. . . it's time to . . .
On Mondays I share a few tidbits and miscellaneous things I discovered over the weekend. A little of this, some of that. Things to amuse, amaze, entertain, or inform. Maybe even something to rev you up!
This week . . . we're down to the final week before the election. Tensions are high. Overwhelm is everywhere. Weariness is dragging us down. I don't know how you're faring, but I . . . kinda can't stand it. So this weekend, I thought a lot about things I can to do to get through this week with (what remains of) my mental and emotional health intact. It's not so much about starting our engines as keeping them humming this week!
So. Let's get to it.
"If it's out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind, too."
--- Ivan Nuru
Oh, Ivan. What a great quote! Wise words, for sure. But . . . so much easier to say than to do.
The thing is, though . . . most of us have already made up our mind regarding who to vote for in this election. Shoot . . . a lot of us have already voted!
So we've done what we can.
It's out of our hands.
Now . . . we need to free our minds.
Keeping up with the news this week? Not gonna help you! Last March, Lori Gottlieb of the Atlantic said, "Bingeing on up-to-the-minute news is is like stress-eating -- it's bloating our minds with unhealthy foods that will make us sick." So now is the time to . . . walk away from the news. Stop the doomscrolling. The latest Trump outrage or poll result or newest endorsement will not make you feel any better -- and it won't give you that certainty we're all craving right now.
What to do instead?
According to a Cornell study earlier this year (pre-pandemic even), just 10 minutes in a natural setting can help people feel happier and decrease the effects of both physical and mental stress.
So. Take a lot of outside breaks this week. (Maybe every time you feel the urge to check the latest headlines?) Go for a walk around the block. Plant some bulbs in your garden. Look around for the prettiest leaf you can find. Sit on your patio and watch the birds. Anything. Just get yourself outside -- every day!
Whatever that means to you. It doesn't mean you need to sit down on a cushion with your legs crossed. (Although that's a fine way to meditate!) Maybe your version of meditation is . . . knitting. Maybe it's walking. Maybe it's praying. Maybe it's mixing cookies. Maybe it's winding yarn. Meditation . . . is really any way for you to be mindful of whatever it is you're doing -- which calms your mind, slows your breathing and heart rate, and helps you relax and de-stress.
And if you're looking for some music to accompany your meditation practice, I have one to suggest to you:
(Sorry - this is just a screenshot and won't actually play if you try to click the "start" arrow. Here's the link.)
The Wong Janice creates beautiful cello music for meditation and relaxation. Although it may sound a little new-age-kooky, her music is created and designed to relax you! This track, for example, is based on 60 BPM (beats per minute), which is the optimal tempo to get your heart to relax. The music is beautiful, and can serve as a restful accompaniment to any kind of meditation. Give it a try when the stress and fear start creeping in!
I won't harp on about the value of fitness in combatting stress and worry (I do enough of that around here as it is), but . . . moving and getting the blood flowing is a Really Good Thing when you're trying to stay calm and carry on. Take a walk. Do some jumping jacks. Turn on an exercise video. Dance around your kitchen. Just move!
And if you're looking for a gentle yoga stretch, here's a good one to try:
It's Yoga With Adriene's latest Halloween release . . . Yoga for When You Feel Dead Inside. It's designed to get you up and moving when you really feel hollow and empty and, well, dead inside. Like . . . now.
I tried it yesterday. It's gentle - so even if you've never really tried yoga before, it's a good place to start. (And if you've never watched a Yoga With Adriene video before, don't be alarmed by the opening minute. It's her annual Halloween special practice - and she's doing a zombie parody of her usual opening. She doesn't continue the practice in zombie mode.)
Watch a movie!
Kill some time and de-stress with a lighthearted movie (or two). Nothing heavy or overly dramatic this week! Here's a list of 31 Feel-Good Movies That Will Definitely Make You Smile (from Oprah Magazine).
Do you have any movies to add to Oprah's list?
Listen to some music!
The Atlantic has put together a Spotify playlist especially for this week! Twelve songs to "express impatience, agitation, and hope." Give it a listen -- it's a fun list.
What songs would you add?
And . . . that's it for me on this Monday morning. Let me know if you have any other strategies for staying calm in this stressful final week before the election.
Here's to a good week for all of us!
Hang in there.