I often write about how to look at things with a new perspective, how to turn things on edge to get a new view and shake things up to activate your curiosity muscle, but we are currently in an extreme shake-up, the world is turned upside down. So how do you bring some balance back and reclaim your sanity? With all venues closing including theatres, music venues and galleries, creatives along with small independent business owners are being hit extremely hard. Many won’t survive without help. I felt myself being pulled into the vortex of despair. It is a strong current and everywhere, so what to do?
Look for the helpers and avoid the blamers
This will save your sanity. I found myself reading about all the events being cancelled, mine included, and seeing a lot of the year’s income being wiped out in a matter of days. It’s like a financial tsunami. We stand in shock. The wave of people being pulled into the vortex of despair is overwhelming. So, I am here to hold out a hand, grab hold. We are creative, we are united, we have each other. I see us coming out of hibernation with a new appreciation of what is meaningful.
The helpers are the folks who are first to call someone who may need food from the market, a Skype chat or offer an ear to listen. The blamers need no definition and I urge you to avoid engaging in discussion on social media, you will only end up feeling upset. I haven’t stopped reading posts and I do enjoy a lot of the humor that is being shared, but I found myself this morning feeling down and a bit hopeless. This is not my nature, so I decided to share with you what I do to resist the pull of fear.
Face the fear
This is an unprecedented event and everyone is scrambling to figure it out. You have survived other unprecedented events in your life. What were they and how did you come out the other side better than when you entered? Name an event whether it was a loss, an illness, a betrayal or some other life changing event and write it down. Then take a moment to recall how you struggled with moving through this. Choose an event that you have already moved through to help you with this exercise. Recall the initial fear and anxiety. Write this down. Write about what you did to move through it and finally what did you gain after surviving this event. I would love to hear your story.
I survived being left in the middle of nowhere, without an ID, any money or not knowing how to contact anyone. This was way before internet. I survived, I found my friends and I got my stuff back. It was 500 miles from where I was left. A miracle, yes, and so I do believe in miracles.
Take three deep breaths. Roll your shoulders and release. Take three more deep breathes and smile. Take three more deep breathes and stretch, three more and smile. By now you have begun to change your chemistry. Try it, it works. The smile trains your brain to release happy endorphins and deep breathing and stretching calms the adrenaline of stress.
Voice your worries to someone you trust
You can even email me. Life as we know it is changing under our feet. When you release your fears either by writing them down or best actually giving them voice; they are released from inside you and no longer hold power over you. I say, “Fear, I see you. Fear of loss, fear of unknowing, fear of change, I release you. You no longer control me”. Then repeat the previous breathing exercise.
Look for the good
I was in Venice not long ago along with lots of other tourists. Now the square is empty and I am seeing photos of the canals running clear. Less travel reduces our carbon footprint. Taking time to do all the little things you have put off because of your busy schedule may reawaken a forgotten passion.
Rethink your plan
Many galleries are closing temporarily and the way art is shared and sold may change in the future. I am fortunate that I have been filming online classes for some time. I taught myself how to do this and during the process I discovered that I really liked editing. Times may require you to try something you had not considered before, and you may discover a new passion.
Writing or making a visual journal of what you are feeling and going through is very therapeutic. During stressful times I took to automatic writing a couple of pages every morning. I would just write stream of consciousness and not read what I had written. It just got stuff out of the way. You can do the same thing with a visual journal. Take a page first thing in the morning and doodle, draw, paint or collage to get the stuff out of the way so you can let your best self-return.