All the serious issues facing us personally and as a nation are very unsettling. Being stressed in response to these problems doesn’t solve anything. If you’re like me, you’re doing your best to remain sane during this unprecedented time. My success at calmness varies depending on the day.
There’s no use to be hard on myself when I flail around pulling my hair out because I picked up the mail without wearing gloves or when I nervously spend a whole day adding cleaning products, masks, and gloves to my To Go bag ahead of fire season. Haven’t we all had somewhat similar days?
The tried-and-true methods of dealing with stress are still good but, for me, they’re not working their usual magic. I’m afraid today’s state of the states requires more. Calmness can easily evaporate and I’m left holding the bag – usually a bag of chips, popcorn, or some other nasty-for-me food item.
When I see what I’m doing, I check myself. Like the rocket ship headed to the moon, I auto-correct my boosters and get realigned on my path. In recent weeks I’ve ferreted out a few ways to calmness that I hadn’t tried before, and they seem to be working to entertain and thus calm me.
So, here are four new ideas for the coming weeks:
1. Stop listening to others. Lots of people these days are talking, talking, talking about their views on COVID-19, the president, other crazy politicians, and the best way to do this or that. Sometimes I have arguments in my head with people who don’t share my same views on any or all of these subjects. Talk about crazy! Tune everyone out. If it’s friends or family who are doing the jabbering, practice smiling while listening with no response. If it’s the news, either on TV, online, or in print, we’ve said it before — disconnect. The really important stuff will get through.
2. The Quarantine Diaries. Have you seen these on YouTube? If you search by this title, you’ll get pages and pages of daily vlogs by a wide variety of people. There’s at least one or two people there who will thoroughly entertain you. Fun, fun! This is one that I love and follow religiously: The Chateau Quarantine Diaries. Be sure to search diaries posted by your favorite actor or comedian. Laughing goes a long way to creating calmness.
3. Look to the nooks and crannies. Go to a part of your house that you haven’t visited in a long while. This could be the garage, attic, or storage shed. This could even be that junk drawer where you toss paper clips, rubber bands, and the like. Now find something in this spot to showcase somewhere else in your house or write about it, give it away, or toss it. Repeat in other places that need your attention. Basically, this is just shifting your focus away from the world events and staying healthy to things that you’ve stored in recent years but now need to be dealt with. These items are just waiting for your attention!
4. Create. I know lots of you are already very creative whether it’s paper crafts, knitting, sewing, gardening, or writing. My suggestion is to create something different. If you’re a writer, roll up three single socks and try juggling (instruction videos abound online). If you knit, try crocheting or vice versa. If you’re a gardener, try cooking with something to share from the veggie patch or if you grow flowers, learn to dry and preserve them, or learn the art of ikebana. There are lots of things to learn without attending outside classes or spending money. Be sure to keep your calm if your new creation doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time.
Give these a try and let me know what you think. My suggestions in no way mean to avoid dealing honestly and with maturity to keeping yourself informed and safe, but instead, hopefully, will give you some new ways to take a break and eliminate stress. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and don’t be critical of yourself if you “create” a pie you don’t need or if you “stop listening to …” your spouse for a while. Also, if you have some unconventional ways to increase calmness, please share them in the comments!