Can Reflection Help You Deal With Change?

changeWe are all in the midst of change these days, aren’t we? Change is tough for all of us to deal with, and for some especially hard. Sometimes, reflecting on our own experiences can be helpful when dealing with change.

Think about these questions. How do you typically deal with change in your life? Do you immediately dig in your heels to avoid moving in new directions? Are you cautious but open? Are you eager for anything new? Knowing how we generally operate can be helpful to you and to those around you during this time.

Change is to a large degree what we make of it, how we respond to it. If we choose to embrace it, we often find it works to our benefit. If we are highly resistant, we block ourselves from seeing and embracing the positives that the change may present.

How have you been responding to the restrictions placed on us by our covid-19 crisis?  And how are you looking toward the decisions about when you will resume some form of activities that were your “normal”? Your comfort level and convictions about what is best for others around you will influence your responses.

As we move deliberately from “stay at home” to less restrictive living, we will be making these decisions. They are significant steps that can have major implications. Sometimes it is okay to fight the change when something doesn’t seem right about it. It can take courage to be the one standing up for what you believe if others are rushing back into activities about which you have discomfort or fear.

If you are not doing so already, try journaling about these ideas and questions. It can be amazing what clarity you can have when you begin writing rather than just allowing things to swirl around in your head. You can download and print a journal designed for these times where you can reflect and record what these days have been and are for you and those close to you. You can print as many copies of each page as you can use. http://carolbrusegar.com/Journaling-Through-Crisis

Reading about others’ experiences during challenging times can be affirming and illuminating.  You can start with newspaper and magazine articles that are current. The experiences of medical workers, of those in prison or in specific geographic locations widen our perspective of what is happening.

In addition, reflections and reports of others who have lived through pandemics are available. The Flu Epidemic of 1918 is probably most like this situation; seek out and read more about that. Amazon has a wide variety of things to consider.  https://amzn.to/2KG52zs

The polio epidemic which began in 1949 is another occurrence to read about. https://amzn.to/2YsOEL1

Even if you aren’t a history buff like I am, I highly recommend that you gather some of these resources and share them with others.  You will gain new perspective on the present and what is to come.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

~ Maya Angelou

 

Self-Care During Stay-at-Home Time and Beyond

self careOur personal situations during this stay-at-home days vary widely. You may be telecommuting/working at home or not, be alone or with children and spouse, have a pleasant atmosphere or not. Your reactions to all this may change as time goes on. What first seemed like a break may feel more like a confinement.

It’s a good time to remind ourselves about the importance of self-care, which also can (and perhaps should) change as time at home goes on.  You may be in a routine that includes good ways of taking care of yourself. Or the dynamics may be changing within your household and it may be helpful to consider some different self-care practices.

Self-care helps to relieve stress, improves mental health, and increases self-esteem. It gives you some space for just you. The activities may be brief or longer, and there are many options. I suggest you consider these; they may also give you additional ideas that particularly suit you.

Try Sensory Activities

Think of activities that use different senses, like touch, smell, taste, or sight. Perhaps it’s feeling the breeze or walking in the rain. Perhaps you have a firepit in your back yard. Light it and smell the fire, see the flames, feel the warmth, taste the marshmallows you roast. Try to find activities that really awaken your senses. Indoors, there’s always a bubble bath with candles lit around the room. Feast your eyes with the online options  like virtual tours of museums, national parks, zoos, etc. They can transport you to another place for a brief time. Cooking and baking are sensory too. The shortage of yeast in our stores indicates that lots of people are baking bread; kneading the dough is certainly sensory.

Do Creative Activities

Perhaps you have already been doing some creative activities during this extended time at home. Consider trying something else or take what you’re doing to another level.

  • Sketching, painting, charcoal or chalk art can be very enjoyable. Or get a new adult coloring book – there is an incredible range of options available to order online. (See link below)
  • Think of a type of craft you did as a child that would just be fun to do again.  I remember the one where you cover a sheet of paper with bright colored crayon designs, filling in all the spaces. Then you use the black crayon to cover it all. Then use a pointed tool to scratch out a design which reveals the colorful background you created. That takes me back!
  • Is there a craft project you’ve thought of doing and never did? You probably have lots of materials tucked away that can be used or you can re-purpose things that are stored away. An example of the latter: I have several seasonal wreaths that I have made. By removing the silk flowers, etc. I can start over and create a new one.
  • Do you have a bag or box of yarn that you purchased and didn’t crochet or knit into the intended object? Dig it out and start a project, even something very basic. How about fabric? A friend had a stockpile of unused fabric and has taken it out and is sewing beautiful face coverings for her own family and friends and is selling them besides. You may think of other ways to use yours.
  • Do you have lots of photos from the past? Creating collages or scrapbooks of some of them can be both creative and heart-warming. They can be for you or for others as gifts. In fact, as we are separated from family members, this is a great way to send some memories and love their way.

Watch Something Funny

Don’t underestimate the power of laughing! Watch funny movies or TV shows. Go to YouTube and search for your favorite classic comedies – Golden Girls, I Love Lucy, etc. Laughing is extremely healing and can quickly change your mood or mindset. This is also a good thing to do with others in your household. Laughing together can break through some of the stress of being together so much.

Write

Journaling is of course a good self-care activity. In addition, try writing some poetry, maybe some silly rhymes or limericks. Limerick: a humorous, frequently bawdy, verse of three long and two short lines rhyming. Google some. You’ll probably find ones that make you belly laugh. Be creative with your pen and paper.

The main thing is to take care of yourself during this unprecedented time in our lives.

Here is a free mandala for your to download, print and color. (When printing, if the preview doesn’t fill the page, change the “photo size” to full page)  Enjoy!

http://carolbrusegar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Marvelous-Mandalas-13.jpg

http://carolbrusegar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Marvelous-Mandalas-16.jpg

If you are interested in adult coloring books, there is a huge variety available on Amazon. Here’s a link: http://carolbrusegar.com/Adult-Coloring-Books

 

Stay Hydrated – Always Good Advice, Especially Important Now

WaterDrinking enough water is important all the time. In this current disruption of routines, it may be that you are drinking less. The standard recommendation is 8-10 (or more) 8 ounce glasses per day. Here are 3 reasons that relate specifically to being in this stressful situation for all of us to drink enough water every day.

  • In general, our bodies need water to function and drinking more helps your body operate more effectively – including your immune system.
  • Drinking water improves cognitive function which means we are more aware of our actions and their impact. That helps us make healthy and safe decisions.
  • AND drinking more water means we will use the bathroom more often and wash our hands more often for at least 20 seconds with foaming soap.

In addition, adequate hydration can relieve headaches, improve weight maintenance and weight loss, and give us more energy.

Seven Ways to Drink More Water

Here are some great ideas to help you increase your water intake every day.

  1. Drink Water Before Every Meal, Snack and Cup of Coffee or Other Beverage
  2. Make Infused Water – It adds flavor and may make drinking more appealing. The simplest way is to add wedges of lemon or lime to your water after squeezing some of the juice into your glass. You can also experiment with fruits, vegetables and herbs to find flavors that you especially enjoy.  Read more about doing this here: https://carolbrusegar.com/infused-water-for-health/
  3. Choose a Cup or Bottle You Love to Use – It’s not just appearance, but functionality. You want it to be easy to hold onto while walking. If you drive a lot, you want it to fit perfectly in your cup holder. Depending on your activities, you may want other features. For example, if you bike, you may want a tight lid, but one that is easy to pop off when drinking while riding. You also want the size that contains the amount of water that you need.
  4. Limit Other Drinks You Consume – You can still consume juice or soda occasionally but get in the habit of going first for water when thirsty.
  5. Dilute Juice When You Have It – If you add 4 ounces of water to 8 ounces of juice, you are adding to your day’s water intake as well as reducing your calories, carbs and sugar for that drink.
  6. Enjoy Fruits and Veggies With High Water Content – this can augment your consumption on days when you have not had as much water.  Those with high water content include cucumbers, grapefruit, apples, pineapple, lettuce, celery, radishes and watermelon.
  7. Try Some Water Drinking Reminders Throughout Your Day – If you get into the habit of drinking a glass of water in connection with things you regularly do, you won’t forget to drink enough water. For example, drink a glass of water:
  • Before every meal, snack and other beverage as mentioned earlier
  • When you wake up
  • Before or after walking or workouts
  • After every trip to the bathroom
  • Every time you enter your office or home

Track Your Intake

As you are trying to increase your water intake, it can be very helpful to track it on a daily basis until it is so much a routine that you no longer need to it. It can help to track for a couple of days before you begin to increase intake so that you have an idea what you ordinarily consume. Choose an easy way to track it for you – a notepad or planner, an app on your phone, a program on your computer.

Remember your goal is 8-10 glasses (8 ounces each) per day. Staying hydrated is important to our health all the time, and even more during this time of the pandemic. It’s a simple way to increase our general health.

 

BACK TO NORMAL OR CREATE A NEW NORMAL WHEN THE CRISIS ABATES?

normal or new normalWhat happens when quite suddenly the normal parts of our lives simply STOP or are drastically changed? When work stops or changes? When family patterns are disrupted? When income changes? When our usual recreational activities are halted? When we are separated from normal family and social interaction?

Many of us, after that, have found ourselves actually wanting a NEW, a different normal when we come out on the other side of this. Some of the new normal will be beyond our control. Other things may be chosen or created by us.

Questions

Questions, as is often the case, can open up new things to consider. I found a series of questions posed to his employees by a CEO of a major company in India.* Perhaps you have thought about similar things. For example:

  • “How can we continue to unburden our environment in the future? (Have you seen some of the photos and statistics about how air pollution has changed in some locations during this time of shutdown?)
  • Can we use transport more efficiently?
  • Can we travel less and leave less of a carbon footprint?
  • Can we increase the use of long-distance ways of meeting and communication to work more efficiently and enhance our work life balance?
  • Essentially, can we reboot our personal and professional way of life?”

We may be noticing some of the gaps and weaknesses in the way the country operates while we go through this experience.

  • The inequality of our health care system is certainly being highlighted.
  • As school systems are going to online learning in elementary, middle and high schools, we are hearing about the gap of technology availability within schools and among students of different financial situations.
  • There is a broader technology gap regionally and urban versus rural.
  • The vulnerability of people to this virus in group settings like nursing homes and long-term care facilities and correctional institutions has been highlighted. Are there options that are better for health and safety?

Perhaps we are seeing needs for new structures and services to better meet the needs of individuals and families – more flexibility in how we do our jobs, different kinds of childcare, schools that interact and function differently.  What are you seeing?

New Visions, Values and Priorities?

If we have come out of this experience with new visions, values and priorities for our personal/family lives, for our communities, country and world, it is up to us to be the advocates and activists for those things. We can use the tools of our technology to connect with individuals and groups who are also wanting things to be different. We can help to create the new normal that comes after this.

As things are disrupted by the pandemic, this may be a time when positive changes are more possible than when things are more solidified.  You may find some ideas and inspiration in this book: A Finer Future, Creating an Economy in Service to Life. The authors are world leaders in business, economics and sustainability who have gathered environmental economics evidence, and outlined principles of a regenerative economy, along with a policy road map to achieve it.

 

*Read more about Anand Mahindra and his letter to his employees here: https://www.livemint.com/companies/people/anand-mahindra-tells-employees-to-take-a-relook-at-life-prepare-for-post-corona-world-11585816739150.html