Comfort

I find comfort in writing. It used to be the opposite. I used to be scared to write things down. Because writing things down makes them real. But now I have found there’s a comfort in placing my thoughts down on the page instead of having them consume my brain. If I can let go of my feelings in a creative way, I can process these moments of fear with calm and levity. I can make a cup of tea, write down what I want to say, some of it appears here, some never see the light of day. Writing in moments like these have made me see the light with writing things as they happen instead of writing a reflection. The feelings are different now than they would be writing from memory. Honesty comes from mindfulness which stems from an awareness of understanding what’s happening. It’s difficult to be real and honest when what’s happening isn’t familiar. Coping mechanisms such as avoidance and distractions don’t last when awareness seeps through everything I do. The more I write, the more I let my feelings out, the better perspective I have on everything. I used to fear writing about things in the moment. Now I find comfort in placing my thoughts down on the page then walking away.

How I Stay Sane

Inspired by #IKeepMyselfSaneBy on Twitter.

I limit how much news I watch and read.
I write every day.
I drink water.
I read books.
I go for walks with my dog.
I hang out with my cat.
I FaceTime with friends.
I do yoga.
I go the therapy.
I meditate a lot.
I color in an adult coloring book.
I check in with myself.
I submit poems to literary magazines.
I listen to music.
I listen to podcasts.
I watch tv and movies.
I get a lot of sleep.
I take naps.
I find balance.
I have hope.
I breathe.

PSA

Before you press send, check to make sure the information your sharing is accurate. A quick google search will let you know if the information, article, or quote you gravitated towards is correct. You don’t want to be spreading misinformation.

Labeling anxiety and mental health as negative is harmful. Anxiety is a natural response and many people experience it, including myself. It’s not wrong to be worried or feel anxious right now. It’s not wrong to be worried or feel anxious ever. Learning tools to help your mental health can be beneficial. There’s no shame if you have to take medication for your mental health too. There’s no “one size fits all” category when it comes to what works for people. But labeling it as something negative only causes more negative feelings, which doesn’t make things better. Take care of yourself the best you can.

When going outside for a walk, move to the side when passing people. Keep six feet apart as much as possible. Having both people move to the side widens the gap and keeps everyone safe. It’s only common sense not to take up the whole side walk, especially when walking passed people. Form a single file line if you’re walking in a group. Be respectful and practice social etiquette by social distancing.

No one wants schools to close. No one wants people to lose their jobs. No one wants people to stay in their houses. No one wants the economy to be where it is. No one wants to worry about getting sick. No one wants life to change the way it has. But it has to keep us safe. If we want to get through this, which I think is the general consensus, we have to stay home if we can. For those of you who are healthcare workers, grocery store workers, or any other essential workers who have to work outside the house, thank you for all that you do.

Be smart. Stay safe. Drink water. Wear something over your nose and mouth when going out in public. Cough and sneeze into your arm. Wash your hands.

Happy Stuff
The Isolation Journals is the push you need to write right now. – LitHub
Zoom Surprise: Some Good News with John Krasinski Ep. 2 – YouTube
Glennon Doyle Asks Us to “Feel it All” in ‘UNTAMED’ – Hello Sunshine
Emma Roberts on Belletrist, Joan Didion, and Why Now Is the Right Time to Pick Up a Good Book – Vogue
Thanks to Bookshop, There Is No Reason to Buy Books on Amazon Anymore – Inside Hook
King Princess: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert – YouTube
“Portrait Of A Lady On Fire” Is The Perfect Quarantine Watch – Buzzfeed News
Brené on FFTs
Tarana Burke and Brené on Being Heard and Seen
Glennon Doyle and Brené on Untamed
National Poetry Month Books for 2020

Other Links
How to Navigate Public Spaces and More – The New York Times
Social Distancing Is a Privilege – The New York Times
Overcrowding Makes It Hard For Native Americans To Socially Distance – NPR
Social Distancing Might Stop. And Start. And Stop. And Start. Until We Have A Vaccine. – Buzzfeed News
After The Coronavirus Passes, Your World Will Not Go Back To Normal – Buzzfeed News
That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief – Harvard Business Review
Chronic Uncertainty Lessons for a global pandemic, from a permanently sick person. – The Cut

Simmering Frustration with Compassion

I’m walking down a trail,
the concrete is hard beneath my feet.
I feel my legs moving me forward.
I cross back and forth
from the sidewalk to grass,
grass to sidewalk,
sidewalk back to grass,
then back to the sidewalk,
when I pass by people.
I’ve realized most walk in clusters,
uncertain of what day it is
or how they got outside.
I simmer my frustration with compassion,
and continue to focus on feeling my body
move forward as the sun falls on my neck.
We’re all a little lost right now.

Some Good News

John Krasinski launched a YouTube show the other day called Some Good News. I watched the first episode and simultaneously laughed and cried. I’ve been relishing in good content as much as I possibly can. Whether it’s cute animal videos on TikTok (links below) or watching late-night talk show hosts work from home, anything that brings me comfort is good.

My anxiety has been all over the place lately. Worrying for myself, my loved ones, and those I know can be overwhelming at moments. Yesterday, I was feeling a lot of physical anxiety. Today, it’s lessened a bit. It comes in waves. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, which brings me both comfort and sadness. We’re all going through this pandemic together as a global community. It can be scary to face an unknown of this magnitude.

What good news and stories have you been digesting? What has kept you afloat during these trying times? Comment below!

Emotion Wheel

Breathing Gif

Poetry
Again a Solstice by Jennifer Chang
The Flower at My Window by Lucian B. Watkins
The Conditional by Ada Limón
Dead Stars by Ada Limón
FaceTime by Clint Smith

Funny TikTok Videos
That look at the end.
Dog and cat
Standard convo
dear diary
Special inside look
The purest thing you’ll see today
It happens everyday in Antarctica
Human copying dog

Tiny Desk Concert NPR
Rex Orange County
Coldplay
H.E.R.
Harry Styles

20 Things I Learned from 200 Days of Meditation

  1. Some days I’m more focused than others.
  2. Meditating at the same time every day is ideal.
  3. Self-judgment only makes things worse.
  4. How many times I come back to the breath is more important than how many times I linger away.
  5. I can go for more than ten minutes without needing to look at my phone.
  6. Thoughts and urges are temporary.
  7. It’s possible to have a quiet mind.
  8. It’s good to feel feelings.
  9. Meditation makes life feel less scary.
  10. Deep breathing is calming.
  11. Belly breathing as often as possible is relaxing my back and neck muscles.
  12. I can form new habits over time.
  13. Change is only what I want it to be. It can be overwhelming but it can also be productive and exciting.
  14. I may not be able to control a situation but I can control how I respond.
  15. Being present is a beautiful thing.
  16. Awareness of how situations impact me emotionally.
  17. There’s more time in the day than I think.
  18. I don’t have to run away from my feelings.
  19. There are healthier ways to cope with overwhelming feelings.
  20. I’m happier when I take care of my mental health.

A Healthy Balance

I’m not used to having my anxiety come from external forces for an extended amount of time, especially at this magnitude. I’ve spent the last week in my head, trying to avoid the news as much as possible. I have gravitated towards good news, positive quotes, and tv shows while locking my feelings in a closet in my mind. Last week, I meditated a lot. This week, I created endless stories in my head on a loop. Silly stories, happy stories, stories where things turn out alright. This is how I used to deal with anxiety before I found meditation. It’s not that I’m in a bad place mentally, I’m just fearful and as a result, I reverted to my old coping tactics while continuing to meditate and go for walks. I’m still trying to find a healthy balance.

I think the news last week became too overwhelming for me. I was keeping up with it, trying to read as many stories as possible. I know it’s worse this week, I look at the numbers once a day with a pit in my stomach. Many states, including where I live, are on a ‘Stay At Home’ order. The news is overwhelmingly terrifying, no matter if you watch the news, read it online, or listen to podcasts. We’re living in an uncertain time where a large number of people are getting sick and some of them are dying in a short amount of time. I see stories online of healthcare workers sharing their stories of being on the front lines and it’s heart-wrenching to read.

I recently started reading Glennon Doyle’s Untamed and in her book she says, “feel it all.” Whatever you’re feeling at this moment, it’s valid. The times we’re living in are causing stress and fear in a lot of people. When we’re told we can’t continue our daily lives, we can’t go out and be around people, it’s jarring. As a global community, we’ve never experienced something like this in our lifetimes. Whatever you’re doing for self-care is good as long as you’re not locking away your feelings in a closet for too long. Don’t be afraid to feel your feelings.

Self-Care
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
How to be Lonely – New York Times
The House of Belonging by David Whyte
i have already watched this a million times – Twitter
Brothers convince little sister of zombie apocalypse
Pamela Adlon Has the Recipe for Staying Sane During a Pandemic – W Magazine
Mental Health Tips from People Who’ve Been There – John Green
House-Sitting for Joan Didion – Vogue Magazine
I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share – New York Times

Nurses Stories via Twitter
1
2
3

Articles
Can Trump Legally Order the Country Back to Work From Coronavirus by Easter? – New York Times
Liberty University Is Staying Open During The Coronavirus Pandemic And Students Are Confused And Concerned – Buzzfeed News
Coronavirus Threatens an Already Strained Maternal Health System – New York Times
Stop Yelling Out the Window. Just Give Doctors the Masks You’re Hoarding. – New York Times
Doctors Are Writing Their Wills – New York Times

YouTube Informative Videos
3D-Printed Face Shields Are Protecting Hospital Workers From Coronavirus – Vice News
I’m a Doctor on the Frontlines of COVID-19. Ask Me Anything. – Jubilee
How the Coronavirus Pandemic Compares to the Spanish Flu – The New Yorker
What a World at Home Looks Like

Stay Home Poem

We sit at home and wait to know that it's safe.
We don't know when that will be.
Weeks, months, it's all up in the air.
I go for a drive to relieve stress.
The snow reflects off the mountains.
People are outside walking.
That's all they can do these days.
People in clusters.
People in cars.
Some trails are closed.
Others are over-populated.
The news is overwhelming and bleak,
I peak then shut myself away.
Choosing to think of happier things,
Instead of drowning in the scariness of now.

Part Four

Today is World Poetry Day. Poetry is so important, especially for this uncertain moment we’re currently living in. A few weeks ago, I posted a poem called Mantra for the Madness. It contains a lot of the fears and anxieties I had about what could happen. Flash forward two weeks and our society has completely changed.

Take some time today to read some poetry. Comment below what some of your favorite poems are.

Some of my favorite poems I’ve written.
Mantra for the Madness
Beach Day
Brain Reset
A Reminder to Be Respectful
Before I Had the Language
Saturday Drive
XXIV
Outside of the Box
Love Is’t Defined by Gender
Different is Beautiful
The Lies You Unlearn
The Beauty of Spring
Before I Say Hello
Hello Stranger
Divided Mind
Hard Truths
Important Note

Some of my favorite poems written by other people.
Atlas of the Difficult World by Adrienne Rich
Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich
The Stranger by Adrienne Rich
Lost by David Wagoner
The Guest House by Rumi
September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden
The Love of October by W.S. Merwin
Two Poems by Dan Beachy-Quick
American Sonnet for the New Year by Terrance Hayes
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Laguna Blues by Charles Wright

Part Three

I’ve been doing a lot of walking on the trails by my house lately. I began early last week when I decided to stop going to the gym. The trails weren’t too crowded then. I walked Monday thru Thursday then took a few days off because of the weather. This week, I have never seen so many people on the trails. Walking, jogging, running with dogs, families walking in packs, the occasional rollerblader trying to rough it out. It’s a busy time to be outside when you have nowhere else to go.

I realized that if I walk early in the day, I’m less likely to encounter so many people. When I pass people, I wave and give a little nod, trying my best to keep my distance from everyone I pass. It’s important to keep moving. My lungs feel good for the hour I’m outside, listening to a podcast or audiobook to try to keep my mind off of what’s happening as much as I can. Unplugging and disconnecting for a bit is good for both my mental and physical health.

Yesterday, as I was coming up to my usual turn around spot, I noticed something in the distance by the bench. I couldn’t make out what it was so I decided to walk closer. I figured it was dog poop since I had been seeing a lot of that lately. People don’t know how to pick up after their dogs. But, as I got closer, I noticed it was a pinecone. There wasn’t just one pinecone, there were ten of them in a row. I smiled. It was a little light amongst the darkness that shined bright. A reminder to smile at the unexpected moments that bring me joy.

That being said, it’s also super important to be informed and stay aware of what’s happening. It’s scary and can be overwhelming at times. I have found that for me, I have less anxiety when I limit how much information I take in at one time. So, I will look at the news, look at social media, read some articles, then I disconnect from it. I do this several times a day so I stayed updated on what’s happening while also not obsessing about it too much. I will provide some links below to some articles I’ve been reading and some videos I’ve been watching.

Another thing that’s helped my anxiety a lot during this time besides going on walks is Calm. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve been meditating several times a day for the last week or so and that’s really calmed a lot of the physical anxiety I have felt. One thing I use in meditation or when I want to quiet my mind for a while is an Herbal Animal Eye Pillow. Someone recommended them to me because I have thyroid eye disease but anyone can use them. They look like stuffed animals but they’re filled with a lot of natural herbs that are really calming and soothing. They’re like a weighted blanket for your eyes. I have peter panda, which has lavender, orange, and Echinacea in it. I’ve used it every single day since it arrived in the mail. It’s been a saving grace for my eyes and my anxiety. At the moment, many of them are sold out. But there are some still available that I’ll link down below. Like I said, anyone can use them and I love mine so much.

Stay safe. Stay calm. Watch some animal videos. Read some books or short stories. Stay updated. Drink water. Take care of yourself. Breathe.

Herbal Animals
alexander graham bull with lavender, and lemon balm.
buddy bullfrog with lavender, orange, and linden flower.
camelia earhart with lavender, chamomile, and rose.
harry elephante with lavender, spearmint, and peppermint.
hoggy carmichael with chamomile, lavender, and orange.
isadora dolphin with chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm.
lena horne unicorn with lavender, lemon balm, and rose.
sydney greensheep with lavender and peppermint.
sylvester stallion with passion flower, orange, and peppermint.

News
10,000 Cases now in the US, BuzzFeed News – Twitter
Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020 – CDC
Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S. – The New York Times
Do Not Travel Globally – U.S. Department of State

Articles & Stories
The Coronavirus Is Here to Stay, So What Happens Next? – New York Times
My Coronavirus Test: 5 Days, a Dozen Calls, Hours of Confusion – New York Times
‘I was pretty sure I was going to die’: coronavirus patient urges others to take it seriously – Fox 31 Denver
The Unending Anxiety of Coronavirus Content – New York Times
That ‘Miracle Cure’ You Saw on Facebook? It Won’t Stop the Coronavirus – The New York Times
No Age Group Is Immune to Coronavirus – The Cut

YouTube Videos
People Tell Us How Their Governments Around the World Are Responding to Coronavirus – Vice News
Air Travel During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic – The New Yorker
What can WE do? – iJustine

Self-Care
The first minute and twenty seconds of this video. – YouTube
10 Ways to Ease Your Coronavirus Anxiety – New York Times
Bright Minded with Miley Cyrus – Instagram
Pablo Neruda Poems – Poetry Foundation
Ashley C. Ford Radio, video one – YouTube
Dressing Up Is Making Me Feel Better – The Cut
5 riveting memoirs to read right now – i-D
Celeste Ng, Ann Patchett, Min Jin Lee and Others on the Books That Bring Them Comfort – The New York Times
Ten Free Ebooks from Haymarket Books
Lazy River by Zadie Smith – The New Yorker (Free Story)
My very responsible 65+ parents are social distancing and threw themselves their own St. Patrick’s Day parade – Twitter
China sent medical masks to Italy, & wrote on the boxes a quote of a Roman poem – Twitter
I’m not crying, you are. – Instagram
Look at All These Baby Goats – The Cut
Penguins in the Amazon?! – Twitter
the Shedd Aquarium is closed to humans, so they decided to just let the penguins walk around because sure why not – Twitter
“Oregon Zoo took the baby elephant around the zoo to visit the other animals.” – Twitter
Bodega Cats – Twitter