You’ve been wearing the same PJ’s for 3 days.
You ran out of your favorite snacks on Day 1 of quarantine.
And you’ve reached new depths of ridiculousness on Netflix.
Internally, you’re freaking out.
Externally, you’re masking what you feel.
In this post, I’ll share with you:
- How I relate to the anxiety and uncertainty most people feel right now
- The 5 life lessons that have helped me deal with this madness
- Why YOU – a creative – shouldn’t shut down
- An option for what you can do to be a light in the darkness
And if you would like to get started using art to both relieve your anxiety and help you get clear on your wellness goals, then check out this FREE printable – Healthy. Happy. Creative. A Contemplative Coloring Book.
I CAN RELATE
I have spent most of my life being anxious, depressed, and controlled by victim ego.
Right now, the outside world is very much a reflection of how I used to feel all the time.
For me, there were many reasons why I felt the way I did.
Some of those reasons were:
- a lack of awareness around how to deal with my naturally frenetic/manic/busy-little-bee energy
- a lack of healthy coping mechanisms + reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms
- a mind that had been hijacked by victim ego and victim ego’s stories
- AND a total lack of compassion for myself
So, how does this apply to our current times?
Because the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you’re exhibiting are universal reactions to fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and pain.
- feel uncertainty about how impactful Coronavirus will be on global health, the economy, and you’re family
- are writhing with circumstantial anxiety and stir-crazed energy
- are bingeing ALL the bingeable things
- are having thoughts that feed into a victim mentality
- and haven’t taken a moment to check-in with yourself and give yourself compassion
If so, then it might help to remember that folks have been learning how to cope with feelings like this for much longer than we have been facing a Coronavirus pandemic.
You’ve got this!
In terms of what you can do to cope, read on my friend.
THE 5 LIFE LESSONS THAT HAVE HELPED ME DEAL WITH THIS MADNESS
Lesson #1: Uncertainty
I am letting you in on a little secret – control is an illusion.
And the uncertainty you feel is largely due to a need for control.
That might be scary for you. So let me introduce you to a new thought…
Without control, there are an infinite number of possibilities.
The slate is being wiped clean, and you have an opportunity to come out of this with your priorities shifted to work for you.
Lesson #2: Go With The Flow
You have an opportunity to learn a big life lesson – go with the flow.
I know it’s overused, but it’s important.
How hard would things be for you right now, if you were going against the flow?
How hard would life be if you demanded certainty?
Global pandemic or not – this idea of certainty, this idea of control – does not serve you.
It hinders you.
I’m not saying that you should live your life with TOTAL ABANDON.
But I am saying that you should question your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Am I thinking, feeling, or doing [X], because I need certainty or control?
Lesson #3: Grounding Anxious Energy
All of this anxiety you feel, the stir-crazy feelings, need to go SOMEWHERE.
If you’re like me, anxious feelings left unchecked only turn into a big monster.
Let’s keep that monster small, by learning how to feel more grounded.
You can read more about that here.
Lesson #4: Healthy Coping Mechanisms + Breaking Unhealthy Habits
When it comes to healthy coping mechanisms, know this – you always have a choice.
Yeah, the unhealthy stuff feels good (mostly because it causes a temporary release of dopamine).
And the healthy coping mechanisms are hard at first (because your mind is entrenched in patterns).
So how do you stop the unhealthy habits, and what healthy coping mechanisms can you do instead?
To stop unhealthy habits, you need to introduce a “pattern interrupt”.
A pattern interrupt can be a behavior, thought, or anything that snaps you out of the internal pattern that is entrenched in your mind.
For instance, if your favorite new hangout spot is the snack section of the pantry, try switching something up.
Move the snacks, place healthier options in front of unhealthy snacks, leave yourself a note.
And when you encounter your pattern interrupt, take a step back, breathe, and ask yourself “Why am I doing this?”
Right now, it’s probably because you’re scared.
So instead of mindless eating, give yourself what you actually need.
Comfort yourself in a way that gives you a boost of dopamine.
Here are some ideas for what to do instead:
- Go outside, listen to the birds, and notice all of the new Spring and Summer flowers.
- Take a bubble bath.
- Give your pet a massage.
- Dance to your favorite music (especially music from your teen years).
- Start your garden (there are beneficial microbes in the dirt that help you feel happier).
- Try breathwork.
- Light candles.
- Put on your comfiest clothes.
- Invest time in creative pursuits, such as “Happy. Healthy. Creative. A Contemplative Coloring Book” (FREE DOWNLOAD).
Lesson #5: Stopping Victim Ego’s Rants
Our ego acts as a filter for our mind.
That is helpful sometimes, But it can lead us to victimhood.
If you struggle with victim mentality, know that your ego is ALWAYS filtering through your thoughts and trying to pack them away neatly into the little box labeled “My Victim Story”.
Yes, sometimes you are a victim (to viral bullies, circumstances, other people’s egos lashing out).
But after the initial assault and after processing those emotions, you then have a choice.
Do you remain a victim?
For instance, here are some of thoughts I have seen expressed online:
- I hate being stuck at home. I’m bored, and this isn’t fair.
- I was just getting my act together, and then this happened.
- I was finally ready to find love again, and now I can’t even socialize.
I’m not saying these thoughts are not fair or true.
But I am saying that getting STUCK in these stories isn’t going to help you feel better.
Instead, try working through those thoughts by:
WHY YOU – A CREATIVE – SHOULDN’T SHUT DOWN
In case you didn’t know, creatives are pretty influential.
Some of the first folks to start populating a small area and help it become a thriving city are creatives.
Some of the folks sending out important messages that mainstream society would not otherwise hear are creatives.
And what I have seen during this time, is creative folks showing up online to share whatever it is they have. Free concerts. Art classes. Etc.
Creatives have something to give the world.
Creatives have an opportunity to lead by example.
What an artist does with her feelings is magical.
The way a painter captures a mood and helps free people from their own inner turmoil is alchemical.
The way a sculpture can twist metal and show the world what writhing feels like is cathartic.
The world needs you right now. The world needs you to be a light in the darkness for them.
HOW YOU CAN BE A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
You can be a light in the darkness by:
- letting others see how you are transforming fear and uncertainty into something meaningful
- asking how you can be of service
- and showing up as your true self
But what that also means is that you MUST make sure you’re putting your mental, physical, and spiritual health first, so that you can show up for others.
So how am I doing that? How am I showing up and taking care of myself too?
I started a team in the Charity Miles app.
With the app, you can track your GPS miles and help charities at the same time.
So whether you’re walking, running, biking, hiking kayaking, gardening, chasing the little ones, working on the farm… etc… you can participate.
Starting April 1st, my miles will go to Feeding America.
They are a great organization as it is.
And now they are mobilizing to provide COVID-related relief efforts
If you want more info please go to bit.ly/mayapplerunners.