I spent a good part of yesterday searching online for the latest COVID-19 stats. I searched maps, read up on viral transmissions, surfed cruise lines, even laughed at a few memes. Specifically, I was trying to figure out the correlation between stocking up on 3-ply and the spread of a pandemic. Here’s what I came up with: we are in survival mode. So – how do we find our bliss among this level of anxiety? The short answer: bliss might be ambitious under the circumstances, but we can strive for maintaining equilibrium. Here are a few tips:
Anticipate and Prepare
Preparation might mean stocking up on toothpaste and dried pasta, but it also means knowing in the back of your mind that things might change quickly. As my sister told me this morning, we have to expect disruption in our daily routines. We might still be disappointed when trips and other social gatherings are cancelled, but at least we are expecting it and that will make it sting less.
Ask for Help
If you find yourself washing your hands until your skin cracks, or lysoling the area under your desk that hasn’t been touched since 2013, you may want to lean on your loved ones for a little moral support. You may need practical assistance (like recipes for canned beans) but you also might need a little TLC. Be honest. Tell your co-workers they have to stop you from obsessive googling. Tell your kids they may need to be patient while you change up your grocery schedule. We can cope with these disruptions if we lend each other some extra support.
I spend a lot of time at my keyboard typing, and sometimes I just want to have fun with my nails. This week, I had them painted red with pink polka dots, and while they kind of remind me of a Strawberry Shortcake and Minnie Mouse collab, I can’t help but smile when I see them. Think about a small indulgence that could put a smile on your face. Is it a flavored creamer for your coffee? A new skein of yarn? Maybe you need some extra couch time – grab it. Wear your favourite jammies. Or wear the new outfit you’ve been saving for a special occasion. This is the moment to be kind to yourself, in whatever way that feels right to you.
I signed up for a new writing course starting later this week and I wanted to read the book written by the teacher before the workshop begins. And I started, I really did. The book is good – but it’s dense, colorful and filled with facts. That’s not where my brain is right now. I downloaded a cheesy novel and ahhhh, instantly I feel better. Make sure that your reading material matches your current mental state. Do you need distraction? Try an engrossing whodunit. Is your concentration limited? Maybe this is a short story/essay collection moment. I will read the teacher’s oeuvre, I promise. But it doesn’t have to happen this week.
A few weeks ago, I saw an elderly couple coming out of the grocery store at about 3pm holding hands. I watched them walk to their car, and I started to cry. Normal, I know. Here’s my defense: That’s all I really want from life, I told my husband later, to grow old together and enjoy the simple pleasures. Let’s apply that to this current Corona virus panic. It might be too ambitious to strive for bliss, but if you look for ways to treat yourself well and be kind to others, you may be able to stave off feelings of impending doom. And for now, that’s bliss.