These are the days. The days of homeschooling + working from home. The days of non-stop streaming content and connection ONLY happening online or at a safe distance of 6-feet.
The days of handling our emotions day by day, hour by hour - allowing the anxiety, fear, peace, joy, love to wash over in somewhat equal parts as we navigate a daily routine that is nothing near routine.
I, for one, am finding some parts that bring me peace + joy. The extra time for art + reading, dance parties + cuddles for example. As well as plenty to stress about. The obvious_ the virus, our community, the economy and a future that we can’t quite predict. And if I’m doing all I can to support my community, my daughter (as both a mom and a tutor) and if I remember what adjective + predicates + line plots are (spoiler alert_ I don’t.)
In an effort to control what I can control in this situation, which is mostly my thoughts, my actions and what I’m choosing to focus on, I wanted to share a few things bringing me JOY, PATIENCE and CREATIVITY into my days.
Meditate. I have come back to my meditation habit regularly through this time. For me, there is nothing as calming as starting each day with a few minutes of silent or guided meditation. This brief pause sets the tone for how I approach my whole day and instills a sense of calm + hope that I can call upon as needed. My current favorite is a six-minute morning meditation for positivity from Gabby Bernstein. Short, uplifting and a definite mood-booster in these uncertain times, I love her approach in this recording. Others I’ve tried and loved are the Headspace app + most anything by Tara Brach. If you’re new to meditation, I definitely recommend starting with guided meditation, having a coach to walk you through the steps + method will help to keep your brain focused and quiet in a way that silence doesn’t, at least for me.
Make some art. With so many artists, creatives + classes popping up everywhere, there’s literally NO excuse to not be making some art. This newish site is supporting artists by profiling their process and providing therapeutic art videos you can follow along with. A favorite watercolor painter of mine is hosting daily lunch club painting, Monday - Friday that has had some great guest artists - and it’s just FUN to be painting with other people at the same time…even if you’re not physically together. Grab some paints, crayons, markers - whatever you have on hand, and get to making!
Dance it out. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve found my body needs a lot of movement these days. And dancing seems to give both my daughter and I a brain + movement break that relieves some of the stress in our days. We love the pre-made playlists on Spotify, especially this and this one.
Cook a new dish. As a collector of cookbooks, I’m loving this time to catch up on some of my latest purchases and try a few new dishes from them. Cook Beautiful has some amazing dishes that I’ve been testing to get ready for my next dinner party (a girl can dream!) The Defined Dish is giving me new ideas for weeknight meals for S. and I. And with all the cooking we’re all doing these days - we could all use some quick + easy help.
Take a class. There are so many wonderful options for online learning these days! From free, to paid, from amateur to professional - there’s literally something for everyone! YouTube is an abundance of wealth for learning most anything, simply search for what you’re passionate about and start watching. I love both Skillshare (two months free, here) and Creative Bug for trying my hand at new techniques or skills. Both have loads of options for art, music, writing, branding, coding - the possibilities are endless. Another recent obsession of mine is MasterClass. A bit pricer than the first two listed, I love this platform for the access it gives you to design + creative greats, like Annie Leibowitz, Anna Wintor and Frank Gehry. This Kelly Wearstler class is on my list next.
Read a book. I have a problem with books. Stacks and stacks line my bookshelves, nightstand and tables, in various phases of completion. With all of this new found downtime and as a forced break from the news, I’m slowly working my way through my most recent additions to my stack. Ninth Street Women is a wonderful read about the stories of some of my favorite female artists. Told in context of the art, cultural and political backdrop of the world in mid-century America, I’m loving pouring through this nightly! Next up, Just Kids and The Return of Love. Both have been sitting on my nightstand for way too long and I’m so excited to dive in.
Write a letter. We’ve been painting postcards and sending snail mail to friends and loved ones. Something about putting pen to paper feels more connected + meaningful than a text or email
Start a new show. Or a movie. I’m not usually one to veg out in front of the TV. But these days, it seems something that both S. and I need on the regular. A happy distraction to the news. Something that forces us to just sit, be, sometimes cuddle.
Journal. I’ve been a fan of journaling for years now…and am using it most days to manage my stress, and focus on what I’m grateful for. For me, I jot down a quick page or two in the morning post-meditation to clear my head. Later in the evening, I’ll end my day with a few things I’m grateful for, specific things, people or thoughts to keep me seeing the positive in each day. If you’re new to journaling, this post by my friend Kate is a must-read.
Do nothing and celebrate that. Yes. That’s right. Right now, it’s okay if ALL YOU DID TODAY WAS BREATH. We’re all adjusting to something big. Something different and unknown. Our days are turned upside down, we miss our people and we’re spread beyond belief trying to work, teach, self-care, clean, cook and stay healthy. And my friends, that’s a lot of SHIT to handle. So embrace the times when you need to nap, rest, cry and just do nothing.
Whatever you’re doing during this time, remember_ there are no rules as to how this should look. Whatever you’re doing? It’s all okay. And welcome. And healthy.
We got this. Together.