Friday, March 27, 2020

Paused in New York

As the world is experiencing turbulent times, I find myself living in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic – New York City. Super Storm Sandy and 9/11 couldn’t bring us to our knees, but the Coronavirus did. We’re practically shut down, and the streets are eerily desolate in a city where hustle and bustle, crowed streets, and bumper to bumper traffic are a daily way of life. Although those things can be frustrating and intolerable at times, right now it would all be a welcome comfort. Yesterday I went for a walk in the afternoon and I was actually afraid. 

I didn't take this photo. I will look for the source and credit. 

As I write this there are a little over 20,000 confirmed cases here in the city, and it is estimated that 80% of us will contract the virus. Overnight there were 100 deaths. I’m lucky to be well, and I’m extremely lucky to be able to work both of my jobs from home – for now. My anxiety is running high and is increasing every day. I worry about my family, some who have pre-existing conditions, and I worry about friends who are essential workers who are out there every day. I hate to leave my house (which I rarely do), and it’s almost getting to the point where I’m scared to do so. My full time job is in congregate care and every day I live in fear that I’m going to be told I have to return to work to take care of the clients (several who have tested positive for COVID-19.) 





I'm sure my blog will sorely suffer during this period. Between being busy working from home all day, teaching distance learning a few nights a week (both of which I’m grateful for) and living in a constant state of anxiety, I’m exhausted. Not to mention my concentration is shot.

Luckily, Lola and Lexy are a source of comfort for me. They are their usual calm and happy selves, enjoying birdwatching, sun baths, and naps and I'm happy to have their company while we're "paused." One of them makes an appearance during my daily virtual staff meetings or my webex classes, and today Lexy entertained my staff with high fives. I'm sure I'm now the official crazy cat lady, but I don't care. I hope she brought a smile to a few faces. 





One of the many hats I wear is that of a Licensed Massage Therapist, and self-care is a big part of this profession. I put together a list of self-care activities for my students, and I wanted to share it with my readers. Taking care of our mind, body and soul is so important during this crisis. So this post isn't extremely long, I won't go into detail about each exercise. If you do a google search you'll find some great details. I hope you find some of these helpful. Please share what you’re doing to take care of yourself in the comments.

I’m sending light and love to all of you. Please be well.

Dawn



Self-Care Techniques for Getting Through a Difficult Time

As the world is going through a very difficult time, one of the most important things to remember is self-care. Better self-care helps our mind, body, and spirit handle stress in a healthier manner. Below are some suggestions to help bring some calmness and peace of mind to your day as anxiety runs high and many are on an emotional roller coaster.

Breathing Techniques

Although it may feel unnatural to breathe deeply, the practice comes with various benefits. Deep breaths are more efficient: they allow your body to fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide. They have also been shown to slow the heartbeat, lower or stabilize blood pressure and lower stress. Paying attention to how we breathe can often be overlooked because it’s completely automatic. However, becoming aware of and incorporating breathing exercises into our daily routine has many benefits, including promoting calmness, increasing focus, and performing your best.

Diaphragmatic Breathing
Rib Stretch Breathing
Breath Focus
Numbered Breathing

Relaxation Techniques

Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Body Scan Meditation
Mindfulness Meditation


Photo by Modkat

Self Massage

A combination of strokes works well to relieve muscle tension. Try gentle chops with the edge of your hands or tapping with fingers or cupped palms. Put fingertip pressure on muscle knots. Knead across muscles, and try long, light, gliding strokes. You can apply these strokes to any part of the body that falls easily within your reach. For a short session like this, try focusing on your neck and head:


  1. Start by kneading the muscles at the back of your neck and shoulders. Make a loose fist and drum swiftly up and down the sides and back of your neck. Next, use your thumbs to work tiny circles around the base of your skull. Slowly massage the rest of your scalp with your fingertips. Then tap your fingers against your scalp, moving from the front to the back and then over the sides.
  2. Now massage your face. Make a series of tiny circles with your thumbs or fingertips. Pay particular attention to your temples, forehead, and jaw muscles. Use your middle fingers to massage the bridge of your nose and work outward over your eyebrows to your temples.
  3. Finally, close your eyes. Cup your hands loosely over your face and inhale and exhale easily for a short while.
Additional Things to Help With Stress at This Time

Maintain a Routine
According to Dr. Russell G. Buhr, a pulmonologist at U.C.L.A. Health. maintaining a routine, like can positively affect mental health. Continue getting up at your usual time. We may have the urge to sleep in every day but set your alarm for your usual time. Shower and get dressed -don’t stay in your pajamas all day – and eat a nourishing breakfast. Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep.


Take a Break From the News
The statistics we hear on a daily basis can be very intimidating and seem like they’re predicting gloom and doom. Take a break from the news from time to time – try to watch only the morning and/or evening news. 

Photo by Helping Paws Animal Shelter

Move!
It’s important to keep your body moving. You can go out and walk or run, but if you’re uncomfortable doing that exercise indoors. Create your own routine or go on Youtube and find an exercise or yoga video. 

It’s Okay to Laugh!
During a serious, stressful time laughter can be the best medicine. Put on a comedy, tell jokes with a friend, or reminisce with friends and family about happy memories. 








19 comments:

  1. Thank for this post, which I have shared on my Facebook page. My cat, Sasha and I live in Adelaide, which is a very different place. But I can relate to the approaching fear. I have thought of New York as such an exciting place to live, although I have never been to USA. It is see it so silent. Please look after yourself. From another crazy cat lady.

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    1. Thank you for sharing. What is your Facebook page? I want to make sure to follow.

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  2. We hope that in NY as across the globe, we start to get to grips with things and stem the tide. People are resiliant I know, but it is hard to think that things will ever return to as they were before. Heres hoping all goes well for you and yours. Mrs H said maybe nows the time for everyone to write that book theyve been putting off, MOL
    Purrs
    ERin

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  3. It is a scary time - the empty streets here creep my momma out.

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  4. Lola, Lexy and Mom, I am glad you three wrote about how you're faring. It matters a lot to me and mom how all our friends are in the CB. Snuggles from me and hugs from mom. She is trying to deal with this too. XX

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  5. It is good you find a little peace and calm in each day, and we thank you for sharing with us. Please continue to stay safe, sad/hard times for all ...
    Ann

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  6. Thank you for these techniques!
    This is a crazy, horrible time.
    Please take care.

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  7. We were wondering how you were doing up there and we're sorry y'all have it so bad, we'd all be scared to go out too. Our area is very quiet but there are still a large number of people venturing out every day, just because they can. Stay safe, healthy and virus-free.

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  8. I can't imagine how scary it must be living in NY. I don't go out here, and we don't have anywhere near the cases you have over there. Stay safe, my friend! And thank you for these tips.

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  9. It is a scary time everywhere in the world right now. We are both in the higher risk category and have to avoid contact with others for 12 weeks. It is impossible to get a delivery slot to have groceries delivered before the end of April. Thankfully one of the girls who keeps her horse with us is getting the essentials for us and leaving them by the gate when she comes out.
    Stay safe and well.

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  10. excellent post and I sympathize with your predicament; may you stay well and healthy through this scary time. Your advice is excellent and I will use your suggestions! Thanks so much!

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  11. Thank you for all these wonderful tips. Praying you don't get the virus. XO

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  12. It's such a scary time for everyone, but even more so for those like you in the epicenter of this mess. Stay safe, and loads of purrs headed your way!

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  13. The mom is freaking out over what is happening. We are trying to keep her as calm as we can. But the tips you provided will help too. Thanks.

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  14. Self-care is SO important right now! Stress lowers the immune system, and it's even more important right now that humans take care of body and soul.

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  15. I work from home and New Zealand simply does not have cities the size of New York but we visited so I can imagine how creepy it is. People are coping here so far and we have far fewer cases I am relieved to say. We do however have the same level of lonny toilet roll hoarders. (I assume they are the secret of making it edible ad aren't sharing!)

    Paul is at home (he remembers meeting you when we visited BlogPaws!) and as a result I have a much stronger structure to my day so I agree 1,000,000% that you need to 'Maintain a Routine'. I am doing art classes, Revising my SEO online class (hard work that one ;-) ) and improving my photography unless its raining in the garden!

    Our New Zealand epicentre is further north and we are out of the nearest city and I am So grateful for that.

    Stay safe you three!

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  16. I really hope you stay safe. We're in the third highest of cases state but NY has much, much more. It's being predicted that other states such as ours will be like New York. Your post is helpful and honest. I'm so sorry for the anxiety you're feeling. Hugs to you and Lola and Lexy.

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  17. Yes, these are crazy and unprecedented times, for sure. We've been thinking of you lots, and are glad you are doing okay. We are purring that you stay safe and well!

    As you know, our offices are in NYC, too. But the whole organization has been remote for two weeks now, and I actually started working from home a week before that. But now that everyone is remote (all of our regional offices, too), it's a little "we're all in this together," so somehow, a little comforting. Things here in Connecticut are bad, especially here in Fairfield County and in our city. But we're hanging in.

    Thank you for the self-care tips.

    XO

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  18. Unbelievable how silent it is everywhere, Lola and Lexi😸Pawkisses for a Happy Sunday. Stay Safe Healthy and Yourselfie🙏🐾😽💞

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