One of the most useful things I learned by being an ultra-marathoner is to always do recovery runs after a long race. Almost always, after a long race, I’m wasted, in pain and not willing to move anymore, but still, I wake up the next day, push myself out of the hose and crawl for a few kilometers.
This strategy works wonders every time. Although during these short runs all the painful memories of the long race are surfacing again, and my body cries for rest, and I can barely move my feet forward, the recovery process is accelerated.
In the last 2 weeks, I slowly started to get out of the house. Some days I have my morning coffee in the places I used to go before, and some other days I’m doing longs walks in the park or to the wonderful beaches of Valencia. As I was out more and more each day, a short post-lockdown recovery strategy popped into my mind. It’s just simple stuff, nothing very complicated. It may or may not work for you, but, who knows, maybe it’s worth giving it a try.
1. Fixed Hours For Going Out
Try to implement a routine for going out. Have fixed hours (in places where lockdown restrictions are still in place, this might be easier, as your choices are quite limited and you are kinda forced to go out only during certain time intervals).
For instance, I try to get out every evening around 8PM, for those short walks, and also make sure I go out at least 3 times a week before 8AM to get my morning coffee. This new world is, in some respects, very different from the world we used to know just 3 months ago. This fixed schedule helps me understand my place in this new world, almost like carving a new home in a concrete wall.
2. Short Conversations With Pre-Lockdown Friends
Getting together with pre-lockdown friends, online or offline, is another approach that helps me. As my isolation was quite heavy, I can only go online with the majority of them, but you may be luckiest and get to see them in real life too. Either way, having these short conversations sheds some light on how everybody was affected.
I do believe that all of us were forced to “live our truth” during this pandemic, especially during the lockdown. Without any external distractions, we were forced to act out our deepest desires, to face our deepest fears and, if we were lucky, to start working on them. These were difficult times for everybody, so keep it short, but meaningful, we’re all healing now.
3. Recaps With Lockdown Friends
When the world stopped, we’ve all been more or less “trapped” within a certain circle of people. We spent this lockdown in a “fixed’ company. And just like when you spend too much time in a room with no ventilation, the air may get heavy. Starting short recap sessions with these persons can help air out this heaviness.
When the end of the world is upon us, we act very differently. But give us just a speckle of predictability, and we’re changed back to how we were. Not only that, but we tend to “bury down” whatever we did during the lockdown, and put it under the “what else could I do?” blanket. And, slowly, walk away from that persona and get back to our normal “self”.
I think what happened during the lockdown was a very important part of our life. I don’t think it should be dismissed quickly, and I don’t think what we did while in isolation should be “irrelevant” and seen as “it’s over anyway”. I think it should be dealt with it, accepted in all its weirdness or greatness and integrated somehow in our current lives.
These recaps with “lockdown friends” are the closest thing to the recovery runs I mentioned in the beginning of the article. Because, just like the recovery runs, they will most likely trigger painful memories of that period, will bring to surface those pains again and will make us feel powerless and afraid.
But, in a sense, during those painful weeks, we got the closest we can get to ourselves, to our true nature, being it beautiful or ugly. Just like in an ultra you really get to know yourself, outside of your comfort zone, battling fatigue and pain and trying to keep yourself on your feet until the finish line, we were forced to deal with the darkest and most unexpected parts of ourselves.
Some of the things we did, we felt or thought during lockdown may suddenly look strange, or downright ridiculous. Compared to “normality”, they may be like that.
But, if this pandemic taught us anything, it taught us that “normality” is way more fragile than we used to think. So, take some time to go back to the eye of the storm, remember who you were back there and start to get used to that person.