I don’t know what kind of experience you’re having right now as we navigate life during a pandemic. I do know that your level of stress depends on a lot of factors, including whether or not you have income coming in, your home situation, and potentially the virus itself. Wherever you’re at with all of these things, I hope you are being as kind and compassionate with yourself as possible and can find the support you need.
I do believe that there will be life after this – it’s in my nature to be cautiously optimistic – and that for some, this pause is an opportunity filled with possibility. Here are my thoughts:
Evaluate and re-evaluate
The momentum of modern life is such that it’s hard to recognize where things just aren’t working anymore. Patterns are easy to fall into and hard to break, if we don’t stop long enough to disrupt them. Have you explored your calling? Do you feel like your life has meaning as you’re living it? Are your relationships (friends, intimate and family) fulfilling?
This isn’t just personal though. I’ve been considering leadership now more than ever, in all aspects of society (not just political). We’re getting to see how leaders navigate in a crisis and it’s revealing a great deal.
Dreaming and Visioning
When was the last time you had space to dream? To imagine what you deep down in your guts want life to be? Maybe it’s a project you put away, or something you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe you evaluated the leadership around you and found it lacking – is it your time to move up?
A key to dreaming is to not jump too quickly to goals and outcome. Stay open and fluid; play with the idea and see where it leads you.
Connecting and Re-Connecting with Creativity
Creativity doesn’t begin and end with art. You might need to be creative with your budgeting right now, or figuring out how to keep your children engaged. Creativity is about seeing possibility where you thought there wasn’t any. Creativity and dreaming are the perfect duo.
This is the one that I’m in right now. One of my patterns is to go fast and furious and then pause just long enough to recover, with little actual replenishment. Art-making, writing, yoga, napping, reading, hanging out with my husband and dogs, making and eating good food; these things are not just helping me stay grounded and getting me through – they’re filling my well. My body and psyche are grateful for it.
They should have called it physical distancing because most people need social connection more than ever as they find themselves physically isolated. In fact, I’m talking more to family and friends then I have in a while, including people from my past that I haven’t spoken with for some time. I’m grateful for the ability to meet with and see people virtually; I can’t imagine going through this in a time before technology.
It’s not just technology though. I live in a small town and a parade of cars just went by: teachers, local business owners, and community members who wrote “we miss you” on their cars, honking and waving as they drove through town. It was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.
Perhaps none of this speaks to you. It might be that your anxiety and stress is feeling overwhelming and just getting through the day feels like a victory. And make no mistake – it is a victory. Again, I hope you can find ways to love yourself up, to be compassionate and kind to yourself (no judgment, no shaming!) and to take care of yourself and your loved ones the best that you can.
“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.” -Hafiz