Well, there have been a few changes since 2020 started. I was cautiously optimistic back in January, but it looks like things have gotten a little hectic since then, to say the least.
Usually, I focus purely on writing for this blog. But I’m going to take a step back really quick and address the elephant in the room.
I know we’re tired of hearing this by now, but with a big, sarcastic thanks to COVID-19, a lot of us are out of jobs, quarantined indoors, and unable to visit with family and friends. A lot of us lost our main source of income. And many, if not all of us, are scared about what this could mean for the future.
Personally, I’ve gotten some disappointing news regarding income, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better anytime soon. But one thing I’ve learned from this experience is that, in the absence of a bright side, there are still some positive things we can do.
1. Remain calm.
This should go without saying, but it’s still difficult to do. The worst thing that can be done right now is panic. Be sure to slow down, take stock of where you are, and remember to breathe. Exercise has been my go-to activity; it simultaneously keeps me in shape and occupies my mind. Meditation is also a good source of calm energy. If neither exercise nor meditation is your cup of tea, then try a literal cup of tea! Peppermint is especially calming.
2. Keep your mind working.
I’ve never had such a strong craving to do a puzzle. But seriously, puzzles work! Just like physical exercise can keep your body occupied, doing some mental puzzles keeps your mind occupied. Crossword puzzles, coloring books, and Jeopardy! are all viable options. If you’re artistic, then maybe sketching or writing helps just as well.
I’m actually very new to the concept of a podcast, so I found a whole new, shiny world when I explored Spotify. Turns out, two of my favorite authors are now hosting their own shows! If you would also love to get that sweet, sweet podcast positivity, be sure to check out The Happy Writer hosted by Marissa Meyer, and One For All hosted by Nancy O’Toole Merservier and her husband Tanner.
3. Learn a new hobby.
Personally, I’m taking up drawing. Over the years, my drawings have been either stick figures or faceless lumps of pencil lead, so in order to better visualize my characters, I’m starting with the drawing basics and working my way to up, hopefully, a sketching master. A guru, if you will. Now that a lot of us have more time on our hands, we can start new indoor hobbies we’ve always wanted to try. Maybe learn to play the piano! Or start writing that new novel you’ve been meaning to get to! The point is, try and use this highly negative circumstance to add more positivity to your life. Whether your new hobby is learning how to juggle or just getting a solid eight hours of sleep, it’s best to put this time to good use.
4. Recognize that you aren’t obligated to do EVERYTHING.
By this, I mean that you don’t have to learn a new hobby. You don’t have to stress over everyone else doing crazy new and different things if that’s just not your style. If you prefer to make yourself a cup of cocoa and binge-watch Netflix, that’s completely valid as well. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is self-care. Give yourself a break; it’s really okay.
5. Keep in touch.
No, do not go out and party with your friends or celebrate your grandpa’s 100th birthday with the whole family.
Yes, do keep in touch with family and friends with whatever technology you have at your disposal. Make sure to call people and ask how they’re doing. If you don’t like calling, text. Or Skype. Or Zoom. Even a Facebook message or an email would suffice. If you want to be extra thoughtful (or just plain extra), write a 10-page letter to your friends! The point is, in this time of isolation, it’s important to remain connected with the important people in your life.
And hey, as a bonus point, be nice to your essential workers, whoever they are and whatever they’re doing. When you go to the store and they’re out of toilet paper…again…please be kind to the employees. It’s not their fault things are shitty and there’s nothing to wipe it with. We’re all in this together!
This is a tough time for us all, folks. But individually, as well as a super-strong group called humanity, we are resilient. We’ll get through this. All dark days end and every bad event will pass. Eventually, life will resume and we’ll look back at the 2020 COVID-19 crisis as an unpleasant but distant memory.
Keep your chin up! We will get through this.