A few days ago, a fellow Slicer invited us to a virtual self-care party. Leigh Anne Eck prompted us to share three self-care tips with our writing community.
The COVID-19 crisis hit just as our Spring Break was beginning. It affected our visit with our son that first weekend; we spent much of the time making sure he was stocked up on food and toilet paper, since he decided to stay the course in his apartment and work on his virtual classes there. The rest of the week was gray and gloomy, as was my mood; not depressed, per se, but unmotivated to complete even the most basic of spring break tasks I had set aside for myself. Since we are empty-nesting, I was the only person I had to entertain and keep busy, and I didn't do a very good job of it. I spent the days in silence, reading a bit here and there and playing a LOT of solitaire and mahjong games on the computer.
By Friday I had enough of this slump. I called a friend and talked for an hour. I loaded up the CD player with 70s music; Simon and Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Carole King, and John Denver worked their magic, and my mood began to lift.
Here are my three self-care practices I'm putting in place for the coming weeks away from school:
1) Music, and lots of it. I think I needed the silence that first week, an antidote to the noise of school from the week before and the noise from the media every night as we turn on the news. But I am used to background music in the library, so I will be raiding the tall stacks of CDs at home to play and sing along.
2) Planning. I didn't touch my planner during spring break. You would think this was a good thing, but it left me unmoored--which would be wonderful if I was by the beach, but not so great stuck at home. I started mapping out my week ahead yesterday, as much as I could. Writing out plans helps me remember that there are things I can control, things I can do to move forward, when there is so much happening beyond my control right now. My plans include home care, exercise, work-related tasks, and creative pursuits. Colored markers and stickers make planning fun!
3) Learning. I have so much professional reading to catch up on, and now's the perfect time to do it. I'm also going to sign up for that Yale course on well-being that everyone's talking about. I'm keeping up with my Duolingo exercises in Spanish and Japanese. And I'm toying with the idea of learning how to play the children's guitar we have, gathering dust in the living room, via YouTube. We'll see if I get around to that!
I hope others find these tips helpful. As for my hostess gift--I've got a box full of Bath and Bodyworks scented handsoaps to help us all get through this major handwashing phase of our lives.
Here's to fragrant hands and lifted spirits, Slicers!