It’s been a rough year, huh? Pandemics, climate disasters including fires, all the hurricanes (like for real, ALL of them), and all sorts of extra drama in the national sphere particularly here in the States, where I live.
So what do we do about it?
Focus on what we can control. We can’t change things at the national level all by ourselves. We can join up with like-minded folx and make calls to our representatives, influence others, even write op-eds. Beyond that, we need to make peace with what we can’t change. Being aware of when we’re “doomscrolling” is a critical life skill. I’ve watched many of my friends, and I’ve done it myself, just scrolling and scrolling and posting the equivalent of, “Can you believe this??” It doesn’t matter what the “this” is. We’re letting it take up space in our heads and disturb our peace of mind.
Learn – and practice – mindfulness. There are several apps available that teach meditation. My favorite is Calm App, and they have free offerings so you can check it out. There are some great meditation courses through The Great Courses Plus, which is a paid subscription. But did you know that you can get access to it through your library’s online offerings? In my county, that’s Kanopy; I’ve seen it in other libraries through other services.
Speaking of, if you haven’t checked out your library’s online offerings, you owe it to yourself to do. You can get ebooks, stream movies and popular television shows, read magazines, and even read newspapers. If you’re not sure how to do it, your local librarian will be happy to help hook you up.
Practice good self care. I keep seeing posts about people saying, “Well, I’m going to eat all the donuts,” or whatever. We know better. Dear Reader, don’t do it. It’s not a good enough excuse. We’re poisoning ourselves with bad food and bad sodas. And we know when we’re doing it. We wouldn’t let our children eat like this, if we have kids at home, so why are we doing it to our own bodies? Eat some veggies, and make yourself good food that will help your brain, build your resilience, and help your immunity – which is a key skill particularly during a pandemic.
Get mental health services. Many states now offer these without charge. Check with your insurance company or, if you’re uninsured, check with your state or county’s health department. Psychology Today has a good therapist finder, if you don’t have someone already. Don’t underestimate the toll that events like what we’re facing have on our mental health. This is a purple squirrel event, and we need to safeguard our mental health. And this includes doomscrolling – don’t feed your brain junk food.
Practice your crafts or art. Don’t do it to “be good.” Do it to have fun. We wouldn’t blame a three-year-old for making a wonky piece of art; let’s extend the same degree of understanding and compassion to ourselves. Studies have shown that practicing a hobby has many benefits, including improved mental health.
Reach out to your friends and family. Even if it’s just a Facebook message, reach out and communicate. Even just saying, “Hey, I’m feeling lonely, wanted to say hi,” works. We’re all in the same storm together, even if we’re not in the same boat. Don’t be precious about it. We owe it to ourselves and our friends to be real.
Any other ideas? I’d love to hear in the comments.
And stay well, Dear Reader. ~hugs~
About the Author
A. Catherine Noon is a bestselling author, writing instructor, and creative entrepreneur based in Bellevue, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not writing, she’s weaving; and when she’s not weaving, she’s knitting. And when none of that happens, she likes to blog.