A. Catherine Noon here. Thank you so much to Delilah for inviting me back to her blog. I’m glad to be here.
And yet, we are living in such unprecedented times. I live in the state of Washington, five miles from the original epicenter of the COVID outbreak. Our governor just extended our stay-at-home orders until May 31.
And I have a cold.
Or something. It’s so easy, even in the best of times, to come up with dire predictions. I am, after all, a writer – a strong and vivid imagination is part of the job. My mind has been treating me to all sorts of scenarios about what my illness is, and none of them involve a cold. (My doctor thinks it’s an upper respiratory illness or seasonal allergies, and I’m doing what she tells me to do to get well.) But it’s lasting, what feels like forever.
Kind of like this pandemic.
But like many other kinds of prolonged dangers, the Great Pause can be seen as something to be abhorred, ignored, and fought; or as a great opportunity to learn resilience. I choose to see it as the latter.
Here are my guidelines for surviving the Great Pause. They are what I try to remind myself in times of stress – which, if I’m honest, is pretty much all the time right now. It doesn’t help anything that I have PTS and agoraphobia: now, going out really CAN cause me harm. So it’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole of fear and reactivity. In order to stay calm and carry on, this is what I’ve found helpful:
- Avoid the news. I focus on what my governor and our health department have to say as it’s relevant to me and my family and, beyond that, I try to ignore it.
- Make stuff. Anything. This may seem silly, but the simple act of making something, be it a dish for dinner or a craft, can help restore a sense of empowerment and control. We cannot control other people or a virus, but we CAN make something.
- Meditate. I use two resources for this: the Calm app and iRest Yoga Nidra. If these are things you’ve seen but haven’t yet tried, I urge you to check them out.
- Rest. Nap. Get a good night’s sleep. I know it’s tempting to stay up to all hours scrolling on social media. Don’t. Treat your brain like the sensitive and amazing instrument it is.
- Eat clean. We all know what that means for ourselves. So do it. Don’t be sloppy. Don’t let the awful fear win. Be strong, keep the faith, and eat well for your body.
If you would like to try the Calm app for free, I have five guest passes available. Please leave a comment below and let me know your email and I’ll be happy to send one.
Or, if you prefer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Calm App” in the subject line. This will go to the first five responses I receive; first come, first served, no purchase necessary.
And now, Dear Reader, I’d love to know: what techniques help keep you on an even keel during the Great Pause?
“My own experience has taught me this: if you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured it may never arrive.”
~ Maurice Chevalier
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