Tuesday, April 28, 2020

What I Have Learned While Sheltering in Place During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Part 3: What I Do When I Am Having a Bad Day!

In this time of the Coronavirus, where most of us are in lockdown and facing fear and uncertainty, it's natural that we would have some bad days.  I know I do. It's only natural that after almost six weeks in quarantine I would miss my friends, my family, restaurants, live music, shopping -- my freedom!  Yes, despite my active inner life, there are days when I want to SCREAM!

But being in lockdown, I have learned what makes me happy when I am having a bad day, so I thought I would share with you in case some of these ideas might help you, when you, too, are having a bad day.

  • I dress my dogs up as famous literary characters. (See if you can guess before looking at the answers).

Okay, Miss Havesham in "Great Expectations," you remember the old lady who never got over being jilted at the altar and not only lived in her wedding dress but still had her wedding cake out on the table - ew- and Hester Prynne from "The Scarlet Letter." The "A" is the giveaway, right?  Oh, c'mon, Mildred loves this.  

Duh...I know it's so obvious. It's Laura Ingalls Wilder in "Little House on the Prairie."

This sort of thing never ceases to cheer me up.

Believe me, I really am trying to be helpful here.

But moving on to some more practical things.  

  • I remind myself what a good life I have had and still have.
I look at family pictures, past and present, and linger on some happy memories that remind me that I have had a good life.  And I still do, despite the inconveniences and challenges of the present. That helps bring me out of my funk.

  • I read.
My mother once said that if I read books, I would never be lonely and she was right. When I am reading, I don't think about being lonely for one second.

(I just finished Elton John's memoir and it's one of the best rock and roll autobiographies I have ever read).  He is funny, self-deprecating and knows everyone so the whole experience brought a smile to my face! I felt like I was spending time with Elton himself. Reading can do that!)

  • I Meditate.
I wrote a post about how I came to be interested in meditation ("A Little Meditation on a Little Meditation by an Unlikely Meditator") and my unlikely journey, because, believe me, I am not the sort of person you would think would be into meditation. But after practicing it off and on for several years, I find it has helped me, especially in times of crisis.  Ommm...

  • I exercise.
I am fortunate to live in a beautiful town by the ocean so when it's a nice day outside, a walk in nature can take me away from my troubles.

  • I drink wine!


(Well, not really, but decluttering is certainly a thing that can take your mind off yourself for a bit).

Marie Kondo is a decluttering fanatic who tells us that we should get rid of anything that doesn't "spark joy."  We are supposed to hold the object up to our hearts and ask ourselves "Does this spark joy?"  So...

As I set about cleaning out my sock drawer I am asking, "Do these "You guac my world" avocado socks spark joy?  Maybe not.  Out they go!

 What about these "Nasty Rosie" socks? 

Well, for one thing, I think they are funny as hell and if thinking something is funny doesn't fall into the sparking joy category I don't know what does. KEEP!

But whatever clutter you are dealing with, there is a certain satisfaction in decluttering. Doing menial tasks can relax your mind, though, don't you find it frustrating when you always seem to end up with one sock without a mate? What's the deal with that?  Why is there always one sock left over? Where do missing socks go to die?

  • I binge-watch TV.

I have already talked at length about my TV addiction ("Confessions of a TV Addict"), about my discovery of TV at the age of five, my happy memories of watching old movies with my Dad, 

the television keeping me company when my husband was sent to Vietnam six months after we were married, which was a very difficult and lonely time... 
I was at college and every night when I would get home after play rehearsal, Johnny Carson would keep me company (the picture is mostly for some context but try not to focus too much on those pants and glasses I am wearing. It was the late sixties before I discovered fringe and bell bottoms)!

There are those who delight in shaming those of us who enjoy television, but I am a child of television and am unashamed. It has played a role in various times of my life and now, once again, television is providing some companionship and diversion.  

When I am feeling down, settling in front of the TV with a glass of wine and some snacks takes me away from my troubles. And this whole binge watching concept is perfect for these endless days of sheltering in place, perfect for working my way through a series and watching it nonstop.  

I have already seen all episodes of the dramas "The Stranger (Netflix)," and "Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu);" two really good reality shows about fashion design, "Making the Cut (Amazon Prime)," and "Next in Fashion (Netflix);" the quirky Australian baking show, "Zumbo's Just Desserts (Netflix)," and now I am working on "Mrs. America (Hulu)" and reruns of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."  A strange by-product of a stay at home order is actually a television addict's dream. 

So if you love television, let your freak flag fly and indulge!  You may not get this chance again!

  • I Bake
"The Great British Baking Show" (original title: "The Great British Bakeoff") isn't considered a panacea for practically everything for no reason. Watching that show can put you into not just a sugar buzz but a dream state (just ask Hubby who falls asleep as soon as the theme music comes on)!  

It's amazing that watching a bunch of amateur bakers can be so compelling, but it is. They are all talented bakers, but I think the show's popularity has something to do with the bakers being SO NICE!  They are in competition, but are also just so damn supportive of each other. It restores your faith in human nature.  And since they seem to be just regular folks, watching the show you might say to yourself, "I can do that."  Well, you probably can't, but there is a certain satisfaction in trying to, putting eggs, sugar and flour together to make something delicious. That you can do. 

And not only do you have the reward of eating what you bake, baking can return you to some happy childhood memories (I hope you have some!). 

  • I reach out to someone who might need a boost.
I might check in on a friend who is sheltering in place alone, who might be depressed or I might make a point to remind a friend of a happy memory or something I like about them. Thinking of others and trying to do something nice for them or to help them is the best way to stop thinking about myself.

  • I write down my feelings.
If you haven't figured this out already, writing down what I am feeling, sharing my thoughts, is something I like to do, hence my blogging history.  Whether it's ragging on a movie I didn't like or raving about a book I did like or just sharing with you my pet peeves, I have a need to communicate, to share my feelings, and when I do - I feel better!  We all want to be seen and heard and when we get that, a bad day can turn into a good one.

  • I have a laugh.

Whether it's playing virtual games of "Cards Against Humanity" with friends or watching Ricky Gervais or "This is Spinal Tap" or even making fun of myself, I find a way to have something to laugh about and that usually makes me forget I'm having a bad day.  

I am particularly partial to dog vs. cat cartoons!

See, don't you feel better now?

  • I have a routine and a schedule.

But when all is said and done, this is a time when we don't have control over events, and a loss of control can cause all kinds of negative feelings.  So for me, during this challenging time, having a schedule helps me cope with my bad days.  I treat this staying at home thing like a job, and like most jobs, there is a routine.  There is comfort in having a routine and some days I even write down what I want to accomplish in the coming days, whether it's cleaning out my sock drawer or cooking a nice dinner, I have a list of activities to choose from when I am at loose ends.  Having projects and things I plan to do, and then accomplishing them can turn a bad day into at least a better one.

  • I let myself feel bad.

Sometimes, though, I just go with my feelings, feel sorry for myself and wallow a bit. And that's okay, too, because I know that there is one thing I can count on.  Change. Just as this pandemic will eventually pass, so will this bad day.

So I hope that in sharing what I do to keep my head up during this challenging time, some of these ideas might help you to keep your head up, too.

Take care everyone and stay safe!

Now it's your turn.

What do you do when you are having a bad day? 

Thanks for Reading!

And I Hope to See you Soon... 

Here and on my Rosy the Reviewer Facebook Page!

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