Friday, March 27, 2020
Ten Things You Can Do to Make Yourself Feel Better Now
Like you, I'm worried and uncertain. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home, and in theory, so long as I'm able to work, I should have a paycheck. But...it's hard to work right now. The kind of focus and prolonged concentration it takes to write good fiction is similar to that required of an accountant at tax time. It's mentally exhausting, and right now...
My adorable stepdaughter is currently working with COVID19 patients in Quebec. My nephew (youngest of the beloved kidlings) has just been hired to fight wild fires. My mom and dad are in their 80s and in not tip-top health. And on and on my list of worries goes: the SO, my B-I-L, my niece... Heck, ME. The girl who spent all of last year catching every cold and flu circulating. :-D I'm not worried really for myself, but I am so frightened for the people I love, it's hard to catch my breath sometimes.
But you know what? One day at a time.
So here are my Top Ten Things You Can Do to Make Yourself Feel Better Now
1 - Get informed. Ignorance may be bliss, but it will also get you killed. If you think this is all a hoax or being blown out of proportion, okay, but I'm guessing that's because you haven't bothered to actually get informed. You're suffering from Preconceived Ideas. Why not take a few minutes to check out a neutral news source and then see what you think? It's not going to hurt to look, right?
AT THE SAME TIME, if you're glued to your TV, watching the numbers mount, STOP. I'm now limiting my news watching to first thing in the morning--I want to know where we are when the day begins--and the Rachel Maddow show in the evening. And Rachel is not the last thing I watch at night.
You don't want to go to sleep with death and disaster on your mind.
2 - Go outside.
Go for a walk. Work in your garden. Sit on your balcony. YOU CAN DO THIS AND STILL MAINTAIN SOCIAL (PHYSICAL) DISTANCE. You need fresh air. You need sunlight. If you can't go outside, pull back the drapes, open the blinds, open a window for a few minutes. At the minimum, LOOK out the window for a few minutes. I go out in the garden every day and do ONE thing, one chore. Maybe it's straighten out some tangled lights, maybe it's re-pot a plant, maybe it's feed the roses. One little thing. Ten minutes, tops.
3 - Bathe. Groom. Change your clothes.
Hey, you don't want to be dragged off to the ICU looking horrible, right? But seriously, you'll feel better if you make an effort to preserve appearances (I love that phrase: preserve appearance). Play with makeup. Try on clothes you haven't worn for a while--what a great time to clear out your closet. I have learned to do the perfect silver smoky eye--and I have two boxes of clothes to donate.
Speaking of which...
4 - This is the time to tackle all those Home Improvement chores you've been putting off.
I've been meaning to reorganize my bar area and my secondary bedroom closet and the laundry room cupboards and my office. This is a good time for that. (Although, to clean out my office may require the length of two pandemics).
5 - Use your good china.
I made lasagna last night. I don't do a lot of cooking, but I've committed to doing the cooking at least once a week now. It gives the SO a night off--well, two nights off because we're also doing Door Dash once a week to help out our favorite restaurants--and it allows me time to get creative in the kitchen. I served dinner on our good china, crystal, silver... I mean, what AM I preserving all this for if not for us to enjoy? We are eating yummy meals, drinking wine, having dessert, using items that are beautiful and that we love.
6 - Indulge in candles, flowers, reed scent diffusers.
Create a sanctuary for yourself as best you can. I have a fireplace in my bedroom, and I'm using it for an hour or so every night. I'm burning Jo Malone candles. I'm playing soothing music. I'm treasuring my moments of quiet calm. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself some attention. You deserve it.
7 - Stay healthy.
Exercise. Eat right. Take your vitamins. Exercise again. Expand your lung capacity. No, none of this will keep you safe from the virus, but if you're in better health, you have a better chance of beating it without developing secondary infections. This virus is a respiratory illness, so the stronger your lungs, the better for you. As tempting as it may be to eat every cookie in the house, you want to make healthy choices right now.
I mean this literally and figuratively. Read new things. Watch new things. Cook new things. Try something new. Open a coloring book. Fill your brain with new images and new ideas. Hey, why not take the opportunity to learn about something you're curious about or something you wish you knew how to do. This is the perfect opportunity for armchair travel.
9 - Give to a worthy cause.
Instead of giving into the temptation of retail therapy, I've been donating to various charities or organizations I support. I can't sew or I'd be making masks. But what I can do is donate to the causes I believe in. Like No Kid Hungry. Doing something for someone else is a sure way to make yourself feel better.
10 - Keep a good thought.
It's scary out there, yes, but you know what never changes a damned thing? WORRYING. For most of us, the most helpful thing we can do is Stay Home. Stop the Spread. Try to make the most of this time. Try to stay positive. Not in a gosh-it-can't-happen-here! kind of way but in a Make Every Day Count. A lot of what is happening is outside our control. The one thing we can control is our attitude. So let's keep a good thought for ourselves and for each other.