In these extraordinary and challenging times, the arts offer much-needed solace, connection, upliftment and inspiration.
Fortunately, many artists and arts organizations are making all sorts of offerings available for free online right now. So, just because you can’t go out doesn’t mean you cannot stay inspired and connected to the gifts that only art can give.
But I also want to address some practical things you can do to keep your spirits up and navigate this unprecedented time well.
In this post, I have collected a bunch of resources to help you stay well, sane and inspired. Read on!
A Simple Four-Step Plan for Balance and Well-Being
I called one of my neighbors, who lives alone and is retired, this past weekend to check on how she is doing during the Shelter In Place order.
She told me she has made a three-step daily plan for herself that is so simple and wise I had to share it with you. Thank you, Julie!
As we talked, I added a fourth step. So, here are the four things I recommend you do each day during this time.
This is a great opportunity to cultivate your spiritual practices. We need practices like meditation, prayer, chanting and gratitude to counterbalance the fear, grief and stress and the negative effects of the news and social media.
These vital practices restore peace and balance and help us function at our best in trying times. They also help your immune system stay strong, since stress is the number one contributing factor in disease.
2. Get outside and get some exercise.
To feel well in body, mind, heart and soul, you need fresh air and sunlight. Even it’s raining, there is a lot of sunlight in the sky. The vitamin D we get from the sun is vital to our health, our good mood, and to disease-prevention.
You also need to move your body. So, even if the weather is foul, bundle up and get outside every day and get your body moving. Get some good exercise.
3. Do a project.
If you aren’t working right now from home, give yourself some project to work on every day, some focal point to your day, something that will feel good to do or have done.
Maybe it’s time to finally declutter your home. My neighbor cleaned out her fridge one day and is moving on to the kitchen cabinets.
I recommend creative projects or any fun, playful activities too. Get out the guitar and sing. Make a painting or a collage. Plant your garden. Finally mend the clothes you’ve had piled up for years. Make a beaded necklace. Write that novel or memoir.
Give yourself some project to do or make progress on each day.
4. Call a friend.
Especially if you live alone but even if you don’t, call a friend. Reach out by phone and talk to another human being every single day.
We all need this especially much right now—even if we have family at home with us. Just because you cannot spend time in person with others does not mean you have to be isolated.
Humans need connection to be healthy and well. Get over your awkwardness and reach out. You and your friends will both be grateful that you did.
Sources of Inspiration and Virtual “Artist Dates”
You can’t go to an actual museum or theater, but you can still engage in live art.
This list offers livestream concerts in a crazy range of musical genres and artists that are happening for free right now. https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816504058/a-list-of-live-virtual-concerts-to-watch-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown
You can tour great museums and galleries online. It’s not the same as seeing the real art, but it’s something that can nourish you during this time. https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/mar/23/10-of-the-worlds-best-virtual-museum-and-art-gallery-tours
Listen to live online readings by writers with interviews afterward—an amazing lineup! https://www.writingxwriters.org/readings-by-writers
As one of the volunteers helping to produce the Sierra Poetry Festival, I want to let you know we are scrambling to figure out how we can bring as much of the Festival as possible, including some of the pop-up events throughout April, to you through virtual events. Check this site for updates: https://www.sierrapoetryfestival.org/
Self-Care for the Blues
With so much isolation, and in some places, winter weather still happening, you may find it hard to stay out of gloom, malaise or depression. Here are some things that can really make a difference.
I wrote this article earlier this winter. In it, I offer 7 excellent strategies for dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder aka winter blues. But no matter the outer weather, most of these seven things are excellent tools to use at any time when you are feeling down.
I hope you’ve found something here to help you navigate this time. I’m sending you love and prayers for your well-being.