I’m a little fascinated by the design of the microscopic coronavirus and have looked at tons of images of it. One of the more beautiful images is on a preceding post courtesy of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Admiring the virus, however is a bit like the fascinating yet psychopathic character Villanelle on the BBC show Killing Eve. The crown of proteins that are so cool to look at turn out to be exactly the destructive pieces that destroy critical cells in the deepest portion of the lung and cause a cascade that can kill.
Hopefully this will be part of an ongoing series focusing on home exercises often done incorrectly. I've solicited help from my EngineHouse16 partner,
Beth Fedorowich, the owner of Fitness Essentials personal training. In this video we are going to focus on alternating arm and leg raises and the plank and common plank progressions.
A couple of mornings ago my partner remarked during breakfast “that was the most restful night of non-sleep I’ve had in a while”. Neither of us have been sleeping well for awhile, compounded by the anxieties and fears related to coronavirus. I asked her how that happened and she said
“I just kind of gave in to it I guess”. And it turns out that seemingly effortless act is the key to better quality rest during these strange new days.
The persistence of sleeplessness had caused me to try to be funny about it with some friends parodying my end of the day routine starting with the dramatic announcement of “I’m going up” at the end of the evening through the routine of preparing for bed and the part about lying down for the first of many times with pillows just right and my book, beginning the charade of “trying to fall asleep”. In the coronavirus era of being told to ‘get lots of sleep now’ and ‘keep to your usual sleep wake times’ it was pretty funny and it seems everyone is having trouble sleeping right now. Yikes. There are many reasons of course. And during sleeplessness it’s hard not to revisit previous conversations, actions and behaviors, anticipate subsequent events and ruminate on “what ifs” and generally try to fill in the gaps between those thoughts with proactive “to do and to care for” items and people. This is definitely not good. Even in my sleeplessness I feel unworthy because I am not getting up and being productive as we are being urged to be. None of this helps sleep so we all continue in this cycle of wakefulness.
But then while mindlessly scrolling through social media I came across a shared post on my niece Julia’s page. It was from a trauma psychologist acquaintance who lives in Beirut, Lebanon, Dr. Alaa Hijazi. Dr. Hijazi was talking about taking care of ourselves during this worldwide time of sheltering, reduced human contact and presumed productivity.
“I thought I was spared the horrid "motivational" phrase going around now "If you don't come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline" until I saw it on my local yoga studio page.
As a trauma psychologist, I am utterly… horrified, enraged, and bewildered about how people can believe and spread this phrase in good conscience.
We are going through a collective trauma, that is bringing up profound grief, loss, panic over livelihoods, panic over loss of lives of loved ones. People's nervous systems are barely coping with the sense of threat and vigilance for safety, or alternating with feeling numb and frozen and shutting down in response to it all.
People are trying to survive poverty, fear, retriggering of trauma, retriggering of other mental health difficulties. Yet, someone has the nerve to accuse someone of lack of discipline for not learning a new skill, and by a yoga teacher!
This cultural obsession with [capitalistic] "productivity" and always spending time in a "productive" "fruitful" way is absolutely maddening.
What we need is more self compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions coming up for us now, more focus on gentle ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us, not a whipping by some random fucker making us feel worse about ourselves in the name of "motivation".
Government mandates, the AAOS and common sense have prevailed to put on hold nearly all scheduled joint replacement and other elective surgeries in Pennsylvania. This likely has been both reassuring for patients and their families as well as anxiety making for those living with end stage joint pain. But, here’s the thing it allows for even more time to get better prepared!
To be redundant, working from home leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to disciplined postures and ideal work stations. Sometimes slipping on to the floor with the cats for what you think is going to be a quick check of email might become a 50 minute exchange. Getting up might suddenly feel like something has been twisted or is stuck and it might be...but before you seek me out on telehealth consider most of these strains happened while you were doing nothing but sitting badly. So let's first try moving the area to see if you can loosen or stretch out the back. To be clear these exercises are NOT designed for people having radiating pain in to the leg(s), numbness or tingling or who have had recent back surgery. For that and for those folks who have a persistent pain you will need something more specific and personal and reach out via my telehealth link instead. The following series starts in supine (lying on your back on the floor) moves to sitting, standing and finally on hands and knees.
Thank you for your nice feedback - yes the model, Danielle is TALL...she is also a former
Division I Volleyball player who is now a Personal Trainer for Fitness Essentials here at the EngineHouse 16 Collaborative.
Great job everyone getting through the week!