NORMALIZE WHAT YOU CAN
So much has been disrupted in our lives. There is very little that we can call ‘normal’. Our most basic expectations for the future, for our daily living, has been set aside. When so many things have been taken away from us, our mental health depends on our ability to hold on to those activities we still have.
What routine activities allow your life to feel ‘normal’ once again – if even just for a brief period of time?
TASK: Find two or three activities that you can do on a regular basis, that allow you to feel, for the moment, that your life is back to normal.
HERE’S THE CHALLENGE:
In the midst of this current shared ordeal of the global pandemic, we are constantly swinging between the disabling anxiety and immobilizing despair.
Uncertainty has entered our homes and our lives. We are being forced to face a new reality of epic proportions, and for the first time, we can witness human beings on a global scale face an invisible threat to our lives and to our economies.
How do we best cope with what is happening, especially when there is so much that we cannot yet know, and so much that has shattered our sense of normalcy? How do we navigate this tidal surge of uncertainty?
How do we stay engaged in the routines of our inner and outer worlds, while in the absence of anything that resembles ordinary?
HERE ARE YOUR TOOLS:
- Keep or build structure into your days.
You need a reason to get up in the morning, to get on with your day, and to get certain things done. Organize your morning. Keep a schedule without making yourself busy as a distraction.
- Make yourself be accountable to someone else besides yourself.
Make phone or video call appointments to connect or check in with significant others. Participate in online group gatherings that are useful to you.
- Embrace what is ordinary in your life. Identify and regularly immerse yourself in two or three calming, enjoyable routines, activities or chores that are grounding and normalizing, and give you a simple sense of well-being.
The Voice of God, by Mary Karr
Ninety percent of what’s wrong with you could be cured with a hot bath,
says God from the bowels of the subway.
But we want magic, to win
the lottery we never bought a ticket for
(Tenderly, the monks chant, embrace
The voice of God does not pander,
offers no five year plan, no long-term
solution, nary an edict.
It is small & fond & local.
Don’t look for your initials in the geese
honking overhead or to see thru the glass even darkly.
It says the most obvious crap—put down that gun, you need a sandwich.
Embrace what is ordinary in your life, in the absence of the ordinary all around you.
Read this wonderful essay when you find a quiet moment in your day:
“There are things you can’t reach. But you can reach out to them, and all day long. The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of god. And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier. I look; morning to night I am never done with looking. Looking, I mean not just standing around, but standing around as though with your arms open.”
– Mary Oliver
Identify two or three calming, enjoyable routines, activities or chores that are grounding and normalizing, that give you a simple sense of well-being.
Engage and regularly immerse yourself in these simple, doable, ordinary things.
Notice the simple satisfaction and sense of well-being that comes from being immersed in what you enjoy, and still feels relaxingly familiar to you.