These are unprecedented times. On the one hand, we are more divided but in other ways more united. Everyone has their own story on how they are coping and also their immediate situation. I’m sure stories will be told decades from now on how families survived this episode. For sure, life will not go back to normal for quite a while. As each story can be constructive I will share some of my own. Overall, I am coping well these past six weeks. Here are some things working for me.
1.Pick up the phone
I live alone. My mother and father live locally (though my mother has been stranded in California) and have brothers in California. We’d phone chat perhaps once or twice a week. I have a nice scattered bunch of friends who I rarely call. Texting and social media have been my preferred routes. In times past I’d occasionally glance at my phone and see 7 or 8 messages waiting. No longer. I now speak with family 2-3 times per day. One day where I didn’t communicate my father almost called 911 on me. Now I look forward to those calls. Any kind of resentments or bitter memories have faded. Next up is to call more friends.
2. Get out the door
Believe it or not, the world hasn’t ended. Carefully going about the public is safe as long as you maintain distances. I find even if it’s a 15-minute walk around your neighborhood the benefits are great. I’ve started exploring local and state parks (some are closed). You’d be amazed at how many great outdoor facilities and hiking trails are in your area. Check them out!
3. Set a conquer list
I purposely don’t call it a neutral “to do” list. You need to take action! Set up a list of things to do whether it is for the day of the week. I like to do them just before bed. You don’t have to do everything on your list but knock off at least a few. Build off of successful tasks. For me taking out the garbage turned into scrubbing my tub and then doing the laundry. Get that momentum going and worries/concerns of these crazy times diminish.
4. Work on a hobby or start a new one
I recently had a Zoom call with my brother’s family for my nephew’s 2nd birthday. His twins (3 ½ years old) took great interest in looking at my apartment. Percy spied my guitar hanging on the wall and shouted out “GUITAR!!”. So I took it down (the first time in years) and it was so horribly out of tune I just put it back. Now a friend of mine helped me restring it. I bought a $15 video course and now have made it a priority. I’m a huge fan of the blues. Some say it is a dying art form. I can tell you when I hit a B.B. King lick or some cool T-Bone Walker jazz chords, the music is alive in my fingers.
5. Don’t get discouraged
I have days that are pretty flat. That conquer list has very few things crossed off. Don’t give in to despair. I fight negative thoughts that harangue me for not getting more done (i.e., no excuses you have all the time in the world). I then compare myself to others (think of the nurses and doctors working and you’re sitting on your ass!). I try hard not to accept negative thinking like that. You shouldn’t either.