What day is it? It doesn’t take long for me to lose my bearings a bit after not being farther than a neighbourhood walk away from home in days. I am used to grading papers and transcribing reports for many hours a day, entering the date on each one, fully cognizant of the day of the week to keep the plates spinning in my busy life.
So much has changed in the past couple of weeks and it seems to keep changing daily. While part of me wants to stay connected to those I care about, the other part is weary of rehashing the news. Self-isolation can take many forms, and for me, self-care means not spending too much time on social media these days. Time is lost track of and it leaves me feeling unsettled.
While I am losing track of what day it is, I need to make sure I stay focused on what’s important. My heart’s desire is to keep God in first place. Faith over fear. I have no idea what tomorrow may bring. I certainly never expected to be in this place, but I have found myself in unexpected places and situations before and God has never failed me. I am unafraid.
The Lord will keep you safe, from secret traps and deadly diseases. He will spread his wings over you and keep you secure. His faithfulness is like a shield or a city wall. You won’t need to worry about dangers at night or arrows during the day. And you won’t fear diseases that strike in the dark or sudden disaster at noon. (Psalms 91:3-6 CEV)
I also need to stay healthy. That means staying home and washing my hands. That also means staying on track with my healthy eating plan. Thousands of little choices helped me shed 164 pounds and I have been successful in keeping it off. A season of uncertainty is not going to change that. I have to remember that when I’m on social media and people show me pictures of everything they are eating and baking. I remember this when I’m reminded that it’s “Take Out Tuesday”. We have so many awesome restaurants in our city, and I have compassion for how this affects them, but right now, for my budget and for my healthy eating goals, I need to eat at home. I am actually happy to have time to make meals without rushing for a change. I’m rediscovering recipes and a joy in puttering in the kitchen.
When I moved to Prince Edward Island, I learned about something called “storm snacks”. When a storm was in the forecast, copious amounts of snack foods and beverages were purchased to keep us appeased as we waited it out. I have heard some people mention storm snacks in the context of our current retreat into our homes. But food doesn’t take away stress or anxiety for more than a minute. Storm snacks do not take away boredom that some may be feeling. I have learned that food cannot comfort me in any lasting sort of way.
Do I enjoy a treat? Sure I do! But I am being mindful about how often I indulge and what I choose to indulge in. I watched a YouTube video suggesting that we don’t consume storm snacks more than once a day. At once a day, I would be seeing the number on the scale creep up, feeling defeated and my circumstances unchanged.
There are other ways to treat myself and care for mental health while not abandoning my healthy lifestyle. Engaging in hobbies does wonders for me. I have tried a new knitting pattern. I have been making Christmas cards, and don’t tempt me, or I might mail them out too! Learning new skills keeps my mind engaged and distracted from worry. Laughing with my husband is one of the best mental health exercises I could ever do. Being active. Exercise releases endorphins which relieve stress. Enjoying those scented candles I never have time to burn. Reading and resting.
My goal is to return to normal life (don’t get me started on what that is!) healthy, rested, strong and full of faith. With God, I can get through this, and my friend, so can you. So put the storm snacks back in the cupboard and take time to feed your soul.