Relaxing, At Least a Little Bit

I’m going to tell you the truth, I have no idea how far we are into quarantine/social isolation. Is it over a month? Two months? Six? I’m not sure. My COVID beard hasn’t gotten embarrassingly long (I’m not picking food out of it yet anyway), so I’m pretty sure it’s been less than a year.  All I know is this: The days and weeks blend together rather seamlessly, annoyingly so, and the fact that the Philadelphia area has been experiencing an extended cold snap that has prolonged winter has made things confusing.

I mean, it’s mid-April, and when I took the dog for a walk yesterday morning, it was only 30 degrees.  

Bah humbug, or something. Can you say bah humbug in April? Right now, I’m going to say you can, because there isn’t anyone around to stop me. And if a radio station can play Christmas music randomly and whenever the fuck it wants to for no apparent reason, well, bah humbug like a motherfucker.

When last we spoke, I regaled you with all the activities I’d been pouring myself into. It was an extensive list, and when you combined them with working Monday through Friday, there wasn’t a whole lot of time left for me to aimlessly meander around the house. I was attempting to fill every minute of every day because I was struggling to relax, to unclench, to accept the fact that the world as we knew it was grinding to a halt.

It was all a bit too much. I knew it at the time, but I couldn’t help it. My anxiety had taken over.

I’ve gotten a bit better since that last blog entry. I’m still doing all of those activities, but it’s fair to say that I’m pursing the majority of them less aggressively. My workout routine and diet have remained the most consistent, but all of the other activities I mentioned? I’m fitting them in while enjoying some down time.

Basically, I’m allowing myself to relax while refusing to feel guilty about it.

The relaxing thing? It’s important, for all of us. We need to do it. We need to shut ourselves away from the bad news, from the invisible virus that haunts most of our waking moments, and allow ourselves to just exhale. I wasn’t doing that. Now I am, and it feels good.

Don’t get me wrong. I still believe working out and eating clean are important right now. So are meditation and journaling. Learning new skills via Spanish lessons and ukulele lessons is keeping me from stagnating like a rancid pond.

These are all ways I’m performing self-care, and there may be no more important thing than self-care at the moment. It’ll keep us healthy, both mentally and physically.

That being said, it doesn’t have to become religion. It doesn’t have to become so all-encompassing that it becomes overwhelming. Whatever activities you’re doing for self-care should be a WANT TO rather than a HAVE TO, because once they become a HAVE TO they leave the realm of self-care and become stressors, and we don’t need more of those in our lives right now.

What am I doing differently? Well, I’m playing video games; watching shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+; and going for walks just to get a change of scenery and some fresh air.

And sometimes I’m allowing myself to slow the hell down and not do anything. To just veg the hell out, make an imprint of my ass on the couch, and relax.

So go ahead…be lazy and enjoy it. Balance it out with activity, with things that keep you engaged, but also make sure to disengage by doing whatever you want to do or nothing fucking at all.

***

Quarantine Recommendation of the Week: Taco Chronicles

This is a new portion of the blog that I’d like to try and keep up with on a regular basis. In this space you might see video game recommendations, show recommendations, workout recommendations…basically recommendations for any and all sort of things. I’ll try to keep them a bit quirky; you don’t need me to recommend that you go rewatch The Wire for the umpteenth time.

If you’re anything like me, you consider tacos one of the major food groups. They’re not just a favorite, they’re a necessity. You warm up a corn or flour tortilla, stuff lots of Mexican spiced goodness into it, and then chow down. Easy peasy.

Except, really, it’s not! Almost all tacos are good tacos, but the best tacos…they’re special. They don’t come from a box. And creating them is something of a craft.

Enter Taco Chronicles. This Spanish-language (and English-subtitled) six-episode documentary series on Netflix details the rich history of the taco, where to find the best, most authentic version of each variety, and highlights the true artistry that goes into creating the perfect handheld food.

Plus, in a genius decision, you actually get to hear the different types of tacos talk about themselves in the first person. It’s a neat twist that adds just the right amount of personality to what would’ve been an already entertaining show.

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