and I was reminded of that as I journeyed with this bug.

Stillness heals too.  How often to we allow ourselves the healing that’s available in stillness–not expecting anything of ourselves, not moving, not doing?  I need more stillness in my life.  The world didn’t end because I wasn’t managing it.

 

I slept with intention.  I’ve been learning to set an intention before I sleep, especially to heal what needs healing, resolve that which needs resolving.  I had very thick, metaphoric dreams when I was ill.  I paid attention to them.  The struggle in my dream world reflected the tensions I felt when supposedly wide awake.

alcohol alcoholic beverage celebrate

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I finally shook off most of this illness on NYE.  I still have a shallow cough, but I’m mostly back to being Kristin, but Kristin with a new perspective–one that is paying attention to her breath and giving herself enough stillness.

My wish for you is that you have a wonderful, healthy, happy 2019.

Thank you for journeying with me!

 

Healthier…Not Necessarily Skinnier

Tess Holliday clapped back this week against those she called, “concern trolls“, declaring that ther health is no one’s business.  I agree with Tess.  Her health is nobody’s concern but her’s but it did cause me to look at my own health and define what I consider to be a “healthy” version of me.

body positivityIs the healthiest version of me thin?  Not necessarily.  Is the healthiest version of me a certain set of measurements.  Nope.  What is health then, in a world that fat shames, peddles diet pills, counts calories and reduces women’s value to measurements?

The healthiest version of me is doesn’t cry in fitting room because I’m not squeezing into a specific, idealized size.  The healthiest version of me does not look in a mirror and automatically think, “You’re so fat.”  The healthiest version of me does not reach for the control top shape wear every time I have to go out of the house for the most mundane errand.  The healthiest version of me doesn’t care about what the advertisers say or the celebrity gossip rags say about what parts of my body I should feel insecure about.  The healthiest version of me is the version of me that doesn’t mind the jiggles or the cellulite so much.

The healthiest version of me is the happiest version of me.  The healthiest version of me is the version of me that’s compassionate to the woman I am today, all my layers.  The healthiest version of me is the version of me that knows that I am worthy just because of who I am.  The healthiest version of me is the embodiment of self esteem, no matter what the scale says.

Health is whole body, whole mind, whole spirit experience.  It’s not set of measurements or how you look in a photo.  Embrace your whole self and whole health this week.