This has been a rough year, so rough in fact that I have seen numerous t-shirts that have "2020" painted on a dumpster fire. Sometimes it's more cathartic to have a little laugh about misery than to dive in and burrow down, but the truth is this has been an extremely rough year for everyone and doubly so for those struggling with anxiety and depression.
I'm a people person, through and through. I love to travel and have adventures, I love visiting friends. I go stir crazy when I'm cooped up for too long. And I've been very fortunate thus far to have a job outside my home that I can go to and keep getting paid (I'm deeply thankful for this reprieve). But, this year, I've missed Comicon and PowWow get together with my WGB girls, a trip to Moab that I was so craving, and Sunday night card games with an older couple we've played with for years.
I've watched the news unfold with so much pain, suffering, violence, unrest, and division. I've seen families and friendships torn apart. I've listened as my anxiety tells me that there's no point anyway because it's all going to shit just like it said it would. And some days it just doesn't feel like there's an end in sight. And I'm here today to tell you that it's ok, to not be ok. Feeling scared, or angry, or frustrated, or out of control, or all these things at once is perfectly normal and we are going to be ok. Because, here's the thing, no matter what happens, life is only lived one day at a time. One second, one minute, one hour at a time.
Anxiety lives in the past or the future not the present. It pulls up all the worst memories of what has happened or what might happen and makes it very hard to focus on what is right now. Be kind to yourself, always. Know that it is normal and ok to let yourself feel and process all the emotions you are having, good and bad. Focus your energy on today, and what you can do right now. If you are able and have need, I highly recommend talking to a therapist. Not enough people realize just how important it is to have a mental health professional in their corner.
Be mindful: color, do arts and crafts, meditate, practice yoga. Find something that gets you out of your head and draws your focus away from the things you can't control. Do things that make you happy and don't worry about people's opinions. Use the good china for no reason on a Tuesday afternoon. Wear your formal dress while watching Netflix. Sculpt with clay even if you have no idea what your doing. There's so much uncertainty in the world. Life is too short to worry about matching socks and getting everything right on the first try. Let yourself be, let yourself feel, let yourself live in the moment.
And remember, it's ok to not be ok right now. Take a deep breath, hug your cat, call your therapist, and never stop doing the things that make you happy, because this is not the end.
Carrying a load of bricks on my back,
so far, so long.
Everything in me aches,
tired, sore, very nearly broken.
No matter how many times I readjust,
can't get comfortable, no relief
from the wary feeling, the pain
of carrying so much weight.
One for mothers, one for fathers,
one for each mistake, each regret,
each heartache, each unmet need.
Bricks, and bricks, and bricks
Until I fall to my knees and stare at the sky,
The sun so warming on my face.
Has the sky always been so beautiful,
Slip one arm free of the satchel,
then the other.
A thud, and then relief.
Finally stretching my unencumbered body,
I'm taking a moment to get out some thoughts before I turn off the damn computer. If it sounds like I'm a bity edgy, that's because I am. It's been a rough year for all of us and the last week has been immensely stressful, but you know what, it's time to stop and smell the roses. I know, that's a cliché, but it's just so true. How many of you have been glued to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your television for what seems like every waking moment of your day? (I'm raising my hand very enthusiastically over here.)
There's plenty of brain science out there to suggest that our over dependence on technology and social media isn't doing anything good for our neurons. Does this mean that we should all burn our phones in a bon fire, strip off our clothes, and go be one with nature? No. I mean, not unless that's your thing (then by all means let your flag fly). It means that we need to consciously set aside time without tech. A digital detox (such a buzz word these days). But, seriously. Set aside time every single day that is a 0 tech zone. No phone, no tablet, no laptop, no television. Just you and the sweet smell of possibility.
I know that this often ends up being very difficult for me. What if I miss something funny or important? What will I do to entertain myself? How will I live? (ok, now I'm just being dramatic.) But really, we really need to take time to let our brains rest from the constant barrage of information and stimulation. Color, sculpt with clay, read a book, do some gardening, give yourself a pedicure, gasp and egads, clean the house. Whatever it is, give yourself time away from your devices. To listen and observe the world around you, to feel your feelings.
Today, I'm forcing myself to go no tech until at least noon (after I publish this blog of course). And, to be truthful, I'm probably going to have to put this laptop and my phone in a drawer because if I can see them, the temptation is just too great. The internet and social media can be used for a great amount of good, but they can also become a distraction and an escape from all the things we really should be doing or dealing with. So, take a deep breath, put your phone in the drawer, and go rediscover the joy of being alive (or just the restoration of a little peace and quiet).
Creating my own sunshine 🌞