Rebecca went back to DC over Labor day to see her family for the first time since March. Keep in mind she used to travel back there every two weeks so it was surreal that what used to be incidental felt overwhelming. Would it be safe in the airport? On the plane? Should she take an Uber? Should she quarantine and if so, how?
At first, she was pretty vigilant about maintaining physical distance. However, within just a couple of days, she noticed frequent, if only minor, lapses. But then, by the end of the trip, Rebecca threw up her hands in surrender. Maintaining physical distance around loved ones seems like an impossible task!
Rebecca came to the realization that it was better that she not travel back East anytime soon which led to a discouraging conversation with her mother, Lee. Lee also threw up her hands in surrender, but to the Corona virus, exclaiming “I just can’t do this anymore!”
It seems like she, and many of our clients we are hearing, have a sense that “We’ve all done our due diligence, we practiced social distancing, but enough already! This should be over!” And yet we’re told that not only is it not, but we may be in for more shutdowns with the fall flu season.
So, after briefly letting herself experience the sense of helplessness and agitation that so many of us are feeling as a result of ongoing COVID restrictions, Lee realized that she needed to find a project to focus on and channel her frustration. So she began sewing aprons for all of her loved ones.
She ordered bunch of fabric from Spoonflower (we highly recommend them for fabric lovers–they have designs of anything you can imagine) and is making aprons for Christmas presents. She calls Rebecca continuously to help choose the right material for one person, the right buttons for another. She has gotten so energized by making them that she keeps adding people to her list.
Not surprisingly, the moral of this story is if you are going stir crazy in the Pandemic, make things! This goes back to the work of people like Csikszentmihalyi (father of flow theory) and other positive psychologists who suggest that activities that get us in to flow–gardening, sewing, coloring, climbing, running, cooking, painting, tinkering on a car, etc.-help us feel engaged and give us a sense of connection and purpose.
In addition, it can add to the experience to share it with others such as Lee is doing both by giving her aprons as gifts and enlisting Rebecca’s help with the designs. Or, if you’re doing something like coloring, Rebecca discovered a bunch of Facebook groups where people share their drawings with each other. Now that’s positive psychology in action–use FB as a means to connect around positive interests rather than as the divisive distraction it can become.
For those of you who would like to engage in something more civic-minded, Lee also participated in a letter-writing campaign encouraging people to vote. Vote Forward provides names of people you can write to (as few as 5 or as many as 100, 200 etc.). You print out the letters which have a blank space where you write a couple of sentences (non-partisan) about why you vote. Then you send the letters out Oct 17th. Caveat–you have to provide your own paper, envelopes, and stamps which may be prohibitive for some. Rebecca and Lee are in competition–Rebecca is now in the lead at 50 and Lee close behind with 45. Go here to learn more https://votefwd.org/.
In closing, as we have in recent months, we give you a handout on coping with COVID 19 with a list of activities to help channel your energy and find meaningful ways to engage during this challenging time. We send you our well wishes and our support as we all continue to cope with this “novel” situation, and with life in general.
Positively Yours, Rebecca & Gioia
Go to this 250 Creative Ways to Keep Your Family Sane During COVID 19 and find an art project that you want to engage in. We might suggest getting creative with collage and makings cards for your friends and loved ones, especially folks who are still required to be on some sort of lock down. Feel free to share them or anything that you think is helping during COVID19 on our Facebook page.