Welcome back to my blog!
It's been a challenging six months since I last checked in. Many hours soaking in Epsom salts, pampering my back and spine, faithfully doing physical therapy exercises twice daily, more often if necessary to relieve pain, have brought a focus to my life. A focus on caring for my body once again. This led to caring for others when a close relative fell and broke her hip, needing comfort and assistance. She can't care for her dog any more, so I'm doing that as well.
Then, of course, the threat of the novel coronavirus has increasingly become a major part of our lives worldwide. It is almost impossible to get through a day without hearing some news station or neighbor or friend talking about possible infection. With my scientific and medical background I have tried to keep up with all the latest accurate information. "Accurate" is the key word in that sentence! Not all information in the news or on the internet is scientifically accurate. We are worried about losing our jobs, our finances, our health, and our families. It is easy to let that worry take control. Concern and learning about the virus is helpful and can even be calming to know we are doing something about our situations. All of this baffling new information, doing our best to protect ourselves, our neighbors and friends, and wondering when or if everything will get back to "normal" can leave their marks on our lives. This can include back, neck and shoulder pain.
One thing I've learned is that many of us carry our stress in our backs, necks, and shoulders without knowing it. Then one day as we are thinking we're handling life quite well, seemingly without fear or anger, pain rears its ugly head to remind us that we are keeping our emotions inside and not dealing with them directly. Each time we feel strong emotions or are in a stressful situation our bodies release hormones and chemicals that are supposed to help us flee from the perceived danger. If we don't physically flee--as in, run away--those chemicals remain in our bodies. Over time they cause pain and stiffness.
One way I have found to handle stress effectively is to GET OUTDOORS! Fresh air, sunshine, physical movement! Dancing! Running! Walking the dog! Biking! Yoga! Swimming! Do it all outside if you can. Even running on a cloudy day helps. As long as you stay six feet away from others you can still talk to them. The wind, fresh air and UV light from the sun will help keep you safe from the coronavirus. Seeing others out enjoying the outdoors is heartening, as well. It keeps us connected. It keeps us positive. The Bible says in Proverbs that "a cheerful heart is good medicine." That is actually true. Staying positive boosts our immune systems and gives us energy.
Get outside and do something fun! You will feel better for it and so will your friends and family!