We hear everywhere how COVID19 has had a massive impact on people’s mental health. There are long waiting lists to see therapists, anxiety and depression prescriptions have significantly increased and survey data show there is a surge in people experiencing depression, loneliness, isolation, stress and anxiety. Not to mention economic devastation and job anxiety. My heart goes out to young and old, and especially to those who because of their circumstances are particularly vulnerable.
I am one of the more fortunate people. My challenges are limited mostly to inconveniences, namely missing social and family interactions. I too am tired of the same old, day in and day out. I haven’t seen my out- of -province daughter for over a year. I am more afraid of potential complications of COVID19 than I am from dying.
Unfortunately, the news, social media platforms and channels and data leaves out the people who are thriving or coping. And this brings me me to the dead man's float.
The dead man's float is a survival swimming technique I was taught as a young camper in the open waters of Lake of the Woods, (Kenora, Ontario). It was drilled into me that if I should ever be stranded in a lake, river or ocean, the dead man’s float will keep me alive until rescued. I whole-heartedly believed in this survival strategy and to this day, practice it every summer when I go into a lake.
The technique is designed to quiet and calm your nervous system so much so that you can conserve your strength for hours, while waiting to be rescued. Those of you who are not familiar with this float, you are taught to hang in a prone floating position, face down, arms stretched forward and legs dangling down. You hang for as long as you can, taking on the limpness of a ‘dead-man’. When you need to breathe, you lift your head and take a breath while you simultaneously do a simple breaststroke. Then, you hang your head again. The float needs to be done with minimal exertion.
In calm or rough waters, you float it out somewhat like a jellyfish. We can all adopt this technique to get through the coming months. We will be rescued – and in the meantime, we can practice being calm, conserving our energy and increasing our stamina and endurance in order to survive in unsettled waters.
I am a certified professional coach and support individuals and organizations in professional and personal matters.
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.