Tag Archives: creativity

Being alone in a coronavirus world

All day, every day with the kids. Geeesh! This is tough. I love ’em. I really do. But I need to be alone. And not going-for-a-walk alone or going-for-a-drive alone. I need to be in my house alone. I don’t know why. I’ve been thinking about it all week. My mother has often expressed the same need and I’ve understood.

Quick updates on our learn-at-home experiment and get-outside experiment

Learn at home is going better this week. Both kids have settled into a morning school routine, school work is being done and I’m supporting in a minimal manner because they seem to have gotten the hang of it.

Neither kid is particularly happy about all this computer work and would rather be doing hands-on classwork in real life with their project mates in a classroom setting, but their computer skills have multiplied seemingly overnight. And I’m seeing increased confidence coming out of that.

Getting outside has been a bigger challenge. I haven’t been doing it. Full stop.

Being alone

Back to the being alone thing. I’ve let my kids spend too much time in their bedrooms, by themselves this past week just because I want at least the main floor of the house to myself. I’m feeling guilty about every minute that I don’t interact with them. (Although, I’m pretty sure they’re craving alone time, too, and are happy not to have me around every afternoon.)

Sleep deprivation, chronic pain and various other ailments continue to plague me, although I’ve seen some improvement (probably because I’ve been alone and could focus on me instead of everyone else).

Maybe I’ll go for a walk this afternoon and invite the kids to come with me. It would do us some good to get outside and spend time together. It would also probably alleviate my feelings of being responsible for everyone’s feelings.

Or maybe I’ll stay inside and take up drawing as a hobby.

How are you coping this week?

Getting a grip in times of uncertainty

I’ve been writing in my head a lot lately. Staying away from the keyboard except to do paid work. And it’s wearing on me.

Stressing and worrying about the current COVID-19 situation, anxiety ridden about whether enough people are taking it seriously enough, fretting about emergency preparedness in case it gets real bad real quick…this is what’s consuming me.

My employer is taking it seriously; those of us who can have been directed to work from home indefinitely. I feel for those who can’t. More should be done for them.

In the last few days, I’ve experienced support, paranoia, kindness, anger, the whole gamut of human emotion and reaction. It has been scary, but it has re-affirmed some things for me.

  1. We can only do what we can do. If you suffer from anxiety, like I do, and you have ways of dealing with it under normal circumstances, don’t abandon your methods just because circumstances have ramped up. We can’t necessarily change what’s going on around us, but we can keep taking care of ourselves. Keep doing what you do to manage your anxiety. Here’s a list of some things I do: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/treatments-for-anxiety/anxiety-management-strategies. Also, I’m going to start doing this today: Ten Percent Happier Live and maybe this, too, if I can fit it in: The Consciousness Explorers Club Sitting with Pandemic Panic.
  2. Let creativity soothe you. When I’m feeling anxious and overwhelmed with what’s going on in the world, I feel better if I write about it. Sometimes that’s here on the blog, sometimes that’s in my journal, sometimes it’s on a random piece of blank paper or even in my head. When I don’t write, the anxiety builds up in my head until the floodgates break and I go a bit crazy with panic. I also paint, craft, crochet, doodle, bake, cook, etc., anything that forces me to think about the task at hand instead of the scary world for a little bit.
  3. Find someone else to help. If I’m having a hard time helping myself and I can’t get out of my own way, I take a deep breath and look around for someone else who may be suffering more, then I offer to help them. This often puts things into perspective, but it also drives home the point that human connection in these times (though not really close human connection, because coronavirus) is important, and helping each other is important. And when I finish helping, I feel a little less alone and worried about bad things.

I’m using this pandemic panic feeling to exercise my creativity and get the anxiety out of my head and onto a screen because, of everything I do, that’s the thing that helps the most. I’m going to beat back the anxiety with creativity.

What are you doing?

The bully in your head

When you’re not beating yourself up, you do better.

You’d never say to a friend, “Geez, you suck at this getting-your-life-together thing. You should probably just give up and accept that you’ll never amount to anything.” So why would you say that to yourself—repeatedly. Don’t you deserve to be treated the same way that you would treat your friends?

We all know that If we treat our friends like that, we won’t have friends for very long. And I get that we can’t get away from ourselves or breakup with ourselves the way that a friend can walk away, so we can never be free of ourselves, but maybe it’s time to be nice to yourself and see what comes of it.

Advice I give often to my kids is that the bully in class is likely bullied at home or somewhere outside of school and she is hurting, so she takes it out on others. That voice in your head? That’s a bully. And that bully is hurting because you’re not being nice to her and neither is anyone else. You’ve spent your life internalizing all those negative comments and voices and it has turned into a voice of its own, berating you for everything you don’t get right or every time you’re not quite as good as the next person doing the same thing as you.

But no one is doing the same thing as you. You are doing whatever it is in your unique way. It’s your voice, your art, your poetry, your ideas even if these things have been done before. You have your own unique take on them. And the world only gets to enjoy your take if you release your work to the world. Otherwise, we’re all left with a little bit less because you listened to your inner bully.

Give that voice a name. Heck, create a whole persona for that voice. Maybe she’s Snickering Sally or Tormenting Tom. Picture your voice as a tiny person in your head, holding you back.

When you work or create or put your heart into something and that tiny person speaks up, tells you your work isn’t good enough, you’re not good enough, tell them that you are good enough and that you love them even though they are mean to you and that you understand how hurt they are and that what you are doing with your creativity is trying to help them heal. And then ask them kindly to go away and give you some time to create in peace. Then pat yourself on the back for standing up for yourself.

You’re worth it. And so is your work.