Each day I wake up and think to myself, ok I’ve figured out where I can walk the dog and maintain social distance, I’ve figured out the time to go shopping so there are only a few other folks in the store, I’ve figured out how to have extra adult children back in the house and getting us on a schedule …(fill in the blank). And then something changes. And I have to figure it out again.
I am not alone — we are all in the same boat.
The question I am asking myself is ,if change is happening constantly, what can I do to keep that boat afloat and avoid heavy seas?
Ok, enough of the maritime metaphors. Seriously, what can we do? How are you dealing with constant and unexpected change?
It’s ok to feel sad or blue, this is a hard time. Trying to put a smile on all day long is exhausting. But there are things we can do to help ourselves and others.
Focus on What You Can Control
My tools for getting through each day include the idea of focusing on what I can control, and leaving what I can’t control alone. I can control if I take a walk, exercise, find time to relax and restore my spirit, meditate, and do work that is still meaningful for me. I can control how I connect with and treat myself, my family, friends and neighbors. Recognizing that there is a lot that I can control helps reduce worrying about what I cannot control.
But I’m also remembering that it’s ok to take time to feel sad and mourn what I miss. Denying loss has never been a winning strategy for me. But keeping up the habits I have to focus on the positive helps stop me from shutting down or feeling hopeless. Even in hard times, there is still good in my life.
Find Small Wins and Silver Linings
My youngest son’s college has closed and so he’s home for the duration. He has been a role model for me around silver linings and finding the good. He loves his school, his friends, his activities and will miss all of that. Yet he has focused on more time to play guitar or with our dog (or with Xbox), the recipes he wants to try out now that he has a kitchen again and sleeping late. I am certain there will be ups and downs, but his creative and positive attitude has inspired me to look for my own silver linings.
Again, this is a very hard time, especially for folks who are not getting a pay check or who are ill, so I don’t want to sound callous or like a Pollyanna. But trying to find small things in each day that make you smile or helps you feel a bit of joy is huge. Yesterday I sat down and wrote a list of everything that was good or pleasurable in my day. The list was filled with lots of tiny things — half and half in the refrigerator and the first taste of coffee, the sound of a hawk flying over my yard, the color green of the grass now that we in California got some rain… each one was small, but focusing on them helped lift my spirits. I invite you to focus on these tiny moments, let them in and savour them.
Connection and Creativity
Loneliness is a big risk right now with each of us in our own isolation pod. Connecting has never been more crucial. That’s where creativity comes in.
My friend Sara loves yoga, so she and some friends created an outdoor neighborhood yoga event. Each family had their own square drawn with chalk in which the adults did yoga while the kids created chalk drawings. They were all together while still practicing appropriate social distancing. My older son and I are figuring out how to play cribbage while I am in California and he’s in North Carolina. And last night my husband, his brother, our sister-in-law and I had wine, cheese and conversation over FaceTime.
And I want to invite you to connect with me and each other. I invite you to join me in my upcoming Write Into Joy workshops where we can use this time to connect, tap into the power of your stories, and meaning. Click here to see a list of upcoming workshops where we’ll spend some time together journaling & reflecting.