During a pandemic and self-quarantining, I’ll tell you what’s easy: stress-eating, stress-drinking, stress-stressing. Done. Done. And done. We all go into our own coping mechanisms. I’ve never seen so many people in my life post pictures of their newly baked bread.
The only reason I haven’t made any is because I couldn’t find regular flour on the shelves at the store. Oh, I’ve got all the other flours: coconut, tapioca, almond – I live in Los Angeles, for heaven’s sake. But I was looking for some good old fashioned 50’s style REAL flour. The kind Betty Friggin’ Crocker used. Nope. I guess everybody needed to hoard extra flour because the world was ending, and duh, flour?!
Fear not, I’ve still been carbing it up like a champ. I mean, might as well buy that mac ‘n cheese. Pizza. REAL pasta (Gasp)! Cuz life as we know it is gone, along with the flour.
During times like these, every day lessons are presented. Moments to sit in your space and take notice: How do I react when I can’t get or do what I want? How do I survive around so much chaos and unknown? How do I handle being cooped up for soooo long? Is my attitude about all of this making my life better or worse?
We don’t know what’s next. That can be super frightening. But if you really think about it – isn’t that everyday life even before this pandemic? Struggling with fears about the future is nothing new. This is a time to realize that everything HAS been and WILL be out of your control – BEFORE this pandemic, DURING, and AFTER (Yes, there will be an after.) If you really sit with this idea and let go of your need for answers and knowing, I mean REALLY sit with it – trust me, it starts to become comforting. Sure, not quite as comforting as fresh home-made bread, but pretty close.
In these times of doing nothing, there are some things you CAN do:
Search for ways to de-stress.
I finally got to be in a yoga class with my friend Michele who teaches in Maryland. She started teaching her class online – it’s donation based.
My friend Mary started leading her meditation classes live online as well, also donation based.
Oprah and Deepak Chopra occasionally offer a free 21-day meditation challenge and they just started one called Finding Hope in Uncertain Times. Love it.
I’ve been following transformation coach Jim Fortin’s podcast for some time, too. He is all about facing your fears and transforming yourself from the inside out. His message is:
Things always have been, are now, and will always be fine in life.
(Repeat that to yourself over and over until it sticks.)
Find time to socialize – online.
Skype, facetime, Zoom, etc. can all be your best friends right now. Set up a Wine Wednesday or Saturday Coffee meet-up with friends and family you miss. Connecting with people is so important right now. Check in on someone. Brighten their day. Maybe you finally have more time to do so. Reach out to someone you’ve been meaning to call for a year (I’m talking to you, Trina). And think about reaching out to those who live alone.
Foster or adopt a pup.
Meet Mika, my niece Cameron’s new addition. I know a few people fostering and/or adopting right now. This fills me with joy. Don’t forget the senior dogs, too. What a great time to bond with that lil’ guy or girl. If you can’t take on a dog right now, looking at puppy pictures doesn’t hurt either.
Take a class.
Ever dreamed of going to Yale? I think there’s still time to get in on Yale’s free happiness course – The Science of Well Being.
Want to learn a new craft? There are tons of websites that show you how, including this one for candle making: Candle Science. They’re still shipping supplies, too.
Whatever your interest, do some digging. I bet someone out there is offering a class of some sort – it may even be free right now.
Restaurants are struggling. Big time. Support your local favorites that are still open with take-out and keep them in business. Plus, give yourself a break from all the cooking. I’m nominating my friend Spencer as a local hero for keeping ALL the restaurants open with his tremendous support:
Nothing like sushi and a movie. Find out if your local sushi (or other food) spot is doing take-out. It’s day to day, but Sugarfish has been. (LA’s Sugarfish has vowed to retain all its 600 employees during the entirety of the pandemic. Support companies that you know are doing good.)
No time like the present to amp up your kindness. Everybody needs it right now.
Limit the news.
Get in. Get out. Keep informed. Don’t let it overload you.
Sit with yourself.
Acknowledge your feelings. Recognize which ones serve you best. Things are not so different than you think.
One of the most difficult things to do sometimes is nothing, but it’s also the best thing you can do. As my friend Cynthia reminded me, when you go inside yourself, you realize that nothing has changed. Let’s use this time to get to know ourselves. Get to know how resilient our souls are – and always will be.
Julie Slater, aka THE LOTUS FLOWER, looooves music – a rabid fan and musician. You may recognize her voice – she’s a voiceover artist, audiobook narrator, and podcast host (www.julieslater.com).
Julie has DJ’d on top stations: 88.5 FM and 100.3 the Sound in LA, and 92.3 K-Rock in NYC following Howard Stern. She’s also a news anchor on NPR station 89.3 KPCC in Pasadena.
Our lil’ lotus spends her time meditating, doing yoga, candle making, and cooking. She has a slight obsession with deep, dark cabernets & small batch whiskey. Namaste!