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Real talk. This week has been tough for many of us. It marked a month in isolation, and the prospect of at least the same again still to come. We’re not sleeping well. Our backs are missing our office chairs. Our bodies ache for the simplest human touch that reminds us we’re alive. We’ve finished bingeing on Tiger King and Patrick Melrose. We’ve baked all the sourdough and cut our own bangs. Now we can’t even smile at a sexy stranger in the street. Enough already!
If you’re feeling any of these things, you are not alone (segue: I’ve been listening to this on repeat all week).
At times like these, my beautiful, insightful, funny, talented, wise friend Steven Rudin – the man who inspired our Faces Project – has always been a voice of calm and reason.
A psychiatrist and visual artist, he talks about how resilient we humans really are, and he believes in people’s inherent wisdom to do what is necessary to get through this.
His best advice – the most fundamental thing we can do to help ourselves, he said – is to ground ourselves; checking in, in a physical way, to where we might be holding tension. “The feedback loop between stress in the body and anxiety in the mind is especially important right now.
“Grounding exercises such as gentle yoga, stretching, breathing, meditation, dancing, and movement remind us that we are not just floating heads,” he says. “A lot of us will avoid doing this at home and come up with reasons not to do it. We need to carve out time for our bodies, because even a 10-minute yoga or meditation video on YouTube can clear the mind and settle the body.
“Mindfulness has swept the psychotherapy world for more than a decade. Although some controversy exists about the specific techniques, the consensus is that the mind and the body are one system. Tuning into physical sensations in the moment helps us to recognize our reflexive mental patterns, as well as how we hold on to stress. The release that comes from relaxing our grip can be as much of a surprise as a relief.
“Whereas some experts see mindfulness as a powerful coping mechanism in itself, others believe that the practice facilitates the ability to observe our mental life from the outside. Tending to the body with curiosity and care can also be thought of as a form of self-nurturance. Some research suggests that hugging ourselves has real benefit. Regardless of the theoretical bent, changing our vantage point (sometimes called ‘observing ego’) is the mainstay of many psychological resilience techniques.
“SaraBeth Yoga on YouTube is a good place to start.”
OK, I’ve got a sweatsuit to go tie-dye. You’ve got this, friends. You’re stronger than you realize.
SPREAD THE LOVE
Yeah, I know we’re all about NOT spreading things around right now. But if you’re getting a little daily joy from these newsletters, and feel connected to your neighbors through them, please ask your friends to subscribe too. We’re stronger together.
NEW YORK STORIES
Clark Chung and his husband Xin are getting used to living and working together in their railroad apartment. Now they’re learning to cut their own (and their pup’s) hair, and looking ahead to a time when we’ll all be kinder to each other. Read their story, and others like it, at w42st.com.
I’LL JUST LEAVE THIS HERE
The first casualty of war is truth. The second is grammar.
I COULDN’T HAVE PUT IT BETTER MYSELF
So I’m just leaving this here too. A beautifully written piece by Glynnis MacNicol about what it means to stay in New York during a time of crisis.
DON’T CLIMB THE WALLS – DO THIS INSTEAD
A year ago, I was doing yoga in Bella Abzug Park, to the sound of jackhammers. I wish I was still there. But this is the next best thing. Class stars at 11am. Sign up first here.
A bit more high energy – join a live cardio dance party at 12pm and 6pm and sweat your socks off. If you’re wearing any. It’s free. It’s fun. Shake yo booty (or whatever the kids say) here.
Get down with Gaga
The Global Citizen COVID-19 fundraiser kicks off on multiple platforms at 8pm, with performances from Lady Gaga, Elton John, Lizzo, and more. Find out all about it here.
See you at the barre
Yes, I’m drinking every night too. But at least you can counteract the effect of some of that wine with a Sunday morning Pure Barre class. It’s free, and it kicks off at 11am, so you get a bonus lie in too. Stretch it out here.
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