Quicksand and Car Engines
Well, it has been a hot minute. How is everyone doing? Are you sane? Losing it slowly? Already lost it? I am nodding with you.
I hope wherever you are reading this you understand something: whoever you are or have become during this pandemic is not right or wrong, it’s just you, doing something you have never done, and we all need to be extra gentle with ourselves. Leave the judgment outside but please, do bring the wine in. It’s hot out there.
As an introvert, I feel like I have been training for COVID my entire adult life. What I was not prepared for was all this time in my head. Usually, that’s my favorite place, but this pandemic has no definitive ending, so my anxiety kicks in and that once relished pensiveness becomes a dangerous quicksand. Anyone else feel this way? It’s disorienting and scary. The more you let the mind run unchecked, the less actual freedom you have.
Over the last five months, I am sure you have put a lot of thought into your life--this very ephemeral life. And if you are like me, you have used a metaphorical colander to let some things fall away that no longer serve you (or better yet, never did). What do you truly value? Where will you no longer compromise? How many new boundaries have you created? What are you going to do with this precious life on the other side of this virus?
If you are expecting me to go into a bit about wine in this post, not this time. This is a mental health check-in, for you and for me. We all know our “health is everything” and this is true, but I would add that our mental health is THE apex of our overall health. The mind-body connection is crucial. You cannot be stressed and depleted, running on fumes or suffering from anxiety and depression and be living a healthy life. Don’t fool yourself. And no amount of wine or any other substance is going to change your reality. You wouldn’t drive a car without a steering wheel. You might think the engine runs great, but with no way to choose and execute a direction, it’s best to just stay in the driveway.
If you can meditate, do. If you can be in nature, do. Wrap yourself in your favorite music and conversations. Reach out when you feel like no one is reaching in. I guarantee, on days when you feel low, someone else is feeling lower. Call them. Do something to lift another. The side effects are far better than any prescriptive medicine. Set a ripple of healing into the water we are all feverishly treading.
I have to take my own advice and it’s not easy. But keeping even one small promise to yourself each day is how we move onward and upward. It’s how we keep the quicksand from winning.
I will be circling back with articles on wine (of course) but this entry felt important.
You bring value to the world.
You are loved.
You are enough.
Just keep going.
*Photo above is at my most favorite place on earth, our family cabin on Parksville Lake in the Cherokee National Forrest in southeast Tennessee. If my ideal mental health had a feeling, this would be it.