These are crazy days, huh?
After my last post, about a month ago, I got kind of busy and was focused on other things. I’m having a hard time trying to commit to one line of work. I was working on a book – I have about 3 book ideas that I’ve been trying to get out of my head. Then, I really want to write a newspaper article, or three, for a magazine I love and include some of my photographs. Then I got the idea to resurrect my grandparenting blog but with a slightly different spin. I had ideas and merch and all sorts of things. Then, my Etsy shop is always out there begging for products and I had some really great ideas for products to encourage kids in the arts. And I really love social media and the creative possibilities there and I find myself spending a lot of time there. So, many things, so hard to commit.
Then, I listened to a podcast called “Creative Pep Talk” by Andy J. Miller and he really helped me. He said that artists are always interested in many different mediums and so we can get bogged down in the “maybe.” He said it was important to have a goal and commit to the medium that can make all the other things we want to do possible. So, I am trying to narrow my focus.
In these crazy days of coronavirus, my latest idea is to focus on contributing a little hope, joy, and beauty to the world of social media. By putting more out there, I will be creating (I hope) a good following which will make all the other things I want to do, possible.
So, my goal is to make an Instagram/Facebook story everyday that will encourage and uplift. Now that I’ve said it I feel pressured to do it, haha!
I also want to try to put a transcript or summary of sorts here for people who would rather read than watching something on social media. So, here’s the first one….
When I was a young mother with toddlers I was often stuck at home because we were dirt poor and I didn’t often have a car. I couldn’t just say, “I want to go to the park today” because I either didn’t have a car or the money for gas. I couldn’t just buy what I wanted at the store because we were broke. Then, on top of it all, my sister, who lived next door, had a terminal illness. I was one of her primary caretakers and so I was concerned for her all the time. I didn’t feel like I could make any decisions about my life. I was not in control and I never knew what was going to happen next.
Focus on What’s Closest To You
Everything piled up and I started having panic and anxiety attacks. I started going to counseling and I was given one piece of advice that I still use today: Focus on what’s closest to you.
The anxiety I had would manifest in a variety of ways. Sometimes I would be deathly afraid of storms for a few months, then I would be afraid of getting sick or being with large groups of people. Once, when I was afraid of being stuck in traffic I remember the counselor telling me that when the wave of anxiety began to rise to focus on what was closest to me. Change the radio station, adjust the air, or dust the dashboard. It worked.
I still practice that today. When all this scary news about the coronavirus gets to me and I start trying to predict the future and I can’t imagine what’s going to happen, I reel my thoughts in and focus on just today. I’m going to cook dinner, wash a load of clothes, or dust my desk. I can go for a walk or organize the junk drawer. All those things give me a sense of accomplishment and control.
The Art of Distraction
Another skill I learned was The Art of Distraction. If you have a hobby or activity that you can do that is all-consuming, engrossing and is such a diversion that you lose track of time, consider yourself lucky! Participating in those kinds of activities are a blessing and is a way to combat anxiety. It’s relaxing and blissful to be able to turn off the worrisome thoughts that can flood our minds by doing a jigsaw puzzle, listening to music, watching a movie or doing a craft.
It’s all a mind game. Worrying and allowing anxious thoughts to consume you does NO good except to make you sick and tired.
Worry Is Good For Nothing
To worry about your loved ones is not proof you love them. To worry about the state of the world is not proof that you’re a responsible adult. Worrying can not change the future or the past. Worry is good for nothing.
Focus On Just Today
Reel in those anxious thoughts and focus on just today. What are you going to accomplish today? You probably can’t save the world, but can you clean your kitchen? You probably can’t go heal all the sick in the hospital, but you can read a book to your child. Let’s don’t try to compare and measure the good we can do. Like acorns, small bits of goodness can grow into mighty great and wonderful things.
I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better.”
~part of a Walt Disney quote