These are strange and uncertain times. The world looks very different than it did just a few weeks ago. As writers, we may be used to working from home, spending a lot of time alone in our own minds, and possibly prepping our characters for an imaginary apocalypse. But this is a global reality we’re facing, and yes, it’s scary. We don’t know where we’ll be in a week, a month, a year.
Most days I am not a worrier. It’s my nature to look on the bright side, to see potential in situations, to act first with openness, and to not assume things will go badly. But some days, it’s hard, even for me. The world is a complex, worrisome place right now. Even if I’m not swept up in the outside chaos, I have kids, a husband, friends, all of whom I love – and I worry about them.
When I’m gripped with worry, or its nastier sibling, fear, I remind myself of these simple principles on which I try to base both my inner mindset and my outward behavior. Maybe you will find them helpful?
Fear is toxic.
It’s so easy to become swept up in the chaos, to imagine worst case scenarios, but fear will not positively impact outcome.
Laughter is good.
From my days as an EMT, and then later as a medical student, I remember well the gallows humor my colleagues and I resorted to in times of stress. We took our jobs and training very seriously, but a common outlet was laughter. Now, every morning, I give my kids their ‘apocalypse cleaning list’ and sing them lines from REM’s “It’s the end of the world as we know it.”
Gallows humor aside, laughter is healthy, and it’s okay to find joy in any moment we can.
This moment is all we are guaranteed.
When the future is so murky, we are forced to live in the here and now. We can appreciate a walk with the dog, a dinner with our family, the sunrise over the water.
My first gesture anywhere, anytime can always be one of kindness.
The very things we used to do to comfort each other are now the very things that may put ourselves or our neighbors in danger – personal contact, community gatherings, neighborly visits. But we can still speak, write, and interact (even virtually) with kindness.
Live simply so others may simply live.
I can’t remember where I first heard this little gem, but it feels so relevant right now. If we use what we need, but not more, there will be enough.
Self-care is important during times of stress.
Now, more than ever, we should treat ourselves gently. This may mean having a cup of tea in the morning on the quiet of our porch, it may mean giving ourselves a break from a daily word count if we just can’t get into the mindset, or it may mean sticking to our routines if they help keep us in a good headspace.
Here are some thoughts from a previous post titled Battling Through the Winter Blues. But, you can rename it Battling Through the Apocalypse Blues should you wish to utilize the previously mentioned gallows humor.
We’re in this together.
Even from a place of physical isolation, we can still find community. In my experience, the writing community has always been creatively supportive, uplifting, and encouraging. In the coming days, let’s remember we have each other to lean on.