Sunday mornings are for long runs. I’m well aware that we are supposed to be practicing social distancing, but my neighborhood has been like a ghost town lately, so I knew I wasn’t likely to run into anyone along the road.
Just to be sure, I wore my gloves and cowl. It was a cold, windy morning, so it made sense for me to have a facemask on anyway.
I wasn’t going to be stupid. If I saw a large group of people that looked intent on surrounding me and forcing me to shake hands, I would run back to the safety of The House on the Hill.
I needed to get out of the house and do something healthy. Even though I excel at social distancing, I do tend to watch TV once I get tired of reading and worn out from writing.
And when the TV is on, it’s hard to avoid all the news about the horrors of the pandemic. It’s natural to want to watch and absorb facts, but after awhile, fact gathering morphs into absorbing anxiety. And then falling down the rabbit hole.
I will confess that there was a point last night when I panicked about there not being any food on the shelves the next time I go grocery shopping. From the sound of things, people are buying everything like it’s the end of days, and I’m worried that if I remain calm and rational, I will starve to death as a result.
That was why I needed to go for a run this morning. I had to turn off the TV, distract my inner thoughts, and do something healthy.
Essentially, I needed to practice some social distancing from anxiety.
Like I said, it was a cold and windy morning, but uncoupling my car from the Coronavirus Anxiety Train was too important to let the weather derail my plans.
Unlike yesterday, there were several people out on the river walk. I kept my distance, and then put up my mask whenever I got close enough to say hello. Once I felt I was safely out of the danger zone, I pulled down my mask again.
There is something very settling about the steady pace, the gorgeous view, and the increase of my heart rate for non-anxious reasons. It was a relief to let Runner Guy take the controls, and temporarily shut off the parts of my brain that insist on sending stress levels skyrocketing through the stratosphere.
Once I got home, I settled in for a marathon of The Office on Comedy Central. The gang at Dunder Mifflin may be many things, but they are not experts on global pandemics. As a result, I didn’t have to think about what was going on in the world. All I cared about was a paper company office in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
I’m aware that everything will change tomorrow when I have to leave the safety of The House on the Hill to return to the workforce. It will be impossible to avoid talk of the Coronavirus and COVID 19, but maybe I will handle the stress a little better because I made time today for some social distancing from anxiety.
Are you practicing social distancing? Have you changed your routine? Has your work/school been closed because of the virus? What are you doing to maintain a positive outlook?