Getting Back in the Saddle after the Barn Has Burned Down

Holy roasting dumpster fire, Batman! What a shit show the last few months have been. I don’t know about you guys, but I honestly don’t know how I continue to go through some days without screaming into a pillow. We’re all aware of what’s going on, and yet each day something else comes up that makes a collective groan of stress reverberate around the globe. (For me yesterday it was watching clips of the US Presidential Debate – holy…fuck.)

But that’s why I’m sitting here at 6am with a very large coffee in my hands and tapping away at this first post in ages. Because it’s simply not an option for me anymore to do nothing, and to wait for things to get better. To continue on the same course of action that I have been (mainly, nothing) would only lead to a further increase in stress, unhappiness, headaches, and over all shoddy mental health. So this post is my crie de coeur to announce that changes must be made in order to gird myself for whatever the hell else is going to be thrown our way.

How have I been getting back in the saddle? I’ll tell you:

  • Reading. Watching the horrendous atrocities happening in the US, and then seeing further boldness from assholes in Canada, has opened my eyes a lot. I was sitting here in a boatload of privilege without doing anything to further educate myself. After George Floyd’s death and the subsequent BLM action, I committed to reading books addressing racism and white privilege. This is including books by Canadian First Nations’ authors, who highlight the injustices they are faced with by the government on a daily basis. It is not pleasant reading, but it is important, necessary, and a better use of my time than many of my other pursuits. (That being said, I absolutely throw in a trashy murder mystery, usually in between heavier topics. Need some entertainment on my bookshelf too!)
  • Walking. So. Much. Walking. My husband and I recently moved to Vancouver Island, and the smaller population of our town coupled with huge areas of trails means that we can go out walking without worrying about socially distancing. We bring our masks and walk single file if we see someone else, but on the whole we have been able to walk for a couple of hours each day without seeing too many other people.
  • Bodyweight workouts. I have been able to go to the gym, which has been very cathartic, but I’m still not entirely comfortable with it if it is busy. I go at 5am, so there’s usually just me and a couple of others, but when it is busy and I want to work out I go to a spare area in my house and bust out some push ups and squats. It keeps the blood going and it makes me feel better about the giant chocolate bar I consumed ten minutes before hand. I also recommend air punches. Give that anger an outlet!
  • Talking on the phone. Yes, an old-fashioned phone call. I’ve stopped Zoom because it hurts my eyes and adds a bit of stress, so I decided to stay in touch with people by talking only to them. It’s been great, and I hope to continue it.
  • Writing. There’s something about getting all your pent-up aggression/anger out onto a piece of paper (my first journal entry in September was literally the word FUCK written out about thirty times, and it felt great).
  • Getting outside every day. Even if it is sitting on my front step, I get outside without a screen and just listen/breathe. Two weeks ago my area got blanketed by smoke from the US wildfires and it was too dangerous to go outside. Being stuck indoors really rammed home for me how much I need to get outside and hear the birds and crickets every single day.

The list could go on and on, and some of it is more wishful thinking than actual concrete action I have taken, but it feels really good to post something on this blog for the first time in a very long time. It’s my own personal way of healing and calming, and I’m grateful for it. Stay safe everyone.

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