Exercise is your secret ally.
“Easy does it”. “One day at a time”. (Al-Anon slogans).
I’m not asking you to go to the Gym – unless you want to.
Never underestimate the power of walking in the fresh air. It has an amazing effect on your mind and spirit as well as your body. You’re getting the oxygen to your brain and moving your body in a way that Nature intended. There’s lots to look at and your problems can often be put into perspective by a walk of half an hour or so. If you only have 10 minutes during your lunch hour – go for it. You’ll still derive benefit from a walk round the block
Walking lowers your blood pressure and burns fat.If you’re on your own, you can make your walk a sort of
meditation. Look out for signs of the changing seasons. Listen for birdsong. Revel in the scent of flowers, or the smell of wood smoke. If you’re in a city, try and get to a park or find a tree-lined street. If that’s difficult, jump on a bus at the weekend and get out to the nearest green space. Wooded landscapes are immensely healing.
Now – the Gym word. If you haven’t been for a while, get one of the staff to show you the ropes. Cautionary note – young gym staff can be over-enthusiastic and expect middle-aged people to undertake the same programme as someone of their own age. So it might be an idea to tell the staff you want to start gradually. Tempting as it is to murder the cross trainer or those weights – the last thing you want is a pulled muscle.
And then there’s – dancing. Don’t be shy.
Many of us tend to be inhibited about moving to music, but one of the great aspects of dancing is that it’s a social activity. And if you’re at that stage in your recovery where you feel you might just explode in a puff of smoke if you hear one more person (who’s not got your problems) boasting about their perfect family, then the dance floor is your haven. Dancing demands concentration so people can’t witter on. If you’ve not done much or any dancing before, why not try some Line Dancing? For high-octane fun, there’s Salsa, or Merengue (easier) or Bachata (even sexier). And people make funny mistakes when they’re dancing – it’s good to have a laugh, especially at yourself.
And look – I know you may be reading this at a moment when you’re feeling so low that you can’t imagine even dancing with your shadow. Sometimes it can make more sense to watch other people dancing for a while. Follow the other strategies on this site and one day you may find you put on those dancing shoes.