I don’t know about you but at this point in our current pandemic reality I am feeling lonely, sad, frustrated and bewildered. I am lonely for my children, who are taking extra precautions to avoid contact that could be perilous to us. I am sad for everyone in this country and around the world who are losing family, income and peace of mind to this virus. I am frustrated that the fight against it appears piece meal and disjointed. And the bewilderment, well it’s the only word that seems to encompass the highs and lows I am experiencing each and every day. The only time I feel a sense of lightness and peace is between the first moments of leaving sleep and waking into full consciousness. In that twilight place all is well. Then I open my eyes and, damn, here I am again, pandemic reality. But I’m trying to adjust my perspective with some shifts in daily activities, limited as they are. Maybe they can help you, too.
- First and foremost is staying connected to others. I have spent an unusual amount of time on the phone, FaceTime and Skype with friends, family and clients. Everyone needs to talk. Everyone wants to feel connected as we are asked to distance from each other further and longer, so it’s fortunate that we have the technology to do so. People are getting really creative about it. One person found a way to play bridge online with her family. Another is using Zoom to have gatherings with her women’s group. My mom is on FaceTime with my brother and his wife almost every evening for martini time. Offers to join virtual Meetups are coming up daily. It’s wonderful to hear!
- Get some sort of physical exercise, preferably outdoors. Every. Day. Fresh air, sunshine (if you are lucky enough to have it) and movement make a recipe for lifting your mood. If you are in bad weather, take up what a friend is doing ~ pulling out all her old workout videos to use while her gym is closed.
- Take yourself out of the pandemic reality with a good book or a movie. There’s nothing like a novel or romantic movie to sweep you away.
- Write! Which is why you are reading this now. Writing about anything, but particularly about your feelings and concerns, helps calm the nervous system and eases the mind.
- Do a craft, paint, draw, knit, crochet … if you’ve never done any of these, I invite you to take one up. My sister just introduced her granddaughter to knitting, and the eleven-year-old took it on like a pro, clicking her needles for three hours at her first sitting.
- Start learning a new language. I’m using the app Duolingo to study Spanish. It beats the heck out of Solitaire or Sudoku in my opinion! Plus, this kind of learning is totally engrossing and the long-term outcome is lasting.
- Cook! Bake! The act of food preparation can be very meditative and, of course, the results, delicious.
- Meditate or pray. Purposeful, quiet time is essential to keeping us grounded and connected to ourselves. And petitioning our Higher Power, whomever/whatever that may be, is an act of love and hope. We need this now more than ever.
- And, last but not least, limit your news time. Unglue from your TV! Unfortunately much of the news is repetitive and overtly incites fear. Watch a reliable program in the morning to get the latest updates. Check in again in the evening for anything new. Doing this is responsible and astute to the situation we are in. Beyond that, if you watch the same thing over and over again all day you are being constantly traumatized, which can throw your entire system into flight or flight and create anxiety. As my wise ninety-seven-year-old mum said to me today, “The media is going to do what it is going to do, but I can choose what I want to listen to.”
The challenges are great for all of us right now, my friends. Our mettle as individuals and as humans living in community with one another is being tested. We serve ourselves, and our community, best when we are at our best. Good self-care, using the activities shared here, can help you find your way to being the best you can be now. And may what you find benefit you and your community long after this pandemic is over.
Stay safe and many blessings,