- Cheri Honeycutt, M.Ed.
Crazy times, am I right? How do we keep from going NUTS?!
Click here to learn about Shelter in Place Power Hours. They will be held evey day at 10 am EST until this crisis is over.
So . . .how ya doin now that that damn coronavirus showed up and changed all of our lives?
I’m not doing so well. I’m kind of like the rainy weather we’ve been having these days; mostly cloudy with the occasional glimpse of blue skies. So why am I writing you in my current mood? Aren’t I supposed to be someone who’s positive and brings you tips for creating your ideal life? I am, but sheesh . . . who would've ever expected this? I know I could've never imagined this ka-ra-zee-ness. Things are truly scary for all of us but let me confess to you how I’m making things worse ☹. I do this to see if you can relate. But don’t worry, I’m also going to share with you an idea how to make things a bit brighter. These days, I’m swirling in fear. I’m not specifically fearful of the corona virus per se. Rather, I’m frightened of total financial ruin (too many apocalyptic novels, I suppose). I’m afraid of the long-term consequences of all of this. When I dig around in this fear, what I’ve uncovered is that I fear being “outed”. Outed for not being a good Girl Scout/Financial planner who was prepared for something like this. I’m scared that my money woes will be made public. For example, the fact that I couldn’t pay for my house for more than a month or two without work (I know, I know . . . most people couldn’t either). Or that I’ve bought too many clearance items from TJ Maxx over the years instead of stuffing those one-dollar bills in a Folger’s can and
saving them for a rainy day. Or that I’ve spent the last year trying to grow a coaching business that wasn’t a sure thing instead of working a “regular” job that paid a specific wage per hour. None of these fears consumed me before the last week or two but each have emerged of late and are playing like a scary Civil War movie complete with scenes of me digging in my back yard for the last shriveled carrot. Oh, the drama!!!!
To combat this fear, my inner drill sergeant has also emerged. He's lept into action and has started to bark orders to the Scarlet O’Hara part of me that is crumpled on the floor. “Get up you sniveling piece of crap! This is the perfect time to get some real shit done! Quit whining and get your ass in gear!” (Man, he’s brutal!) You see, my default remedy for fear has been to swing the pendulum all the way over to the other side to the part of me that wants to do something HUGE and SIGNIFICANT. The drill sergeant relentlessly reminds me that I must do “important things” RIGHT NOW. She says “Why not use this time to write that memoir you’ve been meaning to write? Hut two, Hut two” Or “Get off your fat ass and create your own personal weight loss boot camp and lose that extra weight while you’ve got nothing else to do?” Or “Flesh out that new business idea you had. Forget that the world has changed. Do it anyway!!!!” Or, "While you’ve got nothing else to do, create an on-line course that saves the world while you’re at it?!” SHEESH! What a huge mistake. It’s a mistake because these aren’t ordinary times. For most of us, we’re not capable of doing big things right now when we’re just trying to figure out how to live day-to-day with the unknown. It’s not like we’ve been “gifted” with time to do those amazing, heart-felt, dig-deep projects. At least I can’t do it. I can barely string together enough attention span to write this email. In fact, I can’t stay focused on anything for very long at all (can you feel me?). So, letting my inner drill sergeant/idealist take over and set expectations that I can use this time wisely is a load of crap. Are you doing this to yourself?
Repeat after me . . .
This is not the time to overhaul my life.
This is not the time to take big, bold actions.
This is not the time to push myself to do anything significant.
Well, it could be for you . . . so don’t let me stop you. But if you’re like the 99% of the world who are just treading water, CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK! I’m pretty clear on what I’ve been doing that is NOT working. Now, let me share with you something I’ve done which has helped me feel a bit more settled and productive. While I can’t muster of the energy to do deep, meaningful work, I can and MUST do something. I need to do things that stimulate me, are healthy distractions from my fear and make me feel productive. I did what I do best . . . I pulled out my post-it notes and made a list. I made a big list of what I COULD do. Having a large amount of unscheduled time is maddening for me. I love a full calendar and a hearty, multi-dimensional plan. But now I'm faced with a lot of free time, an empty calendar and no place to go. Ironically, all of this free time has caused me to feel stuck. I liken it to a blank page that wants to be written on, but the writer just doesn’t know where to begin. I had a sort of writer’s block, if you will. So, I began with an inventory of things that I would like to see DONE. I didn’t ask myself what I wanted to do. Instead, I made a list of the things that bug me under normal circumstances and that would feel good if they were done. Here’s my actual list. (and a little braggin' about the things I've already finished)
Purge books and pull out ones to get rid of
Wash kitchen cabinets
Scrub the back door
Pressure wash the outdoor rug
Purge old financial papers and make a box of items to be shredded (1/2 done)
Reorganize work shelves in basement (done)
Caulk tub in downstairs bathroom (done)
Caulk the kitchen counter top
Clean and paint outdoor flower containers
Move the pots to new locations (done)
Repair and paint front door
Sort old cans of paint and relabel them
Deep clean the living room
Deep clean the guest room
Deep clean downstairs bathroom (done)
Deep clean office
Reorganize office and home paperwork (done)
Sort old photos
Computer: Purge old files, Organize Evernote, Re-order Life by Design Files
Clean outdoor refrigerator
Spray the weeds in the side yard (done)
Scrub the mailbox (done)
Put out some grass seed on side yard(done)
Spread mulch beside backyard stairs (done)
Weed the gardens (done)
Clean up behind the brick wall
Mark and I complete "Five Wishes"
Fix pillow in bedroom
Hang fallen picture in bedroom
Reorganize attic closet (done)
Throw away old plants (done)
Find items for neighborhood garden sale (done)
Reorganize drawer in dining room buffet & liquor cabinet(done)
Purge Camping boxes (done)
Write a newsletter (doing 😊)
Purge office supplies
Feed plants (done)
Life by Design: Write Business by Design Page
At first the list sat there like a mandate. It felt heavy, like a huge, oppressive to-do list. I had to shift how I saw it. I had to remind myself everything on that list was optional. It was not a mandate, rather it was a buffet. A buffet I could select from if and when I wanted something to do. I got to ask myself, “What do I want to do right now?” Then I could pick one. So, I did. I picked a small one and did it. It felt great to be distracted. It felt great to bring order to something. It really did. To take action and to see something change. It felt delicious and healing. Like submerging into a warm bath. Ahhhhhh Then I did another and another.
This is really working or me . . . it's calming the fear, it's tempering my anxiety, it's helping me "right size" what's happening in the world.
Not every day or every minute. I'm still dipping into fear and boredom and worry. But I look at my list and ask myself “What energy do I have IN THIS MOMENT and what would I like to get done?” I may have two or three of these projects going at once because my attention span is so short. I work a puzzle for a few minutes, make some chicken salad, organize my desk, caulk the tub, read for 10 – 15 minutes, return to the puzzle, straighten up a drawer, take a nap, pick a few recipes I want to try, sort through 2 or 3 files and then work the puzzle some more. (sometimes I do all of this in one hour). Movement fights depression.
Movement prevents things from becoming stagnant and “algae-filled”. Movement keeps us flexible and mentally and emotionally limber. We’ve got to move. We’ve got to do things. We’ve got to stay flexible and healthy. My advice in these crazy times is to do something every day that can’t be undone in a day. Not too lofty, not too heady but something you can see and feel as complete. Organize something. Purge something. Clean something. Move something! Sweep the cobwebs out of your home and your mind. Then don’t forget to exercise, drink some water, wash your hands and talk to or text someone every day. Go out into nature and take care of yourself, my friend! Click here to learn about Shelter in Place Power Hours! Beginning Friday, March 27 and going through April 3rd.