This summer is infusing us with energy and sunshine, particularly as we move into the latter stages of the pandemic. But amid all the energy and enthusiasm for in-person gatherings and hugging our friends and family again, we also need to think about and exercise some temperance.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech has written an excellent, thought-provoking and inspiring article, “When Covid is Over: The Hidden Blessings of 2020,” on Aish.com. He writes, “The Torah gives us the initial illustration of a common but foolish reaction. Noah was the first to witness global destruction. No sooner did he leave the ark and bear witness to the world’s devastation than he ‘planted a vineyard and drank of the wine, and was drunken’ (Genesis 9:20-21). Escape – wine, drugs, licentiousness – invariably attempt to ease our pain since Noah’s time, with equally unsatisfactory results.”
Rabbi Blech continues, “Some think the post pandemic era will suffer a similar fate. Yale professor Nicholas Christakis, in his new book ‘Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live,’ claims society will make up for lost time as soon as it’s safe to do so, with hedonism and profligacy ‘plunging humanity into an era of vice and indulgence.’ ”
The following tips to fight against these destructive tendencies are well-known – but often forgotten when temptation is upon us.
When we start to feel anxious or overwhelmed, the first step is to just breathe – taking a few deep breaths can help silence some of those anxious thoughts and feelings.
Breath is a vital sign of life, yet the importance of breathing is often overlooked. Scientifically, it has been proven that deep-breathing exercises promote calmness and ease the mind. Breathing deeply and fully with great focus can energize and invigorate you, and provide a preventive measure from post-COVID overindulgence.
Another method to prevent overdoing our new freedoms is to just take a step back – don’t be afraid to walk away for a moment if you need to.
In addition, exercise and laughter help ease the body of unwanted tension by suppressing stress-related hormones in your brain and activating your immune system.
It’s also worth mentioning that opening up about stressful situations is a major stress reliever; it creates the sensation of weight being lifted off your shoulders. In the summer especially, when we are more likely to see friends and family, this can greatly improve our mood. The people around us have a huge influence on our moods and habits, so it is imperative that we have positive and healthy relationships.
Lastly, see yourself as grounded, envisioning strong roots growing from your feet into the ground.
At the end of the day, it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves, so we need to make sure we are building a strong foundation. Always be grateful for what you have and be thankful for your blessings. Do not take anything for granted and seek peace of mind.
Happy summer everyone!
PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence. She is a recipient of the Providence Business News 2020 Leaders and Achievers award.