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Self-Care In Stressful Times

Last updated: September 2022

We’re probably living in a time of peak opinion, opining, emoting, and hot takes. The feelings seem to fly out of our fingers and mouths faster than we can say hashtag or filter. Sigh.

I’m not here to urge you to delete certain apps or to discard technologies that “must” be the root of our current ills. Most technologies and practices have risks, benefits, and trade-offs. Folks need to figure out what works best for them.

Times have changed!

Many years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I didn’t have a cell phone, we didn’t have immediate access to other people’s thoughts, feelings, or activities.  Life was a lot more private.

Pizza, vacation pictures, and birthday cakes were doubly  private because these pictures might spend weeks, months, or even years trapped inside a canister on something called film. Check with the Smithsonian about film and other antiquities such as the pyramids  and Henry Ford’s Model T car.

It’s easy to forget that the current state of hyper commentary and constant visibility is brand new in terms of human history. That means we need self-care best practices and considerations for this new environment. Here are a few of mine.

You don’t owe anybody engagement

You’re under no obligation to read, like, share, or reply to anything. It’s acceptable to keep scrolling, log off, and go on with your day. That’s what I usually do with simplistic or inflammatory comments on my timeline.

Unknowns are real

Some people have no idea what they're talking about. Depending upon the topic, any of us are capable of commenting from deep ignorance. Our feelings might be earnest, sincere, heartfelt, or passionate, but still uninformed. It’s not your job to resolve this.  It’s okay to just live your life.

Invest in what matters

The pandemic found me rebuilding my professional and personal life after years of eldercare responsibilities and other career disruptions. Intentionally reconnecting with old contacts and seeking out new ones has changed everything. I feel less alone and more ready to get back out there when the time is right.

Build your squad

The small artists group early in 2021 has transformed my artistic practice from a vague sensing of work to a strong focus, with lots of productivity. We still meet weekly to critique each other’s work and encourage each other. I feel hopeful and optimistic about what the group and I will accomplish.

Consider what you'd like to change

I'm uncomfortably minimizing this extended season of instability and grief. We’ve been through some really terrible stuff and we don’t know how or when it will end, but it will end because everything ends. With that ending in mind, how do you want your life to be when it comes?

  • How do you want to spend your time?
  • Who do you want in your life?
  • What’s something you’ve always wanted to do or a place you’d like to go?
  • What’s better left in the past?

Okay, it's time to get going.

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