Creating Change, Integration

Sensory Movement Challenge Day 2 – Social Distancing, work, and stairs

Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means. Not a therapist, medical or mental health professional. I do not diagnose, treat, or tell people what to do. The main purpose of this website and blog is education and support. If you are unsure how the suggestions and resources here may affect you, please discuss any changes to your existing treatment plan with your medical and mental health providers first.

Social Distancing, COVID-19 – Why do a challenge at all with all the stress?

I get it. Everyone is worried about staying healthy and staying inside. Probably not the best time to do a challenge or invite others to join in. That’s okay. You do what’s best for you always.

And if you have time to visit here, please do.

For me, though, this challenge is my way of distracting myself, staying busy, and working on my business within my comfort zone. That’s the why.

As for social distancing – very difficult for me since I spend most time at home and away from direct contact with people. The most contact I get is from grocery and package deliveries unless I deliberately seek people out. But it’s harder for more social people who are used to lots of interaction. I can empathize and offer acceptance even if I can’t relate.

Exercise 1: Work in the Garden

My plants are getting antsy; they want to be outside but I’m still worried about the freezing temperatures until mid-morning. Overprotective? probably. Selfish? definitely. Fresh spearmint, rosemary, and thyme smell amazing and help keep my apartment air clean too.

But I’ll probably bring them out tomorrow and hook up some kind of tent for evenings.

  1. Lifting each herb and flower pot (4) from the container garden to get a sense of the pot’s weight pre-watering.
  2. Watering the plants from underneath first (pour water into the drain pan); then adding some water to the soil
  3. Removing excess water and using it for my indoor garden plants
  4. Rearranging and watering the rest of my plants after I dug around in the soil (hand and finger exercise)

The Sensory Grounding part:

  1. Listening to the water pour from the watering can into the soil or drain pans
  2. Watching the stems and leaves move as I poured the water
  3. Feeling the stems and leaves and flowers as I touched them to check their health
  4. digging my fingers in the dirt and rocks
  5. Smelling the herbs and plants

Exercise 2: ankle/calf stretches with a rolled up towel\ from Dynamic Aging by Kathy Bowman

  1. Rolling the towel into a tighter log shape
  2. Moving into position: standing straight as possible; legs hip width apart; then moving 1 leg forward with heel on the ground and bottom of foot against the towel
  3. It’s harder than it looks to stay balanced without leaning forward or sticking out a hip to compensate
  4. Then switching feet and remembering not to squish the towel so my foot is flat instead of angled

The Sensory Grounding part:

  1. Proprioception – observing how my body moves and reacts to the space around it as I try to maintain balance
  2. Listening to the heater fan and noise from the electric stove as food cooked
  3. Smelling the cabbage cooking in soup from yesterday’s corned beef dinner
  4. Looking at my feet and the green towel; then looking at the front door as I tried to straighten my body for part of the exercise
  5. Tensing and relaxing different leg, hip, and abdominal muscle groups as I tried to stretch my ankles and calves while maintaining balance

Seriously, if you can do this and get a good stretch, your balance is much better than mine. I kept having to turn my feet forward because they wanted to point away from each other.

Exercise 3: Up and Down the Stairs to get mail

One flight of stairs is not that bad. Juggling a bag, keys, and a disposable paper towel to use on door knobs while also listening for people to avoid is not as easy. But I did that twice to pick up packages from the mail lockers in the lobby.

Later today, I’m putting on the diffuser and doing some qigong to work out kinks in my back and shoulders.

Reflection: Busy at work; not as easy to remember to move

I did most of what you read here on work breaks. 10-20 minutes at a time throughout the day. Only one I did after work is exercise 2. And that’s because I needed to stand.

This feels mostly successful, but not very satisfying. I feel like something is missing. Maybe because I can do all this and NOT feel present. Or be present. Or maybe because the negative voices are gaining a foothold in my mind.

I’ve done a lot of things that are new or different from the usual routine over the last two weeks. It could be catching up to me. But then again, it could just be me working through the grief where everything I do feels like I’m walking through mud on a cold, windy day.

My biggest worries are about my parents and older family members. We mostly live on opposite sides of the country. And except for my younger sibling and cousins, everyone is in the “high risk” or “at risk” category for COVID-19.

Reflection question: What ways can you keep busy and maintain a low stress at home during this time?

Tomorrow, I’m going to try for some moving meditation and a bath meditation with aromatherapy to try and relax. What will you do?

Love and Rainbows ~ TJ

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