Ways to Cope During Social Distancing

do you see this feather sky?

THERE IS SO MUCH TO SAY, and also nothing to say, about the feels we’re all experiencing during this scary, awful pandemic. It reminds me of a recurring dream I’ve had for years in which I’m standing silent as I watch a Tsunami approach. Typically in the dream I am the mother or caregiver to an infant I need to keep safe; I’m facing off with this massive wall of water that I can see coming and it is getting larger and closer and I have only moments to commit to whatever it is I am going to do to save this baby. Almost always my solution is to put the cooing sweetie (and accompanying blanket) into the clothes dryer and close the door tight, as if this will be water-safe, as if the force of the wave will come and the dryer and the enclosed baby will bob right up to the surface and the wave will recede and the dryer and its babe will have been deposited right back in place.

My mind does not exactly figure all this in the dream; things happen fast and I just think: DRYER. And I do it. And if there is more to this story–if the dryer has actually worked or not I can’t say for certain even if my sense is yes. Because I never dream the end, or if I do, I never remember it. Instead I wake up, or else I move on to another dream, or maybe–and this is coming to me as I write this–maybe the ending of the dream is too painful for it to stay with me in my waking hours.

Anyway. My point is I feel now as I feel in that dream: aware, afraid, and certain I need to do something in these moments before full force arrives.

WE’VE BEEN SHELTERING IN PLACE, Tim and I, as I’m certain have you. On Day One I decided that in addition to the precautions we are taking to stay healthy physically I would need to focus on emotional health, as well. And for me, in this situation, this would require planning and intention. (I know myself well enough to recognize that left to my own devices, my response to this crisis would be to go hard, head-down, into one project or another.) And so I took a minute to jot down a list of things to do each day that I believed would contribute to my own well being. Since that time my practice has become to take to my journal each night, to write a bit about my day, and then to note the icons of the things from this list I have done. I like recording via the icons–somehow the act of reproducing those tiny sketches is therapeutic, and it also brings some levity to pages filled with a great undertone of worry. And let me be clear: There is no reason to score-keep. I do not consider my list TASKS TO BE COMPLETED. I consider them gifts, gifts I am giving myself during all the uncertainty; tiny little ways I am creating a new sense of normalcy and routine.

And for me it has been a godsend, I will tell you that. We are in the mountains for a time where life is blessedly remote. And while my days are overfilled right now with good, important work for the clients our firm is helping shepherd through this crisis, I find it is the Daily List that keeps my feet on the ground, that brings a small sense of balance to a time and circumstance I find impossible to process.

SO HERE GOES.

Here is my list, in hopes it will inspire you to create one of your own.


The Daily List

  • morning devotional
  • vitamins
  • a little exercise
  • something to help someone else
  • something fun/funny
  • gratitude list of three
  • video chat with at least one person
  • one #goodnessrising (I need to tell you about this!)
  • get outside
  • hear Eliza’s voice
  • a little reading
  • post on Instagram (hopeful/fun), The Daily Grace
  • a poem, aloud, just before sleep
  • prayers (for all, and for a specific list I am keeping)

The Weekly List

  • church, online
  • Daily Grace post that’s encouraging or helpful , or a Grace Notes newsletter
  • email update to the choir WEDNESDAY
  • talk to: (I have a list of friends here)
  • connect with family
  • connect with someone who is alone

Every Chance

  • offer encouragement
  • extend grace
  • thank first responders

THERE IS A LINE in the Sara Bareilles song, Orpheus, that comes at me with so much power and force right now–a song that I have on constant repeat these days, and a line that has taken up residence.

WE DID NOT GIVE UP ON LOVE TODAY.

That is what Sara sings.

We didn’t. We won’t.

Sending so much love and every good wish to you today, and in the days and weeks to come.

Be well, friends —

Cathy

PS: I’ve created a scan of this list, including my incredibly unprofessional icons, if that would be helpful to you. Just click the button to instantly download.

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6 thoughts on “Ways to Cope During Social Distancing

  1. Oh my beautiful friend – thank you for the gift of sharing your journey. Stay safe.
    Love and Light.

  2. Cathy – you are always inspiring and this was nourishment for our souls. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as we all maneuver this surreal time in our lives. Praying that it will all be in the rear view mirror soon. In the meantime, stay safe. Peace to you!

    1. Thank you, Judy. I am always so grateful for a comment from you–and yes, yes, yes to the rear view mirror. Do take care! XXOO

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