Staying at home has led me to have some pretty interesting realizations about myself. In the past few weeks, I’ve thought deeply about my health and wellness journey and how even though it was a part of me, it wasn’t something that I truly took ownership of.
Before the pandemic, if I wanted to work out, I went to spin class. or yoga. If I wanted to treat myself, I went to the spa for a hot stone massage or the nail salon for a mani/pedi. If I wanted my home to smell good, I’d go to TJMaxx (sometimes two in one day) just to smell the candles.
I was so excited when the day rolled around and it was time for me to go to one of those places. I picked out my clothes beforehand (often color-coordinated) and could not wait to do these things in the name of “self-care”, fitness, or wellness.
And then we got told to stay at home. Even though some things have opened up, I haven’t been back. Gone are the days riding front row at spin class while the instructor high fives everyone on the way out of the room. Gone are the hands on adjustments to improve your alignment in yoga class. Non-existent are trips to stores like TJMaxx where you can touch a whole bunch of things in the store, place them back down on the shelf, and walk out with only one item.
This routine I created could not be adapted to life as we know it now. Because it depending on human touch, contact, and hanging out in indoor spaces while very unconcerned about how many people were there or how many items I touched that I didn’t plan to buy.
So, I realized that this routine I created to help me stay well and be joyful was largely out of my own hands. It involved so many people, several strangers, and a whole lot of not-so-personal spaces. Most of all, my routine was based on me receiving things, whether it was instruction, guidance, or relaxation via hot stones. I may have scheduled the appointments and booked the classes, but this routine was not mine.
What I have been exploring over the past few months is taking more ownership of my wellness journey. It is much less about what I can go out and do and instead about the inner work I need to do. Some days that means I take an hour long power yoga class (virtually), and other days, I may read or paint. I select activities based on what I’m striving to achieve.
Although it certainly feels odd to reach a stage in this pandemic where I’m missing the “practically strangers” that I often encountered in my daily life, I’ve accepted that this is how things are for now. And I’ve realized for me that wellness isn’t about where you go. Practicing mindfulness and finding activities that are relaxing and bring me joy can be practiced from anywhere.