Sunday, July 19, 2020

What To Do In a Pandemic


There are ways to be creative during a pandemic. You may be asking yourself why would I even want to try to be creative in these times? There are many reasons. Mainly, to help your mental outlook on life. Take a different view on the way it is in our world right now or for me, it would be risking going crazy (or at least crazier than I am right now)!

Before all of this happened and it became very real that we all had to change the way we live, it was easy to just say, "But I don't have time to do...." Well, now you do! Everyone is creative. All we need to do is find what brings us personal joy and just do it. Don't be an overachiever with this theory. Jot down some things that you have wanted to do and one by one try them, if only for a brief window during your day.

You may be working from home, alone or with a significant other. You may have children of all ages running around. Everyone will be different. Find what works for you. 

First things first. There are some things that I highly suggest we don't do. I have this list on a post-it note on my desk. It is for my own sanity:

  • Limit my news intake
  • No reason to hoard grocery items (What is the deal with toilet paper?)
  • As the British saying goes, "Keep calm and carry on." I just tell myself to avoid over-thinking and not to panic. Sitting around saying, "Woe is me," is not going to change a thing.
  • Continue to eat healthy and avoid eating when I really am not hungry.
Instead I have found numerous articles on how to fuel my own creativity. It actually works on making me more productive and motivated in other ways.

Some things that I was already trying and experimenting with I have shared in my blog before. My last blog had some pictures of some of the new recipes that my husband and I have tried out together. We have the time now to research new recipes on line, then share them with each other and plan our meals for a few days at a time to be sure to use the perishable ingredients. This means using Alexa to make the grocery list for our weekly Kroger pick-up.

A locally owned book store, Novel, has extended invitations out for Zoom meetings with authors. Readers can sign up and sit in to hear the author of a best seller talk about their book, their writing style, their motivation and will even answer questions that the viewers can put in the question box on the screen. It has definitely added to my 'to read' list. Everyone is in their own home. I am loving spending some extra time buried in a book. 

Along the same subject are some motivational webinars. Oprah just had a 4 week Zoom session sharing her wisdom and what she 'knows for sure.' So did Nataly Kogan, who wrote the book Happier Now. She was a traveling motivational speaker for companies until this pandemic hit. Then when the quarantine hit, she started a weekly sign up webinar on Zoom. She continues to inspire not only me but thousands of others. She has other means of reaching out to people through her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She even is the person who turned me around to finally getting back into my painting again.

Locally and nationally, musicians are turning to live performances in their own studios or homes to perform for their audience. That has been very entertaining for us, especially when it is someone that we know and have gone to see live and in person.

All of the above are free, however, there are ways to sign up for some on-line courses for fees and credits. It is a time for me to revisit my priorities. I was so close to finishing my book, at least to the point of getting it to an editor. When the world changed, it became hard for me to focus on putting the final twist to my novel. This is now at the top of my priority list to write a little each day. Somehow, I have managed to continue with my weekly blog, also my daily journal writing. Two different kinds of writing. A novel must be sequential and to know, especially at the end, how I am going to pull it all together. This takes focus.

Practicing gratitude has always been on my plate. Even having my gratitude jar, where I write a specific thing that I am grateful for each day. Spending time on FaceTime with loved ones help. Looking over some arts and crafts might be a good alternative and I have even purchased a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle to get involved with when the mood strikes me. At night, my husband and I like to search out movies and suggested TV series on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney. 

The only things that I have not taken advantage of is following my Tai Chi DVD, working on increasing my time on our recumbent bike and moving my skills along with a second language on my Rosetta Stone. I may have to go back and review my Spanish before I can move forward. That is ok. The big picture for me is to not overwhelm myself with too much at one time. Making out a little to do list each day and feeling good when it gets done. More importantly, feeling ok with myself if I don't. Move on. Our emotional health is not a bonus. It is a non-negotiable for being the best we can be. 

So for now, I follow the advice of the medical experts nationally, Dr. Fauci and locally here in Memphis. 

Mask up and social distancing and washing hands and limit outings, especially inside and more than 10 people. 

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