Updated: May 7, 2020
Today my family and I hiked in a park not far from our house, which we'd never visited before. As an extrovert and a 7 on the Enneagram, I find that every day I get outside is a much better day. I am learning how to take care of my mental health during this coronavirus pandemic.
In the past week, I have actively found ways to be creative, caring, and inquisitive...three of my passions and keys to good self-care for me.
I finally caught up with my book reviews from the past several months (which has been weighing on my mind). I made rosemary garlic bread in a cast iron pan. And for the first time ever, I made black beans from dried beans, which I turned into a tortilla pie, and another day I tried my hand at making kimchi (it's bubbling away right now, four days in).
I've been reading a lot and watching interesting shows, like "Crash Landing on You," about a South Korean heiress who lands in North Korea and falls in love with the North Korean soldier who finds her.
And of course I've been videoconferencing regularly with potential clients, new contacts, small groups, and friends. These connections, like happy hours and book group meetings, are absolutely critical.
I made 20 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a friend, Melissa, who is making and collecting sandwiches for Transition Projects, a charity that serves the homeless. I've also been doing some pro bono communications for my friend Ozzie Gonzalez, Portland's first Latino candidate for mayor.
I also created a Facebook group called "Shine and Inspire," to share inspiration and resources on how to express ourselves untamed and creatively. We're talking about kindness and compassion, sustainability, community involvement, arts and culture, books, and music...and the sole purpose is to inspire and motivate each other. Just a few weeks in, and this group has been a godsend to me already. If you're on Facebook, come and join us!
It warms my heart to give back, and it fires me up to be creative. While I've lost a good deal of sleep worrying about the rest of the world, my son who works in a Whole Foods store, the economy, my loved ones who are vulnerable, the tragic fact that Black and brown peoples are dying much faster from this pandemic, and the lack of a national strategy to stop the COVID-19 pandemic and flatten the curve, I am gradually learning tactics for maintaining my mental health.
As these days in social isolation stretch on, with no ending date in sight, it's easy to lose heart and feel wearied. Sometimes I just give myself permission to lie in bed and read for a few hours in the morning, and that feels like pampering.
A few weeks ago my husband started sending a text to the four of us in my household saying "Here are my ideas for creating a good day," with a list of plans for the day and one thing he is grateful for. He invited us to join us, so I've been participating daily. Our sons are hit or miss, mostly miss! I like the fact that we are stating our intentions to each other in the morning.
A friend shared an "Isolation Well-Being" checklist she'd gotten from her therapist, and I decided to make one for myself. I find a little bit of structure in my days to be essential right now. I'm not going to follow it strictly every day. I'm not going to give myself grief if I don't write in my journal, read for fun, or clean something on a particular day. Equally important is giving ourselves and each other grace during these difficult times.
I changed the sign in my dining room today, thinking of the Libby Roderick song, "Keep On, Strong Heart." I invite you to listen to it while you print out the Pandemic Well-Being Plan.
Stay well and keep healthy both physically and mentally, friends. Keep on, strong heart.
So keep on strong heart
Don't fail me now
We must keep going
A little bit longer
Keep on strong heart
I know somehow
You will be there
When the great new day dawns
--Libby Roderick, Alaskan singer/songwriter, 1993
Contact me for more information about advancing your marketing communications or improving your leadership skills. Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business, dedicated to creating a kinder, more sustainable, and just world. With over 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, I am passionate about sustainability and corporate citizenship, equity & inclusion, businesses that use their power for good, and doing everything I can to create a kinder, more compassionate world.