Whew, it was a whirlwind of a ride for the first half of 2020!
Every time I think I have seen or heard it all, something new comes on the news and my anxiety level takes another step higher.
Sound familiar?
This time in our lives has brought new meaning to the word “normal” for my family and me and I find myself in a constant state of change, trying to find my inner peace and steady state.
I am finding new ways to simplify my life and day-to-day stresses and I am hopeful these new strategies will be part of my daily routine long after our lives have returned to “normal.”
• Write it Down: I have always found that journaling my thoughts helps to act as a written aid to pry out the hidden, murky, unsure emotions, concerns, worries and reflections from our bodies and our minds.
While I tend to prefer traditional journaling via my laptop, there are lots of ways to chronicle everything you have in your brain into the written word.
You can use a traditional journal, of course, but that might be too time consuming for you.
Lots of avid journalers follow the idea behind “morning pages.”
You write as much as you like about how you are feeling, what your plans for the day are and any anxieties or worries you have.
It helps to review the prior day or two to see if there is a trend in your overall mood and musings.
Not a writer? No problem, that’s OK!
Use your smartphone recorder to record your own voice!
Simply talk about what’s bothering you, what’s making you smile that day, how your body is feeling, what thoughts you’re having in that moment.
You can save it as is, transcribe it for later — whatever works to get whatever is on your mind saved for later!
If you don’t love the idea of stream-of-consciousness writing, try some bullet-point journaling.
Think of this as a writing prompt to use to chronicle your feelings.
You really just need three bullets: One for tasks (think of your to-dos for the day), notes (anything you want to chronicle) and events (moments in time that you don’t want to forget).
Not a writer or a big talker? Consider sketching your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Talk about a stress reliever!
Many of these musings will make for a great time capsule to commemorate this time in our history.
• Find a new hobby: This may seem counterintuitive to the notion of simple living, but I find that most of my hobbies bring me joy and help provide an important diversion from the troubles that I find in the outside world.
While I do not consider myself a particularly musical person, I do enjoy listening to music and so I have found that watching musicals and listening to lots of different kinds of music provides a tremendous amount of personal joy to me.
My son has found that he enjoys making fun videos on his Go Pro — an activity that chronicles his day and also has taught him some fun video editing skills!
Maybe you enjoy watching hummingbirds or butterflies? Set up a viewing spot next to a window and see what kinds of wildlife comes by to visit.
Since you are home so much these days, why not try to teach yourself a new type of cuisine or learn how to bake?
• Date Nights: So, when I say “date night,” please understand that your date can be a significant other, a child, a friend — even a beloved fur kid.
Date nights can be as simple as preparing or sharing a meal together, having a game or movie night or just scheduling a porch side chat to catch-up.
I have a ton of friends who have discovered the joys of puzzle challenges — so consider digging out those puzzles from the closet and see what you can create together!
If you are feeling really creative, why not put together a themed scavenger hunt that culminates in a romantic date or family fun night?
It can be themed to anything you want and clues can be related to something special.
Plant clues that are related to things special to your family — a favorite vacation destination or theme that your family enjoys is a great starting point.
Connecting with someone you love and making sure that you budget time for that connection can be the biggest stress reliever of all.
• Home Paradise: One of my biggest accomplishments during this quieter, stay at home time has been the home improvements I have made.
I am not just talking about cleaning and organizing but really making home a place of oasis and relaxation.
Plant a new shrub, install a hummingbird feeder or splurge on a fun new hammock or firepit — anything that gives you a place to relax, unwind and enjoy your home.
For me, that included buying some fluffy pillows and soft cotton sheets for my bed and some of my favorite essential oils to diffuse through the house.
Your idea of a home nirvana might be different but find at least one new addition to your home’s list of relaxation zones this summer — you will be glad you did and will reap the benefits long after this summer season is over!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)