Fears and anxieties abound. This time is more stressful than we allow ourselves to admit, and to counter that, we need connection to others, and the connection to ourselves that being with others brings. But we can’t get physically close to others to share those connections. How do we get one without the other?
Zoom to the rescue! Lyons has all sorts of self-care meetings that are being offered by local residents and organizations. I’ve been trying them out and I am now making time for all of them in my schedule. Pick one, or two, or try all of them for a week or two and see if it changes how you feel.
This Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wide Spaces Community Initiative is sponsoring a Sing-Along with KC & Friends. Singing together is one of the most calming, uplifting things we can do. Of course, because of Zoom’s time lag, we will only hear KC and her friends, and ourselves and whoever’s with us. So take your phone or computer outside, invite your neighbors to do the same, and let’s Sing-Along Outside, Separately Together, Lyons this Sunday.
Wide Spaces Community Initiative is also offering a program called “Time Out for Time In” that offers three different ways of slowing down and getting in touch every week. Mondays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. is “Speaking What Arises” with Mystie. Have you ever wished you could just say what you were feeling and not have other people give their opinion, advice, and feedback? This is that time. When I tried it, we meditated for five minutes or so, and then just shared what came up. We are so used to censoring ourselves and thinking about what others will say. This gave us the chance to say what was really in our hearts without that worry. It took a bit of getting used to, but once I did, it was a very soothing, peaceful, spacious experience. It’s limited to eight people, so you need to register by writing email@example.com to reserve your space and get the link.
Another part of “Time Out for Time In” is Catch and Release with Janaki (yes, that’s me). This is for only 20 minutes on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. It starts with a guided self check-in, and every week there are different ways to release holding and discomfort, whether physical, emotional, or mental. It’s fun, easy, and unexpected, and you will be surprised at how a little bit of letting go in a safe, controlled way can change your whole day. It will also be on Facebook Live on the Wide Spaces Community Initiative page.
On Saturdays at 10 a.m. for an hour “Time Out for Time In” is offering Gentle Yoga with Rebecca Louzan Hayden. For six years Rebecca ran yoga studios in town, and we’ve been missing her wonderful classes here for a while. This yoga class is good for even old, stiff bones like mine. She offers lots of suggestions for modifications–using pillows, blankets, and even chairs to make things possible for all bodies. I have felt looser and slept better every week since I started doing her class.
LEAF is offering a weekly “Community Zoom: Mental Health and Encouragement in these Strange Days” with therapist Cherie Maureaux. This is not therapy, but a combination of support, connection, and great information about how to take care of yourself and decrease anxiety when you’re stressed. Everyone is invited to hang out for an hour between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursdays and learn some new tricks and talk to some different folks. I enjoyed connecting with the people on the call, and I learned something new. Some people talked, some didn’t, but everyone got the chance. If you are feeling lonely, or craving connection, or just want to hang in with other folks, this is a perfect space for that.
Now is a great time to try things in the safest way possible. Maybe you are curious about yoga, or Pilates, or meditation, or learning something new, but you wouldn’t have gone to a class or event even in past times, for whatever reason. Now you can do that risk-free. If you don’t like it, you leave. You get to choose whether to interact and whether to be on camera or audio. So take a risk, pick an event, and try it out. Very few of us take care of ourselves as well as we should even when things are not tumultuous and scary. We need to do that even more now.
So try one. Maybe none of these will work for you. But just maybe it will remind you to take a nap, get back on the meditation cushion (which for me, now, is a chair), or pick up the phone and call an old friend. Maybe you will be inspired to start a new creative endeavor or return to an old one. Whether you choose to go virtual or hands on, it is more important now than ever before to take care of your heart, your mind, and your soul.
All of these events are free, and most were funded at least in part by the Lyons Community Foundation. They are helping all of us, once again, in a time of crisis. Donate here.
Follow Janaki Jane on Facebook at Broken and Free with Janaki Jane. Jane has a degree in psychology and been working in the counseling, training, health, and healing fields for over 30 years. She is the founder and Program Director of the Wide Spaces Community Initiative, “Creating a Community of Belonging and Personal Safety for Everyone,” a program through the Lyons Regional Library. Janaki teaches multiple classes on mental health and creates community-building events.