1. Find Novelty During Quarantine

    September 02, 2020

    Wow, has it been 6 months already?? How are we all doing?

    The only thing keeping me going right now is novelty- in order to not go crazy during quarantine, I have to keep finding new things to do, eat, watch, etc. No matter how trivially new, it still counts! For example, this week I tried a new brand of sparkling water. It was really exciting.

    Does anyone else have stages of quarantine resemble mine?

    March: OMG!! What is happening? The world is ending!!

    April: I thought last month was boring?? This month is REALLY boring. Time to do some crafts that I’ve put off.

    May: Wow, still going! Maybe I’ll start hiking all the state parks I’ve never been to.

    June: Yay, it’s summer! Now I can do socially distant picnics outside, and the virus will dissipate!

    July: Okay, so I’ve been everywhere within 2 hours of the Twin Cities. I’ve done so many socially distant picnics that I’ve run out of kebab recipes. Time to catch up on some reading!

    August: Oh no. Winter is coming. I’ve exhausted everything I’ve wanted to do. Time to get a Hulu subscription.

    September: ???

    We’re all in the same boat, so I don’t have much insight to give, but hopefully I can offer some inspiration.

    What to do when you’ve exhausted all quarantine activities:

    1. Play nostalgic video games (Phoenix Wright)
    2. Watch lots of anime (Sergeant Frog, One Punch Man)
    3. Watch nostalgic movies (Twilight, Harry Potter)
    4. Read nostalgic books (Twilight, Harry Potter)
    5. Read new books (Midnight Sun)
    6. Learn all those new skills you’ve been putting off (Graphic Design)
    7. Bake recipes from the Great British Baking Show
    8. Pick an international cookbook and make international dishes
    9. Buy yourself different brands of fancy chocolate truffles
    10. Buy 10 different kinds of tea to try

    Every month I hit a metaphorical wall, and every month I manage to pass through it. It takes some creativity, grit, and making even the smallest things interesting. Even if it is as simple as buying a different flavor of La Croix., treat yourself to something new. Check out as many DVDs as you can from the library. And go down the YouTube rabbit hole and learn new things!

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  2. The Last 5 Months

    August 12, 2020

    It is important to not give in to despair during quarantine. Even so, this week I’m don’t feel like writing a blog post today because sad. Instead, I thought I would share pictures starting from my last day of pre-covid life to now. In case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to the last 5 months, this is it! Lots of nature, baking, cooking, and playing video games.

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  3. Why You Should Have Compassion for Yourself

    August 07, 2020

    What Self Compassion is Not

    What do you think of when you hear ‘self compassion’? Do you think of a narcissist? Someone who thinks they can do no wrong?

    A narcissist fails to acknowledge their shortcomings because if they do, they lose their ‘shield’. They think by not acknowledging their mistakes or shortcomings, no one will ever be able to hurt them.

    Even if you’re not a narcissist, it is still difficult to admit our mistakes in our culture. In the USA, we walk a tightrope of being confident while not being boastful. Don’t you dare show any signs of weakness, but also don’t you dare think you’re perfect. No wonder people feel they need a shield to protect themselves!

    None of us are perfect. Some of us are just better at ruses. However, if you have compassion for yourself and your shortcomings, you don’t need a ruse.

    Measuring Self Worth

    Have you felt bad about not accomplishing enough during quarantine?

    Covid hasn’t left us with many ways to keep up the illusion of striving for more and being perfect. Meaning: we don’t feel very good about ourselves right now. How do we measure our self worth if our previous methods of feeling like enough have been stripped away? Do we write a novel? Learn a new language? How do we maximize quarantine?

    Am I doing enough? Am I enough?

    Asking ‘am I enough?’ is an irrelevant question.

    You Are Enough

    You will always be enough, whether you decide to learn a new language or binge watch Netflix for 5 months. Have some compassion for yourself!

    Instead of saying “I should be more productive. I’m lazy and a terrible person for watching Netflix yet again” try, “this is a really hard time for everyone right now and I’m doing what I can to cope.”

    You may be thinking, “yeah, well is watching Netflix for 5 months straight healthy? Shouldn’t I be more productive anyway?” 

    You’re not going to feel better by judging yourself. So again, that’s an irrelevant question. Try being compassionate with yourself (not to be confused with feeling sorry for yourself).

    That takes some of the pressure off, doesn’t it?

    Maybe by taking some of the pressure off yourself, you’ll feel like learning something new. But maybe not. It doesn’t matter. 

    This is an important time to be nice to yourself. Even when quarantine is over, if you want to keep watching Netflix, that’s also fine. If that’s what you want to do, you were probably going to do it anyway, so why willingly increase your suffering?

    Stop judging yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to spend this time.

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  4. What Happiness Means

    July 30, 2020

    Yep, there are lots of things to be upset about right now. 

    I worry about how selfish our culture has seemingly become. I feel frustrated because there is no end in sight for COVID. 

    Despite all that, I’m still happy. I have to be, because it’s my flotation device. I can’t give up on protecting my happiness, or the world will be too overwhelming.

    Last year when I first started working on my happiness, I felt guilty and like I didn’t have the right to be happy. Then I realized, the state of the world would remain the same whether I felt happy or sad; I decided I would rather be happy.

    Being happy doesn’t mean I condone the current situation. It doesn’t mean that I am happy about everything going on in the world. It means I try to find meaning in my life everyday, and to hang on to hope. I can be happy on the day to day while still being anxious about the world. We are allowed to feel more than one thing simultaneously.

    I give you permission to be happy and to keep pushing for more change. Happiness isn’t complacency; it’s choosing joy now, because the world will never be perfect, so you might as well enjoy the ride while you’re on it.

    You can look at this time as an opportunity to grow without distractions and test your resolve, or you can look at it as a miserable time of unfairness and think of all the ways in which you’ve been ‘robbed’.

    And if you do feel like this is a miserable time and the world is unfair, acknowledge that. We can’t hide from our true feelings, even if we would prefer not to have these ‘bad’ feelings. 

    Instead of judging your feelings or pushing them down, try sitting with them and accepting them like you would a baby and/or kitten. Just like a real baby or baby cat, your emotions don’t know any better, and all they really need is kindness. Telling them they’re bad won’t make them go away.

    There are some emotions we would rather not feel (like sadness, anger), so it is difficult to sit with them. Most of us want to try to avoid pain, which is why we stuff sadness and anger into a box. However, whether they burst out of the box in one big explosion or dangerously seep out over time, they will always escape the box, and you’ll have to feel your feelings regardless. 

    Might as well do it as soon as possible, because (Pain x Resistance) = Suffering.

    The more you resist your emotions, the more pain you’ll feel in the end.

    But this is a post about being happy, so how does allowing yourself to feel sad fit in??

    Maybe a better way of saying ‘happiness’ is ‘acceptance.’ 

    I know sometimes I’ll still be sad. That doesn’t make me ‘lesser’ or any less ‘happy’, because my overall state of being is happiness/acceptance. 

    If I have a drawer full of socks, the drawer itself is ‘happiness’. The socks in it are emotions like joy, sadness, anger, etc. I would rather keep all my socks in a happy drawer as opposed to a sad drawer, because I need to use that drawer everyday, and it just makes things a little more pleasant.

    I encourage you to not judge your emotions this week. You are allowed to feel them. In fact, you HAVE to feel them. Sit with them gently, be kind to yourself, and don’t forget to be happy.

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  5. Embrace Your Anxiety (like a kitten)

    July 21, 2020

    Does anyone else feel like driving and going into stores is super overwhelming since Covid started? Is it just me?

    Usually I do drive through or order pick up for my groceries, but you can’t get every single item you need that way. So sometimes I need to go into the store to get a specific ingredient. And holy heck is it stressful!

    I was an anxious person before I forcibly became a hermit due to Covid, and now everyday activities are giving me anxiety. Just thinking about all my new anxiety is giving me anxiety, AHH.

    So today I’m going to tout what has long been touted to me: mindfulness. I know, UGH. It sounds SO BORING and pretentious.

    If I pretend it’s not called mindfulness, it’s a lot more appealing. To me it means: name that emotion and why it’s appearing. It sounds really silly, but it’s easy and it works for me.

    Exhibit A: Going into Target.

    Mindless Deidre: AHH SO MANY PEOPLE WITHIN MY 6 FOOT BUBBLE

    Mindful Deidre thinks:

    I am stressed out because there are many people here while a global pandemic is happening. It’s normal to feel stressed out when there are many people within your bubble during a pandemic.

    While it doesn’t change the situation, I feel a lot better about it because I’m validating my own feelings and allowing them to be felt. Though we desperately try, we can’t escape our emotions.

    As I explained in my previous post, just because you ignore a kitten that is climbing your curtains doesn’t mean there isn’t a kitten still climbing your curtains. 

    We may ask, “why is the kitten scaling my drapery? That’s not very nice.” 

    Obviously it’s not an ideal situation, just like feeling anxious isn’t my preferred state of being. But kittens don’t care. Kittens just want to be acknowledged, and so do your emotions. Mindfulness can help with that.

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