It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of The Rona. There have been some dark days behind us and, based on the disturbing rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, there are some dark days ahead. After having battled the pandemic for nearly 6 months here, and been under lockdown in some way, shape or form for 4 months, it’s easy to understand the fatigue this virus has brought upon us. However, while we may be done with COVID-19, it’s clearly not done with us. Consequently, we must find ways to stay safe, stay healthy and find some sense of normalcy in these abnormal times. Here are a few tips I’ve come up with that are helping me through these tough times.
Be Gentle With Yourself. It’s okay if you didn’t take the stimulus money and buy 10 LLC’s, or if you haven’t spent your downtime writing books, launching podcasts and researching the next unicorn investment opportunity. Depending on your job, home life and other things beyond your control, you may have very little idle time. As a small business owner, husband to a wife who’s been working from home since the pandemic began, and father to a toddler, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” I’ve actually had to work longer hours to get less work done because meals still need to be cooked, the house still needs to be clean and our son gave nary a f**k about our desire to make home a learning center during the early days of the lockdown while his daycare was closed. After we got over the initial shock of being failures as toddler educators, we pivoted, and with that pivot came this moment of clarity, “We’re all f**ked up, so let’s learn to cope the best we can and not ruin ourselves, and each other, in the process.” So what’s the moral of this story: Give yourself some grace during these unprecedented times and do the best you can, with what you have, and trust that it’s enough.
Take a Break. Nothing cures creative block like [redacted] or taking a break. I know most of us are locked down in some way, shape, or form, and depending on your living situation, finding a spot to call your own may be next to impossible. However, you need to find a time, a space, a moment to get away mentally, physically and emotionally from the dumpster fire outside our windows. That may be an early walk in the park to avoid other people. It may be a long drive to nowhere with the windows down and your favorite playlist to clear your head. It might be you, the couch and an intense session of Call of Duty. Whatever it is, in whatever form it may come, breaks are absolutely critical to our mental health. Take one, take several, it may literally save your life.
Do Something New. I’m not asking you to learn to code, cook gourmet cuisine, or learn a new language. To be clear, those are all options, but are not at all necessary. It can be something as simple as learning to cook a new dish, finding a new genre of books/movies to enjoy, or finding a new hobby. The joy that is coupled with finding and doing something new can be euphoric. Even if you never become a Michelin Chef, Nobel Laureate, or International Man/Woman of Mystery, finding something that interests, challenges and motivates you is enough.
I understand that times are hard, the rent is due and that even something as simple as knowing what day of the week it is, can be challenging (Is it Monday again?). I also understand that if we aren’t all getting it now, we’ll certainly need some help sorting this out mentally and emotionally when this is all over, which I don’t believe will be anytime soon. In the meantime, and in between time, it’s important that we take care of ourselves the best way we can.