During this weird year, with the ever looming threat of Covid-19, which obviously has manifested for far too many, and with the Lockdown making us feel caged and cut off from our usual every day life it can be easy to forget everything.
Even the day of the week!
I can’t be the only one who remembers its Friday purely because I see my neighbours’ bins being put out?
Is it Tuesday or Thursday? What does the weekend mean when every day is the same?
And during the day, time has lost so much of its usual meaning too, unless you’re still a mum getting the kids to school or a key worker. For those of us working from home, a late morning wakeup just means we work in front of the tv in the evening.
And meals have lost all sense of their previous roles in our lives. Making a ‘proper’ dinner anymore hardly ever happens in my house. Instead I’m grazing all day, snacking and nibbling, without the enthusiasm to make a decent, grown up meal.
And this is where is can be easy to sink into a sense of isolation, aloneness, depression. Because we’ve lost our usual tethers to the outside world and what once gave us meaning.
When we feel the world has no meaning or that our connection to meaning in the world has been frayed to a thread, and as this goes on and on and on, it can seem as if our lives have little to no meaning.
As always, this is an inside job. For too much of our lives, we hand responsibility for creating meaning in our lives to outside forces. Our job becomes our definition. Its in how we introduce ourselves to others as if its the most worthwhile part of us. ‘Hi, I’m Joe, I’m a plumber what do you do?’
‘What do you do’ is often the first question we ask other people. And from their answer, we make up our minds about who they are. A teacher gets a very different assumed persona to a binman, a doctor to an office clerk. And God help us if we’re unemployed or too ill to work, when we say that, we get written off entirely.
This horrible system of assigning value based on what we do and how much we earn rather than who we are is why the world is so messed up. Billionaires are celebrated for being masters of industry when in reality; they had a brilliant idea that they were able to commercialise and through subsequent exploitation of other people’s labour and data, made more money than is just or moral.
But, that’s not actually the point I want to make although I could go on about the inequities of the capitalist system where we are only valued as consumers all day long.
The point I’m focusing on today is that the system that judges you is unfair but what’s worse is we have internalised that judgement and we judge ourselves and find ourselves lacking.
And that’s a huge part of why we need to create our own meaning and our own judgements and reject the sh!t that’s external to us and was never our own in the first place.
Every person is of equal value because your worth as a human being is in intrinsic to who you are not what you do or what you have accumulated.
And if you’re in a place today during the 2020 endurance test where you feel lost, alone and like life has lost all meaning. Its up to you to give yourself meaning, to make your life matter, to make each day important.
The reason doesn’t really matter except it has to matter to you.
What makes you feel good? If its getting showered, made up, hair done and dressed up, do it. Even if you’re just going out to the supermarket, even if your only opening the front door to your Hermes delivery man. If it makes you feel good then its worth doing.
I know choices are limited during Lockdown and the Tier 2 and 3 that most of the country will be bogged down in for the next few months, but you can find things that make every day meaningful for you.
For me, its about making space every day for meditation, going somewhere beautiful for a walk with Amelia in the afternoon and taking time to appreciate the world and life.
And sure some days I don’t feel like making a decent meal, but I have plenty of salad and vegetables to snack on, as well as the sugar stuff that I sometimes eat for breakfast and that’s okay.
And I might put all the ingredients for a veggie stew or soup on the counter and it will sit there for a day or two but I will then make it and have a lovely hot meal and enough leftovers to feed me for several days.
I’m still having trouble making the weekends different to the weekdays, so I’m focusing on switching off this weekend and taking Amelia somewhere gorgeous for a long hike Saturday and Sunday.
We have to endure, because life goes on. And we can make it better and better by focusing on what’s good and engineering our day to have more of the good in it.
So, today what I would love for you to do, is consider what you could do today that would make you feel good.
And yes, you may need to give yourself a push to get going, but you can do this. Start by taking just one step.
If you like to paint but haven’t felt like it, start by getting your brushes out, cleaning them and getting them ready. The next day, set out your easel or clear a space on your table or wherever is a good place for light. And every day keep doing something that prepares the way for you to paint. Eventually, everything’s ready and then just stand in front of the canvas, pick up a brush think about painting. You don’t have to do it, just think about it. Picture yourself painting, what would you like to capture in paint? What image is currently in your mind waiting to be expressed on canvas?
And before you know it, you’ll be painting.
Same with whatever it is that you love to do and have put to one side, whether its knitting, carving, writing, photography, whatever. Clear the way to doing it, clear your mind of obstacles just as you clear the obstruction in your physical environment. And when’s all ready just stand there or sit in that space and think about doing it.
Soon, your body will move of its own accord and you’ll be doing it.
And be gentle with yourself. This is an incredible time we’re living through, an upending of the world as we knew it.
Change on this scale is tough, so don’t beat yourself up or say you’re being silly. Your concerns are valid and unfortunately there’s so much misinformation out there its hard to know fact from fake.
Trust yourself. Use your own judgement and at the very least keep washing your hands and maintaining your distance.
Keep a calendar and give every day an event, Monday’s could be news watching day. Tuesday’s feed the ducks day. Wednesday’s are when you dance around the kitchen for half an hour. Thursday’s pamper days where you give yourself a mani/pedi and facial. Friday’s could be clearing out a cupboard day. Saturday’s nature day and Sunday’s the day when you take time to give thanks and celebrate your life, the world and everyone we share it with.
I know it feels like a mountain to climb some days just to get through it. Think differently about it by giving yourself something else to think about.
I hope this helps. If you found it useful, please comment below and let me know which of the ideas you’re going to implement.
PS. I’ve decided to do a webinar on Your Brain’s User Manual. To give you tip[s and tools and the knowledge I’ve learned in over twenty years in this field that can help you overcome depression, anxiety and feeling hopeless. Changing that way of thinking to one that works for you. If you’re interested, comment User Manual below and I’ll send you details once I’ve worked it all out ‘cos I’ve only just decided to do this!