Yoga

Hip Openers

I've had problems with my hips for a while, almost certainly because I spend so much time sitting at a desk. But lockdown is worse, because I'm moving around even less than normal.

  • Yoga video of suggested hip openers, for people who spend all day sitting down.
  • Here's my attempt to describe them in words I'll understand (so I don't have to watch a video every time):
    • Wide-legged child, same as child but with knees apart, hips sitting on heels
    • or lie on back, holding knees apart and pulling up to chest
    • Low lunge, knee over ankle, back knee on ground
    • or half happy baby lying on back
    • Lizard, like low lunge but with foot on outer edge of hand
    • you can roll the front leg outwards if you like - make sure to flex at ankle and rotate hip, knee and ankle all in same direction
    • Pigeon lunge on the ground
    • or the gentler alternative, lying on your back and doing eye of the needle
    • Warrior 2 pose (front foot facing forward, back foot parallel to back of mat, head facing over front foot, arms out, gaze wide, front hip knee and ankle aligned, squeeze into the mid line) hip yoga

Mental Health

See also Staying sane during the COVID-19 crisis below.

COVID-19 / coronavirus / Sars-CoV-2

Staying sane during the COVID-19 crisis

Meg John and Justin: Podcast and Resources on Stress and Coronavirus

Resilience

Resilience during coronavirus

Unfuck your brain

  • Coping with pandemic panic - free session from Kara Loewentheil ("Harvard law school grad, feminist rockstar, and master coach").

I found this really helpful, but it's worth saying that Kara Loewentheil's style doesn't work for everyone. In a nutshell, she's saying that you can't control what's happening in the world, but you can control how you react to it. Death and sickness have always been present and have always been things that could affect both ourselves and our loved ones. It's never been helpful to worry and obsess over those things, but because right now everybody IS worrying and obsessing over it, there is an unstated pressure to join in. Resist that pressure. Do everything you need to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, but take those actions out of love instead of out of anxiety.

If you don't find that Kara's style works for you, don't feel bad! Turn it off and try one of the things below instead.

Control what you can, accept what you can't

controlling covid-19

Don't put pressure on yourself to become super-productive

APPLE technique to deal with anxiety

AnxietyUK suggests practising the "Apple" technique to deal with anxiety and worries.

  • Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the anxious thoughts as they comes to mind.
  • Pause: Don't react as you normally do. Don't react at all. Pause and breathe.
  • Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and any apparent need to know exactly what will happen next is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
  • Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don't have to respond to it. You might imagine it floating away in a bubble or cloud.
  • Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else - mindfully with your full attention.

ODAAT - One Day at a Time

This is an edited version of a description of this technique from my friend Lou:

"In order to stay calm, you have to be calm one day at a time. I find it a great way to ground myself if I'm starting to live in the future (futile, not happened yet) or past (not helpful as can't change etc) That's not to say that you shouldn't plan for the future or neglect the lessons of the past but by staying in our head there, we're not present in the place where we actually have some control.

Here's an example. Say you plan to have a re-decorated sitting room by the end of this period of social distancing / wfh / isolating.

Your locus of control is now - that's where you order the paint / brushes and other things you need. It's also where you do the painting. Reminiscing about how you didn't order enough paint last time, or daydreaming about how it will look when finished are exercises of the mind - they don't help you achieve the actual task. Likewise beating yourself up about how you fuck ed it up last time or telling yourself that you are shit at DIY and therefore being scared to start is another future dwelling pointless exercise. Things that would be of use like " I did Y last time and it resulted in unwelcome X - perhaps if I try A it will be better" is a more helpful way of framing / planning, and is useful."

Try to pay attention to the positive things you have achieved each day, and give yourself some acknowledgement for those things. And be kind to yourself when circumstances make it hard to follow any kind of plan.

Don't Worry

One of my favourite poems, by Julia Darling, one of my favourite poets:

Don’t Worry

about the food you haven’t bought,
if your daughter caught that train,
the bill that came, the twinge
in your right leg. Don’t fuss.
The washing on the line
will dry again. It’s not your fault
So what if you lied?
Don’t be ashamed.

And don’t worry that you promised.
It doesn’t matter about those promises. Let them go.
Just tell her you don’t like her if you don’t.
You needn’t see the doctor with bad breath.
Behave badly. Lie on the floor.
Throw a tantrum if you’re bored.
Be late. Be sordid. Eat six pies.
Or trick them by being euphoric.

Above your head a flock of geese
are flying South. Beneath your feet
worms aren’t worrying.

NB: This collection is already a couple of weeks old. Do you really need to follow these links? Maybe you'd be better off finding something more calming to look at.

Older covid stuff you probably already know