Paso Robles News|Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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Pandemic weighing you down? Take a breath… 

Nathan Williams

Columnist Nathan Williams

–For more than a year now our lives have been on hold. We have heard nothing but the back and forth about what we can and can’t do and of course what we should and shouldn’t do. “Social Distancing.” “Maintain six feet apart.” “Wear a mask.” None of it has been easy for anyone and regardless of where I stand I’ve found one thing to be true more than ever, I need to breathe.

I’m not talking about wearing a mask or not wearing a mask, I’m talking about slowing down and taking a breath. We have all felt the “weight of the world” at different times in our lives and for some, it’s a tougher process to work through than others. Add in a pandemic, something that has flipped our lives upside down, and now we are being forced to cope with emotions that we never thought we would have to deal with. This is the stuff that’s only made up in Hollywood isn’t it?? Our “normal” which is truly hardly normal for anyone as we all have such different expectations and realities, has been uprooted and thrown out the front door while we’ve been asked to stay inside.

When someone lives with extra stress and uncertainty they often live with a level of emotional instability. That instability can translate into physical deterioration and even emotional and mental fractures. On the surface that can show in many ways. Some might put on or lose weight, their appearance can change, sometimes even drastically, and for others it can be heightened responses or less patience. That spilled milk that wasn’t as big of a deal before might be a bigger event today. Road rage goes up as patience goes down, waiting in line at the grocery store is more of a nuisance because now we’re tired of wearing a mask and just want to be done. Smiles are less because in part we see them less now.

Now is the time to remember to breathe. Every now and again take a moment to breathe in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. Not just a normal breath but a deep, revitalizing breath that makes you pause for a moment. It sounds simple but when was the last time you did it? When was the last time you felt that pause, the relief, the escape that you can create with just one simple moment? 2020 is behind us, not far enough, but it is still behind us. 2021 is reshaping our “normal” and hopefully with that comes less of all that has held us back for over a year now. So when we’re out and about, let’s be more forgiving, more willing to smile (even behind our masks!), and together we can change the weight we all carry.

Life is about perspectives and we will all have ours. When I step outside today I am going to soak in the fact that I live on the Central Coast of California, a truly beautiful place to call home. Even though I will inevitably forget my mask or at least one of our kids will before we take them to school for the 2 hours and 45 minutes they’ll be there, I know my wife and I will still be thankful that they ARE going to school and that things are progressing back to “normal.” Knowing that I need to, I am choosing to make time more and more to “take a breath.”

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