Daft Drafts Day 4: I Took A Walk Around The World To Ease My Troubled Mind

Luis Mejía Ahrens | The PhoenixDuring his fast, Luis Mejía Ahrens has been drinking three beers a day.

Thursday is the first day I seriously considered breaking my fast.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve used food as a coping mechanism. If I ever had any stressful or life-altering experience, food was the primary way to help settle those feelings and move on. I conditioned myself to believe eating made me feel good, and trusted I could resolve any situation by consuming something. Food was my safety net, my home plate.

Suddenly take all food away and everything changes. My safety net has disappeared. My comfort in calories is gone. And in these challenging times of self-isolation and social distancing, all that remains are three beers per day and a lot of time to think.

I know that thinking of food won’t help me last until the end of the week, so I have tried to occupy my head with different things. I have taken up sewing and patching clothes. I have begun reading and annotating books that have been acquiring dust for years. I have learned the skill of sitting alone in my room, doing nothing but thinking, alone with my thoughts.

Something that helped immensely, however, was convincing my roommates to go on a walk together. In one fell swoop I could distract myself from food and treat the cabin fever I’ve been developing over the last few days. That walk around the neighborhood cleared my mind and made me realize everything can be fine. That walk gave me the clarity I needed to stay on this path of self-control. I returned home, drank my last beer of the day and felt hopeful.

A general state of malaise has blanketed me since I began the fast, often fogging my mind to do anything. Melancholy in tandem with being stuck at home can very quickly become destructive, so finding times to escape and walk into the night, even if for 20 minutes, can be surprisingly regenerative for mental health.

Go on a walk whenever you can — it may be the only way to make quarantining a little easier.

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