As 2022 unfurled, I was feeling somewhat blah and blue. The unyielding grip that COVID-19 has on the world, the weather, not enough exercise...blah, blah, blah...it was all conspiring to leave me feeling rather bruised.
January usually signifies a fresh start, a chance to do things over again. Or to do them differently, or better. But this year, my get up and go seemed to have gone somewhere without letting me know where and when it went.
Finding a Formula
Good emotional, mental and physical health is not just one thing. It's a formula that I've tinkered with over the years. Add this, subtract that, alter, shake, stir, experiment and accept.
I've discovered that my formula has a margin of error. If I miss or mess up on a few elements, I'll be okay. However, when too many crucial elements are missing, the end result is an inexorable pull down into the icy depths of despair.
Despite ongoing health and family challenges, I've been able to maintain my equilibrium throughout the pandemic. When the pool closed, I began my municipality walking projects in addition to doing exercise at home (Essentrics and qigong). Once the pool reopened, I took part in "COVID swimming." Those activities coupled with my other self-care practices (addressing and undressing my stress, eating well, maintaining friendships, both old and new, etc.) made a difference.
Here in the Lower Mainland, we've had an abnormal winter. First flooding, then snow and icy conditions. Yes, I know, we're weather-spoiled here on the West Coast. However, I am familiar with a typical Canadian winter, having lived over half my life in Central Canada.
But the weather and COVID-19 were accomplices that had a negative impact on my resolution to honour January's promise of a fresh start. Instead, I fell into a slump - my walking project went nowhere. Torrential rains and/or slippery snow-covered sidewalks did not appeal to me. The last thing I needed was to fall and either dislocate or break a hip. With the children off school and venturing into the pool, I didn't want to increase my exposure to Omicron. To make matters worse, I fell into making some poor food choices.
As it turns out, it's not unusual to experience the January blahs. As this article points out - and I can confirm - exercise is an important ingredient in the blah-busting, mood-adjusting, self-care formula. To enhance it, add fresh air. As my mom would say, as she bundled us up and sent us out to play in -30F temperatures: "Go outside and get some fresh air. You'll feel better!"
But, January Is Not Over!
It's still raining, but not so hard that I feel like I'll be washed down the drain with all the detritus that has accumulated over the past few months. The kids are back at school, so the pool feels safer. Get-out-of-the-house exercise routines, coupled with a resolution to apply the formula that works for me has put me back on track. Step-by-step, stroke-by-stroke and breath-by-breath, I move away from the January blahs.
Bruises eventually fade
A bruise doesn't last forever. It may hurt for a while, but then it eventually fades, just like the January blah and blue feelings. The bruise is there - fighting it doesn't make it disappear any faster.
What works for me is to treat it with care, to accept and anoint it. To recognize it won't be with me forever, especially when I have a formula that works its magic, drop by drop, moment by moment.
I no longer feel quite so blah and blue and that definitely feels better. Ahhhh!