Yesterday, I posted this visual on my author Instagram feed.
[Feel free to check it out but come right back!]
It speaks to the need we all have to try to maintain a sense of control in difficult times.
I imagine most of us have had to adjust our courses because our pre-pandemic methods and strategies don’t seem to be working right now.
For instance, normally, I’m a half-full person and wake with an excitement for whatever project I’m invested in. Now, I wake with my typical excitement but the feeling is quickly tempered by the realization that yes, we are still in the midst of a huge, unknown, scary storm and we can’t see the back edge of it.
Instead of feeling half-full and positive, I feel impending dread. But DREAD IS NOT CONDUCIVE TO HAPPINESS! DREAD IS NOT CONDUCIVE TO PRODUCTIVITY! DREAD IS NOT CONDUCIVE TO BEING ABLE TO SUPPORT OTHERS!
So, I allow myself the feeling and then picture it as a fluffy white swan feather floating away on the breeze — a spring breeze that is ruffling new leaves outside my window. I see the feather-feeling and then I gently ask it to get the fork out of my house. Sorry if that’s offensive but being real is one of my adjustment strategies. Here are ten more. I hope something here helps you.
Carrie’s Ten Ways to Adjust Course and Still Keep Sailing
10. Two cups of caffeine a day is A-okay. Normally one does it for me but I find myself wanting another and I’m saying yes for now. The corollary to #10 is…
9. Two glasses of cold Chardonnay a day is A-okay. Normally one does it for me but I find myself wanting another and I’m saying yes for now.
8. Spend more outside time. Nature heals; it’s a scientific fact and I feel it. My afternoon outside time is now two or three hours — or more if it is a decent weather day.
7. Set smaller daily goals so I can literally cross more off my list. Those cross-offs are my brain’s whacked way of feeling productive so I’m giving it more opportunities to feel good about itself because why not? Pardon me while I cross off “have second cup of coffee.”
6. Stop what I’m doing and watch the neighbors as they go by. Really look at them. Try to imagine some extra contentment and happy feelings raining down on them like glittery confetti that doesn’t hurt the environment. Normally I’ll see two or three people in a work day. Now, many are walking, biking, running, strollering…it’s great for them and also great for voyeur-clean confetti-tossing me.
5, Take a break and pretend to be my dog. She’s happy most of the time and when I see her tail wag just because she looked at me, I remember that simple things like love for the person who feeds you really do matter.
4. Take deep breaths in and release them a few times while working. Shallow breaths increase feelings of anxiety. Fresh air fuels the brain.
3. Call people who have less ability to connect. Many older folks are scared in a different way, often live alone, and may not have as much technology available for connection. Just pick up the phone and call them. Make their day and feel good about it.
2. Recognize that I still need to create because that’s my jam. Think of this time like creating potential energy. We are skiing/walking/running/biking uphill, creating potential energy with the knowledge that we will release that energy on the downhill. When it is extra hard, use headphones and turn on music that is meaningful and is a signal to create. For me, it is nature sounds on YouTube.
1. Give grace. Toss it around freely to those who may not act like you want or say things you’d rather not hear. I seem to be giving a lot of grace to myself. Oops.
Please add your own adjustments in the comments. I’d love to hear how you are managing.
And remember when I said we are still in the midst of a huge, unknown, scary storm and we can’t see the back edge of it? I should have added the word “yet” to the end of the sentence. Although “yet” is a tiny word, it portends a big bright future.
Take care of yourself.