Friday, March 27, 2020

Things that are getting me through

A few years ago in February I found myself feeling suddenly exposed and vulnerable after MFD decided to run for office. The path chosen by someone else, the power out of my hands, financial ruin a definite possibility, the fear of losing everything, people actively working to punch holes in your, I fucking raged and railed. It was my very own winter of discontent.

In an attempt to feel like myself, I tried a bunch of my standard self care things and everything fucking failed. I could not get out of my own head and what was constantly running in my head was the problem. Yes, it was caused by outside events, but inside my head was what was ruining every day for me. Eventually I got out of my own way and listened to my gut. We intrinsically know what is soothing when we need soothing but think we need to come to some intellectual conclusion on what that is. No. The only trick is to repeat what feels right and abandon what doesn't - immediately. Your body knows immediately what quells panic - it doesn't need to be told, it just feels. Sometimes we don't do things that make us feel better because we think we must be wrong, no way that could make us feel better...listen to your gut. If it's not harming you, have at it. Listening to my gut and going with my body's reaction is why meditation and yoga appear on a lot of lists but not on mine - they make my mind race, and continue racing.

Since the entire world is now in a distinctly uncomfortable place on a path that they did not choose, the power out of their hands, financial ruin a definite possibility (for Americans at least, other countries are going a long way to ensure that doesn't happen), and outside forces who won't stay the fuck home for non-essential activities actively working to punch holes in everyone's life, I'm back to focusing on what gets me through the day and thought I'd share here. A few of my soothing techniques are out - hugging and going to the shore/insert your happy place here because the shore and probably your happy place are closed right now like everything else). What's left?

Knowing my problems are the least right now. I have a BFF healthcare worker on the front line without PPE - I'm sure most of you do. This is hard for all of us, but it is 100% harder for some. It’s easier to stay home, only interact with your household, and act right when you know not doing so puts healthcare workers under even more stress and danger and they have no more to give at this time. 

Signs of spring. Life feels stopped but the earth continues. It reinforces that we will too.

The only routine is a new routine every day. This is 100% a gut over head thing. In normal times, I live daily by what needs to be done followed by what wants to be done. Now I let my mood dictate what I do when, not some order I come up with in my head. If I feel the need to drop everything and take a walk, that's what I do. For some reason varying my schedule makes me feel better. Some mornings I start working at 6, some at 10. Sometimes I start at 8:30 like normal but I take a three hour break in the middle of the day and work later at night. Luckily my job allows for flex time all the time.

Shift and variance. My focus is lacking overall. I move from thing to thing much more than I would normally. I allow for that as much as I can in order to follow mood over routine.

Doing laundry. Constantly. Towels mostly. Small loads of clothes. Putting it away is not soothing or a focus lol. Some things do not change. 

No more press conferences. I get the gist from other places - specifically the daily update here in Philly - quick in and out. I can’t hear endless talking and the POTUS gives me fits and rage.

Music. What it is changes based on mood but it drowns everything out especially my own brain and ends up relaxing me before I even realize it.

Control what I can control. I cannot control assholes or a virus. I can control the organization of my pantry. I can write obsessively on a whiteboard and become the Whiteboard Czar and love it even if it means nothing.

Dogs. Always.

Sleeping where I fall asleep. That's been on the couch in the basement or living room some nights and I'm not fighting myself on it like I normally would. Rest is more important than a standard night routine.

Things I’ve already seen. My 80s movies are at the top of this list, but some old shows are doing their part too. I’ve watched Tiger King but am unsure about my ability to focus through a new show or movie at this time.

Reading, but different. I am reading at a much slower pace and cannot get into certain books. I'm giving myself a wide berth here.

Walking. A bittersweet throwback from campaign life. Man, Bruce and I walked so many fucking miles that year. Not for fitness or anything - just to walk off what's in my mind or making me jumpy and ill at ease. I'm back at it now.

Walk at Home with Leslie and friends doing fitness. I like to move some but not much, I'm not an exercise person and never have been. The purpose of this is the movement, not distraction, so I don't want anything complicated. I love Walk at Home with Leslie and PinkyFit is putting some stuff out there. I subscribe to both on YouTube and throw them up on the TV.

Fresh air. I need to be outside daily regardless of weather. This is my life line most days.

Flowers. We've made one big produce run so far and flowers are a part of any grocery store delivery/run.
Dark humor. Always. If you are posting this shit, I love you. Thanks to Kathy for sending me The Breakfast Club one.
Candles. Burning through them like wildfire to zen my shit up.

Connecting with people. My people were my lifeline during campaign time - then, I tightened my circle way the fuck up and let no one in. They are of course still my lifeline now. Always. But before this situation, I only accepted FaceTime calls from my brother to see my niece and nephew. Now in addition to my circle I'm like hey! we haven't spoken since kindergarten? FaceTime me and my three chins. Now accepting all calls. What is this life.

Thinking about other people. Making phone calls demanding PPE for healthcare workers. Making phone calls to check in on seniors. Sharing or getting supplies for neighbors or family who are not well.

Nutrition and cooking. Eating as much produce as possible. Upping my vitamin C. And just plain old eating and cooking. Snacks too - have I mentioned I now have a candy closet? - but mostly eating for wellness and making sure my vitamins aren't missed.

House projects. Dining room progress.
Learning something new. I've been taking some online free classes.

Peppermint tea. Every day. Sometimes more than once. Times may vary.

Letting myself relax and be. This is heavy.

On Instagram I asked how people have been soothing themselves. If you're looking for something and none of mine rang your bell, hopefully one or five of these will:
  • Epic quantities of butter
  • The Food Network
  • Sharing what I'm cooking
  • Audiobooks while I work on menial WFH tasks
  • Lower news intake
  • Books!
  • Cooking!
  • Working out (yoga and cardio every day) and reading
  • Yoga with Adriene
  • Virtual happy hours. I don't drink, but it's fun as hell and I feel like I'm with friends so thumbs up
  • Zoloft
  • Starbursts
  • Talking on the phone or video calling with friends
  • Books, Scrabble on my iPhone, wine, and audiobooks
  • Wine
  • Sitting on the patio with the dogs and bird watching
  • I hate to admit this but...playing Sims 4
  • Animal Crossing
  • Morning workout routines
  • Tiger King
  • Brene Brown's new podcast is so good. Her voice is welcome on long dog walks. 
  • Walking, cooking, and listening to our sensible governor
  • Subversive/Star Wars and Harry Potter Cross Stitch
  • Baking has helped me a lot. And I'm learning to 1/2 or 1/3 batches so I'm not making too much
  • Just sitting outside when it's nice and listening to nature
  • Weed. Ariana Grande videos, looooong walks with my old dog, books about people I want to get to know better, and checking in with you and your mom every day
  • Doing the bunny hop around my house
The only way through is through, friends. It doesn't have to be pretty but it has to be done.

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