Monday I arrived home from a week in the country. It’s great to be home in my familiar surroundings, working from my office. And, now that I’m home, I happily go to my closet for my clothes rather than reaching into a suitcase. The pastoral setting on vacation was restorative. Yet the familiarity of our apartment and the city is comforting in its own way.
Ever since we began to feel the impact of the Coronavirus by social distancing, public spaces closing, or our everyday lives being turned upside down, we’ve had to confront so many losses, and cull our resilience to get through our days. While we used to have so much to look forward to on our time off, we’ve hunkered down, finding small pleasures during these stressful times. Our vacations are altered, while our time at home is unique to this unprecedented year.
We found a reprieve by going away for a week. But the true challenge is finding pleasure in the here and now. One thing I do is make my own frappuccino at home. My coffee goes in the blender with ice, stevia and almond milk. It’s easy, and it cools down the summer mornings. Though it’s a simple pleasure, I know I can start my day having given myself this small treat. Then throughout the day I stretch, breath, go for walks when on a break. Today I went to the park for a short run. I do what I can. We all do.
But what happens we’re feeling vulnerable? We may not have an effortless way to comfort ourselves. Sometimes we are left bereft of stamina, of internal reserves. Maybe we’re having difficulty sleeping. Or, we’re too foggy-brained to attend to daily activities. Whatever makes us vulnerable can temporarily rob us of access to our inner resources. In those moments even having patience is a stretch.
The idea that “this too shall pass” can be comforting. But we also feel the frustration of not knowing when this will end. So, we lurch forward on this crooked road. We endure the troubling times and embrace the small wins. We drink homemade frozen lattes, and double down on meditation. We soothe ourselves when we can. And, we comfort our friends and family, because we all need support now. Because, after all, we’re living through a pandemic.
- Send a love letter via email to yourself. For example: “Dear Janet, You are loved.” Or, “I matter.” It’s as simple as that. Of course, it can be more like a diary or journal entry. It’s your email, you decide.
- Take a mindfulness walk. It can be 5 to 10 minutes. Simply walk feeling your body move indoors or out.
- Make a very small domestic change. It can be throwing out a kitchen tool that no longer serves you. Or it could be dusting the top of the picture frames. It’s just something easy that is outside your usual routine.
- Do one thing fully focused, no distractions. We are so used to multi-tasking without thinking. Instead: Try eating a snack, sitting down, conscious of the flavors and the sensation of chewing and swallowing. No TV on, or phone in your hand. Or, just focus on a phone call, listening without doing anything else.
- Save. If you feel that you’re stuck, see if there is a way to crack a window on saving. Find one thing that is doable, then do it. For instance, if there is something you want, but the money just isn’t there, start by saving some change, or a dollar at a time. It may take some time, but you get to create a way to obtain something you want.