How Angela Is Getting Her Groove Back
It’s happened twice now: SOLO DANCE PARTIES in my living room. I came up with this idea recently as a way to get exercise and listen to some of my favorite music, which I had been neglecting. Music has always been an important part of my life and it has invariably helped me get through major struggles and hard times. Trying to survive a deadly pandemic, along with your family and friends, is definitely not easy. It's been a rollercoaster ride of ups, downs, anxiety, depression, panic, fear, loneliness, boredom, frustration, hopelessness, and so many other things.
What the pandemic has looked like for me
Self-quarantining in my house since mid-March, these past several months have dragged on excruciatingly slow, yet have also zoomed by in a weird way. Have I become used to the "new normal?" Maybe somewhat -- wearing comfy pajamas and/or PJ pants every day, not wearing makeup, not fixing my hair, sleeping in late, having all of my medical appointments on my laptop from the comfort of my bed -- I'm quite fine with these things.
Although, I do fear the day when our "old normal" returns (if it ever will completely) and I'm forced to go back to work and wear real clothing (instead of loungewear) for consecutive days in a row. Especially pants. A pair of real pants -- with pockets, a zipper, and a button to hold the waistband together. Remember those things? But who knows when exactly this exhausting "new normal" will be done. I'm hanging onto my pull-on sweats, leggings, flannel pajamas, and yoga pants for the time being.
Singing and dancing my heart out
Something that is exhausting, in a good way, is dancing alone with your ratty pandemic hair sticking up all over the place like a complete fool who has finally cracked up and lost her mind. I just started doing this fun little activity, but I wish I had been dancing around my house for months. It's a lot of fun and excellent exercise. I worked up a wheezing sweat and pounding heartbeat in no time, all while singing and dancing my heart out.
Pandemic-induced anxiety and depression
Thanks to COVID-19, I lost all three of my part-time jobs in March, including my main job, which is substitute teaching (there is NO WAY I'm going into a school building again unless a reliable vaccine is jabbed into my arm).
This lack of work, along with severe pandemic-induced anxiety and depression, has left me mostly lethargic and sedentary while ruminating nonstop about how we're all doomed and going to die at any minute. Many days, it's a struggle just to get out of bed. What's the point? Each morning it's the same old lonely day, over and over again. Oh, I still can't go anywhere without some rude person breathing on me and then possibly dying or giving COVID-19 to my cancer-stricken father? I'll stay right here under my warm comforter and pretend this is all a bad dream. Except, sadly, it's real.
The start of my solo dance parties
But back to dancing and "dancing with myself," as Billy Idol once sang. One day a couple weeks ago, my solo COVID-19 dance party was born, as I miraculously had the house to myself. The advice from both my pain clinic provider and my therapist popped into my head: "You HAVE to move! It's so important -- even a little bit each day." So I thought, ok, instead of baking 100 giant loaves of bread or teaching myself Icelandic or crafting some ugly macrame project during this time of extreme isolation and imprisonment, I'm going to dance.
I think I danced for 5-6 songs straight
Yes, DANCE! Maybe it's a little weird to blast Madonna through the speakers and throw down some goofy-sweet "mom moves" in the middle of the afternoon, but living during a terrifying, lethal pandemic has taught me to let go more and be my true, unfiltered self. This situation also brings to mind two words repeatedly: WHO CARES?! Who does care? Nobody. And I had a fun(ny) time and a surprisingly challenging workout pretending I was Whitney Houston in her music video, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody."
I think I danced straight through 5-6 songs on my laptop and I was huffing and puffing with sweat rolling down my face by the end of the dance-a-thon. To say I'm out of shape is an understatement. Who knew that lying around day after day causes extreme stiffness, joint pain, muscle weakness, and fibromyalgia flare-ups? I do now!
Healing with dancing and music
Dancing, as well as listening to music, can both be extremely healing when one is in pain (physical or emotional), stressed, anxious, depressed, lethargic, moody, apathetic, or is dealing with other problems. Turning up the volume when a song you LOVE comes on and then unconsciously and joyfully using your entire body to MOVE with the music automatically makes you happier and feel better.
It's also a good escape from the horror of what's going on in the world right now, which is something we all need, I think. At first, I felt a little silly bopping around barefoot on the living room carpet, wearing an old T-shirt and gray leggings, and looking like I just crawled out of bed (or a crusty cave). But honestly, it didn't take very long for me to not care if it was silly or not, and to just enjoy the moment--singing and swinging to my favorite songs.
Has menopause impacted your RA?