April 3, 2020

With everything happening in the world today, I am reminded of the song “Sound & Color” by the Alabama Shakes. Verse one reads:

A new world hangs
Outside the window
Beautiful and strange
I must be, I’ve fallen awake
I must be

The story is about an astronaut in pursuit of a new Earth-like planet for humans to exist. The astronaut wakes up to discover that they are 500 years off course of their target. Instantly, feelings of loneliness, uncertainty, and sadness from being separated from memories and visions of what the future is supposed to look like flood the main character. However, in the chaos of it all, the protagonist finds beauty and opportunity in the face of new beginnings.

While none of us are traveling into the depths of outer space (please let me know if you are), many of us are feeling similar feelings as the protagonist of the song. We are confined to a space in order to protect the health of others. We are asked to take everything we have come to expect and adjust, pause, or complete work we have invested in. Part from people we care about. It is okay to feel the emotions you may be experiencing. You are not alone.

In the face of all of this, we all have the opportunity to reflect, create new ways of being, and create new possibilities for the people we can become. In the month of March, The AIAS launched Advocacy Month, Thirty-One Days & Ways of Advocacy. Each week the different advocacy committees and task forces have been sharing tips on how to be an advocate. Here are some things that we learned last week during the Health and Wellness Task Force
instagram Advocacy Month takeover:

@jerrysavestheday: “Take on a fun project at home of some sort (for example painting, drawing) and talk to friends and family on the phone while you work! It’s a great way to keep yourself occupied while staying in touch with those you care about!”

@sara_taketatsu: “I’ve been getting into at home yoga videos on YouTube! The relaxation focused ones help with all the extra anxiety.”

@iza.dab: “My bedtime routine consists of drinking a cup of warm chamomile tea with honey, brushing my teeth and then stretching while focusing on my breathing. Nothing like a calm heart beat and relaxed mind and body before hitting the hay!”

@weisbro_5: “Set up a workspace with room to work, but room for something that’s special to you like a plant or photo of your family. Keep your blinds open so you get a nice burst of sunlight in the morning, get up at a decent hour and make a routine for yourself.”

@here.to.play.2k2k: “Coming in hot with the devil’s advocate perspective: For those that enjoyed working from home previously or like to work from bed: don’t force yourself into a new habit just because of the crisis! Most of the tips posted here are excellent, but make the most of existing routines you had set-up if you are like me, because it can offset the stress and anxiety from the current crisis. Rather than insist on getting out of comfy clothes for instance, I reward myself for completed tasks with snacks or other forms of entertainment, and that helps to push me from one thing to another without putting too much pressure on myself to get it done in a set time-frame.”

In the coming weeks, the Health and Wellness Task Force will be sharing more information on how to stay physically, mentally and socially well in this new world outside of our windows. In the meantime, be sure to check out the @aias_advocacy instagram for inspiration on new ways of being.

To new beginnings.

-Austin Hurrell


Written by the 2019-2020 Health and Wellness Task Force.

Shakes, Alabama. “Sound & Color.” Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes LLC, Rough Trade Records Ltd., 2015, track 1. Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/track/4jVQBszyxsa0GeRSe5ToVC