April- Creativity in Quarantine

Where is your headspace right now? Are you feeling cool, calm, and collected? Overstressed?
Bored? Totally exhausted from managing a family and a job out of your home?

We’re all experiencing this crisis in different ways. Many are struggling, some are thriving. I
have had conversations with people in all different situations and each person’s experience is
valid.  I know that many of you may be struggling, wanting this to be over as soon as possible, or
trying to figure out how to manage this for much longer. That’s totally okay. This is a brand-new
the world right now and it will likely have lasting ripple effects for a long time.
This could be a make it or break it moment for a lot of people. Some marriages are crumbling,
domestic violence has spiked, many people have become food insecure, families with young
children are struggling to keep up with school and work schedules on multiples devices for
multiple family members. It can be a demoralizing time for many, but we have to believe that we
will get through it. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then please reach out to local counselors and
mental health hotlines.

It is okay to feel what you are feeling. You aren’t failing; you’re just learning how to adapt. It
will take time. We have a counselor in our own office who is still doing virtual sessions with
patients. Please feel free to reach out to Gene Foley LCSW at 631.316.5233. The National
Institute of Mental Health also has a number of great resources to reach out to for help:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml.

For some people, this time out has felt like a much-needed breather. I feel almost guilty to admit
that I have been enjoying this time but I am trying to own it and be grateful. I don’t have children
to worry about schooling, and I’m not in any imminent danger of not being able to eat or afford
to live right now. My husband has gotten his unemployment checks and we are used to living a
moderate lifestyle.  We both lean toward being introverted so getting to spend more time at home
doesn’t feel so suffocating for us.

For me, this time has been a chance for my creativity to come alive again. So much of that
creativity is poured into the business on a daily basis that there’s rarely any left for other
projects. I’m not upset about that, it was a choice I made and I like taking care of our customers
and the business. I guess I just didn’t realize how depleted I was allowing myself to be. We
constantly remind our clients of the value of self-care, but sometimes we forget to follow our own
advice.

Aside from the basic concerns of making sure we have our expenses covered until we reopen, I
have had a great lifting of stress because there isn’t a lot I can do day to day for work. There’s
always plenty to work on, like writing blog posts or updating inventory, but now I don’t also
have to do physically exhausting work on top of all of that.
Since I have more time, I’ve found that my interest and ability to do more writing and creative
writing has increased again. I’ve started to make more jewelry for the business, get the online
store up and running, start a personal blog and I’m reading more. This time is the ultimate self-
care treat and I have to stop feeling bad about that. We have such a focus on work in our culture
that it often eclipses everything else. Your value is based on how hard you work or how much
money you make, so much so that we forget how to enjoy ourselves most of the time. It isn’t
about laziness versus hard work, it’s about caring for ourselves while still being productive
members of society.

For me, this is the ultimate lesson in self-care. If you have the time and ability to nurture yourself
right now then do it!  I’ve seen more of my neighborhood on foot than I have in the past 6 years
of living here. I’ve had time to plant seeds in my garden and eat out on the back patio, which I
was far too busy to do last year. So while I know that not everyone is having the luxury of all
these things, I know that those who are should be grateful that we were forced to take this huge
pause and to re-evaluate things. And to those people who are bored or starting to go stir-crazy,
just think of all of the things you can do right now! There’s always something you can be
learning whether it’s online or in the kitchen, out in the garden, or on a nature walk.

I hope that we can carry-over some of these lessons as a more normal life begins to re-emerge.
We are going to have to get better at balancing our work and playtime. We can’t forget that our
minds and bodies need nurturing through creativity, relaxation, movement, and enjoyment of
nature. I hope that by sharing honestly how I’m experiencing this crisis that it will help some of
you to embrace the benefits of this giant time-out or give you a perspective different from your
own in a time when division is rising again.

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