Even Keel

Paint by number

I don't do drama. I lash out when I hear hyperbole used to create a sense of impending doom. I don't enjoy or have patience for groups of people with heightened emotions. All of these things make me anxious and quite certain I am in danger. I have spent too much time and money getting a handle on my anxiety to let anyone or anything (even a pandemic) make me live that way again.

I'm sharing this for a couple reasons. First, if I've been curt and dismissive to you in the last month while you tried to tell me the latest scary virus news. I'm sorry. I should have ended the conversation in a nicer way. Second, I've become quite aware of what helps me feel like myself again when the anxiety tries to sneak back in and I hope by sharing my strategies, you might be willing to share some of yours too.

  • If a social media post has a photo of Trump on it, I don't read it
  • Get outside every day - otherwise I become lethargic and prone to a gloomy outlook
  • Listen to audio books or non-news podcasts while going about the boring but necessary bits of life (cleaning, folding laundry, cooking uninspired meals)
  • Never look more than 48 hours in the future, 24 is preferable
  • Get eye level with the bunny and pet her, focusing on the way her eyes close and open with each stroke of her head
  • Body scan and metta meditation 
  • Read my daily digest email from WBUR to keep up with the news, then avoid all other sources the rest of the day
  • Seek out and spend time with the people (virtually) and media (blogs, books, live feeds, Pinterest) that feed my soul
  • Embrace chances to be silly
  • Create: write, quilt, mend, knit, garden, collage...
  • The unexpected hero of this situation has been a large paint-by-number kit that I got for Christmas a couple years ago. There is no need to think, but I'm engaged and active. Several times lately Alex has come to ask me a question and it's only then that I realize I've been painting and listening to my audio book for hours.

What is helping you stay on an even keel?

Little Bit of Normal

This too shall pass rock

Something beautiful happened this morning. When I looked out the window to get my weather forecast, I noticed that our garbage and recycling bins were empty and stacked neatly by the road; just as I would expect them to be every Friday morning. But this isn't a normal Friday. For me today marks two weeks since the last day my workplace was open, and for some the isolation/quarantine has been longer. This is life in the time of COVID 19, so the fact that my garage is not filling up with garbage is beautiful because it is mundane. It is a precious snippet of normal life, of systems working as expected.

I decided to jot a quick thank you note to the company that removes our household's waste. 

Then I thought about our mail carrier, who still smiles and gives a wave (now in a smurf-blue glove) as they deliver the mail.

And the grocery store employees who are working triple as hard while dealing with an anxious, short-tempered community of shoppers. They have fallen into a hole where every day is some ugly combination of the day before a blizzard and the day before Thanksgiving, all while knowing each customer may be carrying the virus.

I'm writing to them all so they know their commitment and hard work are seen and appreciated. I'll get addresses off the internet, pop on a stamp and drop them in the mail.

I love getting mail that isn't an ad or a bill, doesn't everyone?

Writing postcards