We each have a “go-to” activity to fight stress. Under normal circumstances, we choose ways to decompress so we can function properly throughout a stressful week. Some moms like shopping for hours for useless gadgets, getting a bit giddy after that second glass of wine while out to dinner, or meeting your best friend/therapist for breakfast at the bagel shop and chatting for hours. Usually, this works like magic. It’s a human reboot. And life goes on.
But under abnormal circumstances, like living through an unprecedented pandemic, the usual coping mechanisms are thrown out the window.
Those mundane chores of cooking and cleaning are even more torturous because that’s all you seem to do while stuck at home for weeks with your family. Texting, FaceTiming, and phone calls are all good, but the only problem is those monotonous chores keep chiseling away the hours of the day, especially if you throw in working a full-time job from home. The dreaded preparation and cleanup of a big dinner each night, then dozing off in front of the TV exhausted, pretty much sums up the ending of ANOTHER day under quarantine.
But if you dig deep there’s still a tiny part of you that would light up, only if you learned to reignite it. Mine is the love of dancing. My teenage sister, cousins, and I would go for hours in my parents’ basement way before dancing was considered a form of exercise, and way before my idea of exercise was dusting off the ceiling fan!
Donna Summers, Abba, and of course, good old disco hits, John Travolta style, is all we needed to work those glutes and abs. And then cool down with Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel, all making for the perfect workout (little did we know back then). Ahh, those were the good old days, so cliché, but under the crazy circumstances, I think I’m allowed this one. Not to mention, desperately missing the camaraderie of my peers, each of us with barely a care in the world back then.
Several weeks ago, between vacuuming and doing endless loads of laundry, I remembered one such cousin telling me how she always did her BORING housework to the beat of some music to make it more bearable.
So, I pulled out my earbuds, tuned into YouTube on my phone, and searched for Tina Turner on a flicker of a whim. Still can’t say why her? Maybe because she had the best looking legs, an 8O-year-old woman could ever have? Or that her “feel good” super hits lead up to a frenzied and so anticipated chorus, that you just have no choice but to rock to the beat?
So the hamper went one way, and my feet and arms went the other, right there in the laundry room. I got lost in the moment that went on for half an hour, dancing my heart out. I definitely was “Proud Fran,” knowing I still had it in me.
Dieting, fasting, walking, and yoga aside, it’s so much easier sticking to the one thing you love. That’s the key to successfully losing weight. Granted, the excess pounds won’t be melting off, unless I forgo the pasta too, but I still broke out into a little sweat and got my heart pumping.
The boost in energy afterward, gave me the stamina to get through the 3 loads of laundry, not to mention feeling somehow a bit lighter, even emotionally. Even though the daily grind is tougher than any of us have ever known, I can put my “load” down for a minute, turn up the music from my day, and get lost in happy thoughts knowing that even as a middle-aged woman, I can still dance!