Coping Amidst COVID

Things are weird, we can all agree on that right? I had to keep rewriting this post because thing change every day.

It’s taken pretty much all of my mental energy to not despair. I still have money, food, and a place to live, so everything is pretty much okay.

The stressful part is no one knows what’s going to happen next; all rules have been thrown out the window, new information surfaces constantly and things have been changing every 24 hours. It’s a lot to deal with!

In one week I’ve gone from coming back from vacation to having half my workplace let go, including my best friend at work. I’ve been grieving for her and the sudden loss of our daily contact. There was no warning, no goodbye party, no last hugs. The hardest thing for me has been coping with the loss of routine and rituals that I took for granted. Even ‘sure’ things, like a friend’s wedding and the Olympics, have been cancelled.

Amidst all this, what’s keeping me together is yoga and trusting that everything will be okay. It might end up being a very loose definition of ‘okay’, and things might not be the same as they once were, but we will find a way to survive. I trust in the universe because of all the the displays of goodness I’ve seen over the last week.

A sewing shop around where I live was offering supplies to create face masks for nurses, and the line for supplies went for THREE blocks! And after our animal shelter announced it would be closing all but one of its locations, people lined up to adopt the remaining animals, and over 300 (nearly all!) of the animals found a home.

And for right now, I got this old guy to take care of:

I am fostering him while the shelters are closed, but I think I need him more than he needs me right now! He’s very purry and affectionate and a good distraction.

Things look bad right now, but what gives me hope is all the people stepping up to the plate and helping their neighbors.

Staying inside isn’t exactly what I was expecting to do this spring or summer, but it’s an opportunity to connect with friends in a different way, work on my art, and get creative with what I do have.

How are you coping and taking care of yourself?

You Can’t Plan for Everything

How eerie that I wrote this post a week and a half ago after returning from my road trip. Things were different last week; it now feels like a year ago.

Here are some insights from Deidre of last week, which are oddly fitting for this time of extreme disruption and uncertainty:

“Lately, I’ve felt like my life is a little too routine. I try to maximize my happiness and productivity by doing yoga, eating less sugar, and drawing everyday. Which are all good things, except for the reason I do them: I have a bad habit of trying to minmax my life.

If you’re a gamer, you’re probably familiar with the term ‘min-maxing’. Here’s the definition of a minmaxer from Wiktionary:

A player who attempts to create an optimized character by minimizing unfavourable traits and maximizing favourable ones, typically by improving a single trait or ability to the exclusion of others.

With everything I do, I try to optimize myself and my experiences.

While on my road trip, I wanted to make sure I was having the most fun possible and getting the most out of my vacation. If I didn’t hit every tourist attraction or sample all the local foods, my vacation would be a waste, and I would only focus on the things I hadn’t experienced, rather than the amazing things I had done.

Case in point: I’m still kicking myself for not doing anything in Dallas. At the time I was too tired and stressed out to pack more into my road trip, and I really just needed to rest that day. So that’s what I did. And it felt so wrong. I even fall into this trap with my Etsy store.

I’ve been constantly trying to improve my marketing, my products, and my drawings. For a while, drawing became all about what other people would like to buy, and drawing without the purpose of selling seemed like ‘a waste of time.’

Being productive all the time is joyless. Beneficial yes, but joyless. 

Even writing this blog post feels a little too productive, but it does bring me joy because I’m not trying to stuff it with keywords or rank for SEO. I’m writing for me.

If you do things out of joy, sometimes the side effect is productivity.

So I’m not setting any more goals.

Trying to maximize my life sucked the joy out of it. You can’t plan for everything. You can’t predict the future. You can only do things in the moment, and marvel at how amazing life is.”

I get chills just reading what I wrote last week. Hope you’re all having an unproductive week and taking care of yourselves. Best wishes to everyone,

-Deidre

10 Things I’ve Learned From Drawing for 30 Days

In keeping with my theme, here are my discoveries from drawing every day for 30 days. If you’d like to see my drawings, follow me on Instagram!

  1. Even if you think your first drawing is great, draw it again. It’s usually even better the next time. And the next time.
  2. Be gentle on yourself and give yourself credit for struggling, trying, and growing.
  3. Struggling to get a drawing right is part of the fun
  4. It’s not about getting it right the first time, it’s about understanding your subject more with each line stroke.
  5. Bad drawings are not in vain and not a reason to get flustered; the knowledge you gain from studying a subject is not wasted, and your lines will be more confident the next attempt.
  6. Sometimes mistakes improve the drawing and are ‘happy little accidents’
  7. Drawings that you were originally unhappy with often turn out the best because of the extra effort you put into them to get them just right
  8. Planning is important so you have a direction and know where you want to go
  9. But know that things will never go according to plan and that’s okay
  10. If you make a mistake, you can always fix it

10 Things I Learned From Doing Yoga Every Day

Lately I’ve been a big fan of 30 day challenges- it all started in January when I did Sugar Free January and 30 Days of Yoga (I couldn’t pick just one, so I ended up doing both). I have wanted to blog about it since I started my challenges, but couldn’t figure out the right format- until now!

Committing to 30 days was incredibly attainable. Since I have ALL OF THE hobbies (meaning I frequently stretch myself too thin), I gave myself permission to put other interests on hold while I delved deeply into just one topic per month. I found that since I’m not switching gears so often, I was getting better results and making more discoveries quicker.

Without further ado, every week for the next month will feature 10 things I’ve learned from a certain topic 🙂

10 Things I learned from doing yoga for 30 days:

  1. Your body is different every day- Yoga with Adriene frequently mentions this. Appreciate the days when your body is like an olympic athlete, and laugh at the days when your engine is stalling.
  2. Meet yourself where you’re at. Instead of being frustrated with your performance, accept that today is a little different and that’s okay. Be patient and forgive yourself.
  3. Focus on your breath. If you tune into your breath and just focus on breathing, everything seems much better.
  4. Play. Sometimes you fall when you do a yoga pose, and that’s okay. Just have a giggle and get back up.
  5. Your body is always being supported by the earth, which I find kind of comforting. The earth is always there for you.
  6. Let go of everything that has happened in the day, and ‘wring’ yourself out like a sponge with a good stretch. You’ll feel much better.
  7. Listen to yourself, the answer you need is inside you.
  8. Give thanks to your body and what it can do. To quote Neutral Milk Hotel, “how strange it is to be anything at all”
  9. Give yourself time to warm up and grow. There’s a reason yoga starts with gentle stretches, you don’t have to accelerate too fast.
  10. Even if you can’t do a pose right away, with dedicated practice (AKA doing it for 30 days in a row) anything is possible.