9/17/20

And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

This morning, I had some rare free time as two of my three morning clients were out of town and couldn’t meet. I decided to take the time to go out to The Salt Room and get a treatment. I’ve been going to The Salt Room for almost two years now. It’s great for treatment of lung disorders. I have asthma and allergy issues and it’s been amazing.

But on top of that, it has another benefit: decompression. The actual salt room is completely covered in salt – floors, walls, ceiling. There is no visual sensory stimulation – no color, nothing to look at. The lights are turned way down. There is a soft white noise from the blower putting salt into the air. I sit in a leather recliner, covered in a nice warm blanket. Sometimes I read, but mostly, I close my eyes and just breathe.

So today, I did just that.

Before my appointment, I met with my remaining morning client and I mentioned that I am about COVIDed and OtherNewsed out. I said that I’m only reading headlines now, rarely the articles. He nodded and said his wife told him that it’s time to stop reading the headlines too.

Honestly, I think we are all burned out. A student of mine who is a therapist started a COVID-fatigue support group this week. I’m beginning to think that, along with the mask mandate, there should be a support group mandate too.

So while I sat there and breathed, I thought about this. And I came up with an idea. We need to do a different sort of country-wide lockdown. It would last for at least 24 hours. And this is what we would do.

  • First, pick the most comfortable seat you have. It might be a recliner. It might be that old couch which you should really get rid of, but it’s learned how to mold to your body just right and you cocoon in it. The seat can be inside or outside. Wherever you are happiest.
  • If you have a pet, and that pet is lappable, that pet will be doing just that. If the pet isn’t lappable, it should be on the floor within reach of your hand.
  • Next to you on a table, closed, or better yet, open face down on your chest, is the book that you would choose to have with you on a desert island. It’s not there for you to read. It’s just there to provide you with the comfort you would want with you in a dire situation.
  • All screens are off. No television, no computer, no tablet, no phone. You may play music, but only if you must. And it should be at a low volume. More background than attention-getter.
  • Don’t turn on any lights. During the daytime, live by the light the sun provides or live in the gray of clouds. At night, embrace the dark.
  • Pay no attention to the activities of the man in the white house or his followers or his anti-followers. Pay no attention to reports on the COVID numbers or the new discoveries. Pay no attention to the protests, violent or peaceful. Pay. No. Attention.
  • Close your eyes. Breathe.
  • Hold for 24 hours.

As I sat in the salt room and thought about all this, I felt my shoulders release. My forehead smoothed out, and even the tension on the sides of my eyes relaxed. My hands opened and my fingers went limp. And then I fell asleep.

Of course, eventually my hour was up, the lights came back on, the salt blower turned off, and the door opened. I re-entered the real world.

But on the way home, I kept my phone on silent. I didn’t look at it to see what I missed during that hour. I went through a drive-thru, picked up lunch, and drove to nearby Pewaukee Lake. I sat at a picnic table and watched the water, so smooth today, as I ate. And then I came home.

Just that hour in the salt room helped. And so did the solo lakeside lunch. Imagine how we would feel after 24 hours.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

This is the salt room. It’s an older photo that I took shortly after starting there. These chairs have been replaced with leather recliners and footstools. There are only 3 chairs now, for social distancing, but I was there all by myself today.
Pewaukee Lake, where I had lunch.

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