Okay, let’s have an honest discussion here.
We’ve been at this pandemic thing for over a year now. We’ve been sick, terrified, and TP deprived. We’ve been nowhere since we can remember, and if it weren’t for Netflix, we’d have totally lost our shit long ago. And that’s not even counting the chaos in our government. Politics has passed swamp stage to primordial ooze, and I’ve had people ask me if I’m prepping. Not crazy people, either.
Through it all, I’ve been writing. Not my normal 4 mph treadmill hike, but writing, and I turned in a rewrite of my (if there is a God), WF debut novel yesterday. But I know many writers who haven’t put a word on a page since this began.
Have to admit, though, my reading has taken a bull’s eye hit. I’m reading maybe a fifth of my usual rate. I have a hard time staying engaged with even books by my auto-buy authors.
You’re probably experiencing the above, or worse. With the new strain and inadequate vaccine supplies, the optimism of the New Year is dwindling like a snowbank in June.
I believe that creatives have even a harder time in precarious times, because we have to stay open. You can’t just observe – to convey emotion with any authenticity, you have to feel it, on a very deep level. That means leaving yourself vulnerable to the hard stuff hurtling at you. This is what creatives do for their art. And if you think it’s easy or fun, you are sorely mistaken. I’m empathic as well, which means I take on the emotions of others. Helps with the writing, but it can destroy you if you let it.
So what do you do about it?
I’ve learned the hard way how to survive. One gift I took away from domestic abuse in my past was strong self-care and coping tools, and I’ll share my biggest one:
When you can’t control damaging things coming at you, if you can’t dodge or run from it, you need to be able to protect yourself.
What works for me (besides staying away from the news), I learned from a therapist. I hope it will help you.
I picture myself in a bubble. You know, like the soap bubbles you blew as a kid. It’s permeable, but YOU decide what gets in. You have no control over what others say or do, but you don’t have to let it touch you. The bubble helps remind me where I leave off, and where the world takes over. I’m safe there.
Sound dumb? Too simple? Maybe, but try it. When you’re stressed and feeling like you have no control over what’s happening around you, jump into your bubble. It changes my whole attitude, and it’s saved my mental health and wellbeing for years.
Please stay safe my friends.
What coping skills work for you? Please share them with us!