Staying centered in times of crisis

As more and more of us are relying on technology to stay connected right now, it’s really important to remember that we are not our social media pages.

We are not our profile photos, websites, handles or email addresses.

And if you’re like me and already work from home most days, or run an online business, you might be used to the contradictory ways technology brings us together while also keeping us separate.

So much has changed in the past week. Here in my city, we are not under lockdown but we are close. Most stores are closed. People are filling their time with walks in the park and social dates on Skype.

I’ve seen so many different reactions bubble up in people in recent days: Panic. Fear. Confusion. Worry. Sadness. Loneliness.

One thing I’ve been surprised by is how urgently I’ve seen some fill up their time in only a matter of days. Every morning on the news the anchors ask viewers to send in stories about how they “getting creative” about self-isolation.  

Which makes me wonder if questions like that psych some people out a little more than is necessary.

Why not ask how you are caring for yourself? How your self-care looks right now? How you are nourishing yourself, resting, recharging, or unwinding?  

I have seen some friends go into hyper-speed in how much they are doing – much more than might normally happen in a week otherwise.

Especially with technological alternatives: FaceTime calls, online dance classes, YouTube tutorials, multiple social media posts a day.

But I get it. We are all trying to figure out what to do right now. How to be, how to react.

There is no right or wrong, though I do want to offer a suggestion:

Go easy on your screen time if you’re feeling burned out.

Remember: We are people, not robots. Being plugged in all the time takes energy just like anything else we do.

There’s been a compulsion in the air to keep checking the news, refreshing timelines, and scouring the internet for updates and distractions from those updates.

As someone whose routine is largely unchanged by measures of self-isolation, let me tell you that the pressure to be online all the time can be incredibly draining.

As a self-employed person with an online business, I spend anywhere from 20 – 30 hours a month delivering tarot readings and classes on video platforms alone – not to mention the rest of the work I do in between.

By the end of the day, I need a break from it all. The screens, the scheduling, the set ups, the uploads and downloads of files. The checking, checking, and checking of messages and notifications.

I’ve seen some say that the downtime coming from self-isolation can be a great time to write a novel, learn a new language or start a business – and yes, it can be.

If that is something you were already planning on doing.

But don’t be pressured into thinking you need to be using this time productively. And don’t guilt yourself into taking on projects or plans if the timing feels less than ideal.

The world is unwell right now. No matter how you are affected by the situation we are facing, it’s important to acknowledge your own feelings in it.

Collective emergencies can be stressful. Adding a hyper-active schedule to your life that is suddenly full of video chats, virtual meetups and pressures to take on big creative projects or reach new personal goals can add unnecessary stress in a time when so much is up in the air.

Balance is a cliché, I know, but what better time to start to practicing it.

Remember that your mind can only take so much information in a day.

And you can only produce so much at a time.

Remember, too, that it’s still important to rest, reflect and clear your head so that you can gain perspective, stay centered and keep attuned to your spirit.

Don’t feel that you need to be filling your time with more plans than you would typically have in a regular week – especially if it’s only leading to stress.

Don’t feel that you need to be staying hyper-productive or hyper-busy right now – especially if you’re feeling scattered, unfocused, and in desperate need a quiet hour or two to simply gather your thoughts.

Stay intentional with who you are, what matters most, and what you need to focusing on right now – and let go of what you don’t.

As always, follow what feels right for you. Take a rest from what doesn’t.

Until next time,

Liz xo

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