I’ve been thinking of all my clients and wondering how the big and sudden worldwide changes have impacted you, specifically and personally, in how you live and move and feel. In the scramble of adjusting, I’ve come to depend personally on different resources, some brand new to me. I’m available for questions about my experiences using them. One of those new-to-me resources is Zoom — familiar to everyone by now. My practices for using it in an embodied and connected way are written out below. I hope they are of use.
NERVOUS SYSTEM / RESILIENCE
- Braintime, for sleep, stress management, focus and brain injury recovery. Listen 5 min 2x/day, first month free, then $29/mo. This program is helping me significantly with long-term previously intractable challenges with sleep, focus, shifting my attention when and where I need to, and possibly mood. I’ve listened daily for 2 months, and am – cautiously – wildly excited about the impact I think it’s had on my day-to-day life and its potential to help people with all sorts of challenges. Full disclosure: I get paid a bit when you do the free first month through my link. Happy to share what I’ve learned either way. I have not evaluated all of the informational and instructional videos on the site, and some parts of their overall approach are not in alignment with the way I like to work. If you are highly sensitive, I recommend skipping the videos and letting me walk you through it.
- Qigong to strengthen the lung 20 minute video, free. Simple, well-paced instructions that go to the heart of the practice, delivered in one of the most lovely speaking voices I’ve ever heard. Calming, then energizing. Here are his other videos.
- Stephen Porges: how to counter the effects of social distancing. 9 min free video. Staying separate to be safe is biologically confusing.
MOVEMENT RESOURCES – Restorative Exercise
All are my teachers, all are excellent and, I’m proud to say, responding to the COVID-19 crisis with generosity and ingenuity.
- Body Wisdom Studio live Zoom classes with Nancy Burns, first week free, some scholarships for unemployed. Invaluable 15-min Q&A before each class.
- Nutritious Movement Virtual Studio Membership, library of recorded classes, $9/month through June, Coupon code “BEWELL2020.” This single class is free till June.
- Alignment B.E.A.C.H. live Zoom classes, all (!?!?!) pay-what-you-can. All? Amazing.
FOOD NOT CROWDS
- Li’l Hill Backyard Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): If your East Bay backyard has space to grow food, Stoni and Irene of Li’l Hill can come farm it at your convenience. If you want produce and medicinal herbs carefully tended, affordable and more fresh and local than farmers’ markets, subscribe. Progressive income/wealth based sliding-scale price structure. This is an utterly brilliant new model of food supply in the face of climate crisis and COVID-19. Singing praises!
- Azure Standard: Monthly outdoor community-organized pickup. Huge organic selection, including garden starts. Some prices are low, some high. Their communication about how COVID-19 affects availability is clear and they’ve done a good job scaling up. Around since the 70’s, and seems to treat its workers well. Full disclosure: if you go from my link, I get a small credit. Happy to share that with you.
- Eat with the Seasons CSA: My new box till Li’l Hill gets going. Best quality of all the boxes I’ve tried. Prices comparable to farmers market. You can prepay for a box and/or order by demand. They have produce, pastured meat and eggs, pre-made food, and high-end pantry items. NewMember10 gets you $10 off the 4-week trial.
- Franklin Bros Market: A very small West Berkeley grocery with reasonable prices and plenty organic options. Excellent contactless pickup.
USING ZOOM AS A PERSON WITH A BODY
Are Zoom meetings more tiring – or differently tiring – than in-person meetings or phone calls for you? There are reasons for that. In person, we see others in their relationship to their environment. Our peripheral vision takes in the same scene as our focused vision. This is important for interoception – how our brain decides for us whether it’s safe enough to relax. Connection is available to the extent that interoception registers safety.
On a video call, a lot of the information our interoception needs to register safety is missing. It’s missing on an audio call too, but here’s the difference: in a video call, our brains are primed to keep seeking the missing information from the screen, so we spin our wheels. The suggestions below remind your brain where your body is, so it can register safety where the information needed actually exists: in your own physical environment.
- Look away from the screen periodically. Let your eyes wander the room, leading your head and neck. Let your screen be just another object in your environment that commands no more attention than any other object in the room. If you have to be more subtle, you can look over the top of your screen. Notice the connection available even while you are not looking at the images of the people you are meeting.
- Notice the sensations of your back and seat. Put part of your attention on the pressure against your body of surface supporting you. Sense the air behind you. Find the movement of your breath you can feel closest to your back. Notice what is different in your experience when you register these sensations while looking at people on your screen.
- Stimulate your peripheral vision: While your eyes are engaged with your screen, move your hands wide and back to where you can barely see them and wiggle your fingers. You should be able to see the movement, but not make out the shape. See if it changes how your body feels.
- Let your background be real instead of virtual if you can organize your space well enough to be comfortable with it. Seeing someone in their environment is easier on the nervous system.
- If you are hosting a meeting with brief introductions, invite people to say, along with their names and other relevant information, something they can see in their immediate environment that they enjoy looking at. This gives everyone information about the physical environment each of us is in, and it sets the stage to invite everyone to look away periodically through the meeting. What they look at is likely to be what they’ve spoken of, so it will be more comfortable when they do.