By Cheryl Ryan
This is a piece that I wrote in May and never published. As we head into the holidays while still in this pandemic I’m bracing myself for these upcoming months. Here are a few thoughts that helped me during the spring. I hope something resonates with you but more importantly, I hope that you will share what helped you:
I’ve gone through a few stages. Drinking too much, check. Eating too much, check. Feeling like things will never end and getting really negative, check. But these aren’t helpful so here are some things that did help.
After watching the movie A Day In The Neighborhood with Tom Hanks (which I highly recommend) I began to send out positive energy messages before going to sleep, like Mr. Rogers did in the movie. I sent energy to those that are worried about their jobs or health or family. I’ve even sent prayers to those that haven’t necessarily been kind – which ironically can be the most rewarding. Surprisingly, what started as a gesture towards others turned out to make me feel more connected and settled before falling asleep.
I’ve also started to set daily intentions either on a morning walk, bike ride, or just watching the sunrise outside my window. Then I create a mantra that starts with ‘I’m grateful for’… and name the specific things that I want to be personally or that I want to achieve or change. It’s worked surprisingly well. I read that you should repeat it often throughout your day and use the same mantra for a few weeks. It takes some practice but when I do it helps keep my mind positive and actually helps me reach my objectives.
For me, the self-help book of the year is Nonviolent Communication – A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg. It’s a terrible title and a bit challenging to get through but this book has not only helped me work on having empathy for others’ opinions and beliefs but also is teaching me to grant myself empathy around my own feelings and things that may not be going right. Many of my friends loved Untamed by Glennon Doyle to keep them in a positive space this year.
I also try to allow myself some frivolous time each day. Time to do whatever I want like to watch tv, take a bath or read a magazine. For those of you on endless Zoom calls for work your time might be before bed, first thing in the morning or what would’ve been commute time. It’s odd but with fewer social opportunities doing waggish things feel like some consolation. Or even that I’m doing things that I might not otherwise have time for with a busier, normal social calendar.
Please share what works for you. We all need to know!