Last week I opened my computer with the intent to write in my journal about the pandemic and protests that are distressing the population. But first I looked at my email where I found a request from a newer member of my Toastmasters Club. She wanted me to review and provide feedback on the content of her first planned speech.
I went through her speech about growing up in India, being competitive and coming to the United States for her advanced degree. I provided feedback. It took about 30 minutes. Afterward, my mood had brightened; I was no longer drawn to write about the current national gloom.
For some, the current issues are impacting them directly and very deeply. The current situations will likely change lives for decades. Those who have not suffered should be mindful of the pain of those who have been or continue to be injured. We should not ignore what is going on around us. For our sanity, we need to know when and how to step away from the anxiety that threatens to envelop us. We are at an intersection in our lives where the results are unknown, and the safest paths are barely identifiable. That is frightening.
If you are able, you should access your favorite escape. My escapes are Toastmasters and my Writers Workshop group. For others, your escape might be online yoga or meditation. Practice your painting or other creative craft, read a new novel (ideally, something light). Turn to your religion or spiritual guidance. Carve a path to peace.
Sometimes the opportunity for a life-brightener will pop up unexpectedly like the email from my Toastmasters colleague. Other times, you need to take a breath and tell yourself “step away from the news.”
You may find relief by providing relief. A few days ago, my daughter came home from work looking emotionally ragged. She has been working on-site for a state entity throughout the pandemic. She is aware of her risk of exposure every day that she goes to work. The current events and apparent lack of compassion in certain situations anger and distress her.
That evening when she came home, I saw and heard her anxiety. I responded verbally to her concerns. Then I found a video of pets doing crazy things. We watched for more than an hour, after which the wrinkles from around her eyes had disappeared. That night she slept better, too. Sometimes, the smallest gestures are sufficient to lighten the emotional load.
In addition to providing support to loved ones, you can also provide support to those most in need. I have a friend who puts together meals for people experiencing homelessness and distributes them. There is a greater need now because some resources have dried up as well.
Volunteer, make donations, assist your neighbors.
Escape the frustration of inaction by approaching situations with solutions. Even small ideas can help you to relax and may make a big difference to those who are suffering.
Take time for yourself to escape the distress.
Life should be an adventure! It is for Roxy Merizalde; sometimes by choice, sometimes not.
Roxy works for Texas Workforce Commission as a Training Specialist. Pre-COVID-19, she traveled throughout Texas teaching staff The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST). Development activities include TWIST, WIT and SharePoint courses and online versions for TWIST.