It has been a while since I was on this corner of the internet.
As you read this post, I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.
It is difficult to describe our current nearly global lockdown situation without the words crazy, messy and unimaginable coming to mind. For the most part, Kenyans are also in lockdown mode with the essential services still operational and we will under a curfew between 7pm-5am beginning Friday 27th.
Spending time indoors as an introvert is not what I anticipated. While I enjoy solitude best on my own terms. I miss being able to hop onto public transportation, head into the CBD area to run errands. If I have time, probably pop into my local bookshop to check if they have stocked any new books and finish the trip with a cup of coffee at the nearest Java.
For the past two weeks, since we began self-isolation, my emotions have oscillated between feeling frazzled and numbness. I can’t seem to find solace in reading right now, because the virus hit Kenya whilst I was in the middle of a major reading slump. Besides, I noticed that I read normally a lot about sad subjects like war and climate change, so no escapism there. There is so much information overload right now with the news as well as listicles and tips on how to work from home, shows to watch, books to read, online courses to attend … and the lists goes on.
While I find it all unappealing right now, I know that I can’t live in a zombie mood until a sense of normalcy is restored. I have been trying to see the situation from a more positive light and get past my feelings. But it has not been easy…
Emily P. Freeman of The Next Right Thing podcast says that the first step to handle your feelings of indecision and anxiety is to name the things that are true.
In this HBR interview David Kessler refers to our current feelings at a micro and macro level as anticipatory grief, feelings about the uncertainty of what the future holds. He encourages us with these words:
Keep trying. There is something powerful about naming this as grief. It helps us feel what’s inside of us. So many have told me in the past week, “I’m telling my coworkers I’m having a hard time,” or “I cried last night.” When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you. Emotions need motion. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through… Your work is to feel your sadness and fear and anger whether or not someone else is feeling something. Fighting it doesn’t help because your body is producing the feeling. If we allow the feelings to happen, they’ll happen in an orderly way, and it empowers us. Then we’re not victims.
For me, “trying” looks like getting out of bed with an attitude of gratitude and asking myself:
What does this (situation) make possible for me to do today?
As I sip on my morning coffee, I go through my master to-do list to see what I can easily get checked off in the day. So far, that I am making progress all the things that I had been procrastinating to accomplish in forever.
Nowadays I find mental relief in daily mundane chores I have finally started decluttering boxes, clothes and memorabilia that I had been hoarding for YEARS. But at the same time I am, wondering where I will take them all because we lack an organised recycling system in our Kenya…but that’s a blog post for another day and probably for my other blog. Normally, I hate doing laundry by hand (I don’t own a washing machine). However, I calmly did a whole batch of whites and linens without any music or podcasts buzzing in my ears. I found the process quite therapeutic.
Going forward, I am choosing to remain positive. I am choosing to remain in motion. I will be using these four one-liners/mantras that Myquillyn Smith of The Nester fame shared on The Next Right Thing.
Do what you know
Finish what you started
Use what you have
Do the next right thing
How are you mentally coping with this messy middle that we are all in? What are your go-to mantras and Bible scriptures for this time?
Photo Credit: Markus Spiske on Pexels.com