June 9, 2020 – Day 85 of my quarantine
I wanted to share with you what I’ve been doing that has allowed me to not only survive but thrive during these challenging times. They are listed in no particular order. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to life during a pandemic but is simply a list of some of the things I do every day.
Have a Daily Routine
This does not have to be strict by any means and can be quite loose and fluid – but having a set of things you give priority to every day can go a long way to making you feel more grounded and stable and your day more structured. Things like personal hygiene, keeping your home in order, taking care of plants and pets, journaling, helping others, and having FUN – yes – be sure to make FUN part of your routine every day. Whatever that means for you, be sure that you gift yourself with something that makes you laugh, smile, or just feel good every day.
Stay Engaged but Not Overwhelmed
It’s important to be aware of what is going on around us – but not to the point where it feels burdensome and fatiguing. Set limits on when and how you consume the “news”. If it begins to feel overwhelming, overly emotional, and repetitive – turn it off.
Journal and Note Gratitude Daily
I keep a personal journal – somedays I only write a few words in it. But one thing I make sure I do every day is list 5 things I am grateful for on that day.
Gratitude disconnects us from toxic, negative emotions and the ruminating that often accompanies them. Writing down the things we are grateful for “shifts our attention” so that our focus is on positive emotions. Expressing gratitude helps us even if we don’t explicitly share it with someone. We’re happier and more satisfied with life because we completed the exercise. The positive effects of gratitude writing compound like interest. You might not notice the benefit of a daily or weekly practice, but after several weeks and months, you will. A gratitude practice trains the brain to be more in tune with experiencing gratitude — a positive plus a positive, equal more positives.
Accept That You Are Owed Nothing
No one on this planet owes you anything – ever. No organization or governments owe you anything – ever. Whatever you choose to call God or The Universe also does not owe you anything – ever.
When we adopt the belief that we are owed something and we aren’t getting it, we immediately plant the seeds of bitterness, anger, frustration, and general negativity.
Get away from negative people and situations as quickly and safely as possible. Social media is teeming with “trolls” who aspire to create chaos, spread negativity and start arguments. Scroll past them. Do not engage. The minute you engage with them you become one of them. Part of being an emotionally healthy adult is realizing just how many things don’t require your comment.
Look for people and places that renew your energy, inspire you, encourage you, feed your mind and spirit with uplifting messages. Engage with them. Take some time to notice how good it feels.
Respond Rather than React
A reaction is survival-oriented and on some level a defense mechanism. It might turn out okay but often a reaction is something you regret later. A response on the other hand usually comes more slowly. It’s based on information from both the conscious mind and the unconscious mind.
Help Someone Else
I try to do something every day that helps one other being on the planet. This can be a person, plant, or animal. It can be as minor as sending someone a virtual “HUG” or complimenting someone on social media, over the phone or in an email.
Don’t Let Little Annoyances Pile-Up
Little annoyances and inconveniences left unaddressed can quickly pile-up during the course of days and weeks and then one day, all of the sudden, you find yourself yelling profanities at a paperclip that doesn’t work properly.
Defuse and accept little annoyances as they occur in real-time. They are all part of life.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Difficult Decisions
In every life, there are times when paths diverge, plans fall apart, and relationships turn toxic. These are the times when we are called to make “The Hard Decision.” It may not be a popular decision, it may not be the expected decision, and the moment for it may be extremely difficult to reach – but once you have reached that moment – ACT. PULL THE TRIGGER. A Difficult decision that is not acted on and deferred can quickly become a festering emotional cancer that will undermine everything you do.
Be Good to Yourself
Give yourself a little treat every day. This can be as simple as making your favorite cup of tea, buying your favorite snacks, or allowing yourself to take a nap or watch a favorite film. I tend to reward myself with books, music, art supplies, and films because those are some of my favorite things. Make a list of some of your favorite things – then give them to yourself.
This Universal truth, above all else, has gotten me through the worst times in my life. I have a sign in my studio that used to hang in my home in Silicon Valley – “Everything Changes” – It is here to remind me daily to have gratitude for the good times, as they will eventually pass and to not take the bad times to heart because THEY TOO will eventually pass. I came up with the idea for the sign after my soulmate, Sarah died. Because I needed a way to remind myself daily that I would not be feeling that initial acute, horrific, and debilitating pain of her loss forever.
I hope you find something helpful in today’s post. I’ll leave you with The Record Company’s “Off the Ground” –
Sending you all my Love and Light. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Stay Sane. Stay Strong out there.
Until next time …