Like everyone else, I’m home right now as we try to get a handle on slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. If you didn’t already know, I work in schools as psychologist. Last Thursday we got the message: Don’t come in tomorrow, or next week. In fact, don’t come back until after spring break on March 30th.
School is closed.
I can’t tell you how often during this school year I’ve wished for extra time off to finish my current book (that is due to my publisher this spring). But I can honestly say, I didn’t wish it like this. In my mind, the extra time off to focus on my book was more a fantasy. Fun to dream about but in no way a reality to be had. Never, not once, did pandemic circumstances play a role.
And yet, here we are.
So now, a few days into staying home as much as possible, I’m trying to find a new routine that is both pragmatic and, let’s face it, fear reducing. Because, like many people, between checking the news, facebook, and twitter (BTW, stay off this platform as much as possible) I have found it incredibly hard to focus on much other than a rising tide of worry.
And worry, I have learned, is the antithesis to creativity. Yesterday I realized I needed to get a grip otherwise the next few weeks would float by on a sea of cortisol induced paralysis.
So here is what I did–and it worked:
- I woke up and did not (DID NOT) check the news, my email, or social media first thing
- I went downstairs, made a pot of tea, and drank my first cup while sitting in my backyard with my dogs
- With a second cup of tea, I went into my office, lit a candle, and meditated for fifteen minutes
- I folded some laundry that has been sitting in my bedroom for days
- I spent five minutes (5 minutes!) quickly checking for any recent Colorado coronavirus updates and need-to-knows
- I took my laptop to the couch in our loft area and decided this was the area I would be writing in today (moving to a different location seemed to help me focus on that project and avoid obsessively checking social media and/or the news
- Over the course of the day, I managed to write 1800 words. Which, let me tell you, felt like a miracle.
I’m making an active effort to keep my emotions in the hopefulness-optimism-positive expectations range. I don’t like our current circumstances any more than the next person, but I’ll keep trying my best to focus on what I can control right now and the belief that, when we all get on board with doing our part of staying away from each other to “flatten the curve”, in a couple months we’ll be able to get back to some normalcy.
So here’s my current plan: stay healthy, stay calm, stay sane, stay productive; and try to avoid any negative thought spirals.