Wednesday, March 25, 2020

10 Ways I'm Staying Sane While Staying Safe

Conger Design via Pixabay
When my gray day hit on Monday, I had no idea how many other people were feeling the same way. While I was pretty sure I wasn't alone, it wasn't until I visited my social media accounts that I realized that the blues were appearing somewhat out of the blue for a lot of people.

As I mentioned, I'm not much of a pity party person, and since my blues are more blahs than a clinical concern, my go-to strategies are lists and distractions. Monday, I used distraction to great advantage; it has even led me to re-examine the materials I'll use for teaching one of my classes in the fall.

But shiny objects eventually grow dull and the best books come to an end. Since our secluded lifestyle seems to be an indefinite state of affairs, I thought I'd share some of my strategies for staying sane while staying safe.

Chase calm. I have stopped listening to news that is sensationalized, regardless of the source. The information itself is anxiety-provoking and I can cook up enough terrible scenarios in my head without help, thank you very much. I need a news source that's calm, cool, and collected.

Control the flow. These days, I choose to get my news either online, where I can control the source and flow of information or from local news sources that leave me feeling informed without feeling panicked at the same time. If panic begins to encroach, I need to step away. The news is everywhere and what I miss in one broadcast, I can catch in the next.

Step away from the computer. Now that my classes are fully online, an even larger chunk of my time is spent in front of the computer doing necessary tasks. My eyes and my back are feeling it, and it has an impact on my mood as well. I need to call to mind the advice to blink, change focus and get up and move -- and then do just that.

pexels via Pixabay

Balance solitude/quiet and socializing/noise. As an empty-nest mom used to having the house as my workspace between 8 and 5, having my family here has been an adjustment. I am very happy they are here and safe, but we've all had some adjusting to do. Each of us has claimed a work space, which helps us to be productive, and we aim for family dinners, but each of us also needs down time on our own terms.

Claim your space. Yes, I mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. Everyone in my house has a different work style, so shared spaces are a little too much togetherness. As a work in silence kind of girl, I have a low threshold for distractions like music. Even typical household noises can cause me to clench my teeth when I'm trying to focus on a challenging task.

Try something new. Companies are falling all over themselves offering classes, webinars, and all sorts of pursuits to keep us occupied (and claim us as customers) while we're self-isolating. Why not take them up on their offer? (Keep an eye on the fine print to make sure you know what you're signing up for). Or maybe there's been something on your wish list that you've never quite gotten to. What better time could there be to give it a try?

Let light in. I feel gray days now more than ever. When I was in and out at will, moving from one thing to the next outside my house as well as in it, rainy days and Mondays didn't always get me down but now, it's a different story. Something as simple as opening the blinds quite literally sheds a whole new light on things. I'm not an outdoor person but my husband and daughter need to get outside daily.

Jill Wellington via Pixabay

Read/watch/seek out things that uplift. I chose my reading very carefully on Monday because I knew I needed something that would lift my spirits. Though I've given in to the dark side a bit in my television selections, I definitely feel a difference after I do so, especially late at night when the shows' themes and airborne anxiety conspire to create disturbing dreams. Gray days are meant for comedy and light reading, at least in my opinion.

Get creative. This is one I'm preaching but need to practice. So much of my creative energy has been spent on turning face-to-face classes into online lessons and learning the tools to go along with them that my writing has more than taken a back seat. Currently, it's living in the trunk, tapping incessantly to get my attention, mollified only slightly by my blog posts. I decided last night I needed to make a list or chart or some kind of visual of all of my projects and post it so I could at least start by choosing a task that matches my energy level and available time. Whether it's poetry or painting, batik or baking, cross-stitch or crochet, make sure to carve out a little time and space for it.

End each day with joy and gratitude. For most of us, something happens every day to incite joy or gratitude. Focusing on the good can have far-reaching effects, shining a glimmer of sunlight into even dark days. Focusing on it (them) can help us to sleep better, too, and that affords a whole host of positive effects.

What are you doing to keep the blahs from sneaking in and taking up residence?

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