As we return home from our short walk, Blanca, my Chihuahua, plants her feet on the sidewalk in front of our next-door neighbor’s home. My dog is about 74 in human years, 14 in actual years. She has a bad back and failing eyesight, but she is telling me “Let me go!” She wants to be off her leash so she can sprint – or, in her condition, scamper – the last 50 yards to our home.
We’ve been doing this since she was a speedy young dog, and it’s her favorite part of the walk. Even now, she sometimes turns and heads away from the house, making me chase after to make sure that she doesn’t hurt herself. Then, a moment later, she loops back through the neighbor’s yard towards our door. She’ll stop short and look over her shoulder to ask me to pick her up and carry her over the low porch step that she is no longer able to jump.
We should take a lesson from Blanca. We should all give ourselves permission to say, “Let me go,” yet do it safely.
Let yourself off of your figurative leash. Be active. This might include skipping, roller skating, cycling, dancing, playing, or other physical activities. All these activities can raise the heart rate and energize us. Or you may want to give yourself a creative break like painting, knitting, coloring, or writing your daydreams.
Many of us tend to think that we are too old, don’t have time, or that our family and the work that we need to do is the top priority. Of course, family and work are important, but according to the Mayo Clinic, there are many benefits to physical activities. Not only do they include controlling weight, but they also improve our health, mood, energy, sleep, and sex life. And, as Blanca knows – and the Mayo Clinic agrees – it can be fun.
These benefits improve our ability to be good parents and good employees.
You might be wondering how you can do these things when there are restrictions related to Covid-19. You’ll need to apply the following considerations:
1. What are the guidelines in my state or city?
2. Are there online activities that I can perform at home?
3. If outdoor activities are permissible, can I do them safely
4. Are there things that I can do to engage my whole family?
For many, the city and state guidelines suggest that we should wear masks and stay at least six feet from others if we go out. This recommendation is reasonably easy to comply with.
Searching for “things to do online” will help to find many fun, though generally sedentary activities. Searching for “exercising online” will locate more active opportunities.
My daughter, Blanca and I walk both in our neighborhood and other areas. There are some beautiful, quiet walkways and trails within five miles of us. Getting out of our own neighborhood is refreshing. We always wear masks for safety.
For family activities, keep in mind the age of members and consider playing inside or out. When I was a child, I loved hide and seek. Taking walks and riding a bike were all favorite activities that can still be engaged in as long as appropriate caution is applied. Indoor activities include a variety of board games and puzzles.
Like Blanca, I have a bad back, but I try to let myself go and enjoy life. Give yourself a chance to let go!
Roxy Merizalde works for Texas Workforce Commission as a Training Specialist. Pre-COVID-19, she traveled throughout Texas teaching staff The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST). Development activities include TWIST, WIT and SharePoint courses and online versions for TWIST.