Thanks to Ann Iijima for this great article explaining what so many are wrestling with these days with extreme changes in our daily routine, our lives, family, work, school, and travel! I do wonder if we’ll ever again have a spirited Indian dinner with friends! Live jazz indoors? Not holding my breath…

Over the years, and particularly in times of financial, environmental, societal struggles and disasters, one thing I’ve notice is that so many people cannot handle uncertainty, and a truism of my life is that “the only certainty in life is uncertainty.”

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve worked from home forever now, but I’m thinking a lot about “regular people” and wondering how they’re getting by, my neighbor having to go to work every day around people, often unreasonable and unruly people, a friend trying to run a restaurant spending so much time on sanitizing and precautions and, again, running into those unreasonable and unruly people, and neighbors with a large family who didn’t want the offer of a handful of masks I’d made. I’m thinking of my many musician friends who suddenly have zero work, zero income, and most of whom are have been living on the edge for a lifetime.

From the article, “But I was still doing well because I thrive in high-stress emergency situations. It’s exhilarating for my ADHD brain.” Yup, I can relate! Working from home since the end of February has meant not much of a change for me, other than frustrations of not being able to attend PUC meetings to jump up and loudly, or to go meet personally with distant client groups which is important to maintain interest and support. The travel is what I miss the most, and my clients are such a joy to deal with that they keep me going!! I’ve been binging on CLEs, which has been really interesting (surprisingly), and also using the extra time (from not traveling all the time) to dedicate an hour or more every day to ACTION (it’s a lot easier to lobby and agitate online, imagine these days without the internet!). Spurred by sending out campaign postcards, I recently started sending out postcards to people I’ve not seen in way too long — I have a huge collection from my trucking daze that were getting dusty. Adventures in gardening, baking, sewing masks, and yes, a haircut! House and car paid for and no consumer debt and solid income stream so I’m pretty secure financially, with no worries about eviction or foreclosure. At this point, the STAY HOME has been great for me, well, except for cancellations of campsites when state parks were closed, and pulling out of two Camp Host gigs and withdrawing from consideration for another in Wisconsin. Overall, I’m SO fortunate that my life fits into this pretty well. I recognize every day that for most, it’s an extreme struggle, and I think about all the time looking out the windows or on those rare trips out.

And here’s the article Ann found that might be helpful:

Our Brains Struggle to Process This Much Stress

A key point:

“It’s a shitty time, it’s hard,” he says. “You have to accept that in your bones and be okay with this as a tough day, with ‘that’s the way it is,’ and accept that as a baseline.”


It’s a bit of a Schrödinger’s existence, but when you can’t change the situation, “the only thing you can change is your perception of it,” she says.

Of course, that doesn’t mean denying the existence of the pandemic or the coronavirus. As Maddaus says, “You have to face reality.” But how we frame that reality mentally can help us cope with it.

Bottom line:

Begin slowly building your resilience bank account

Maddaus’ idea of a resilience bank account is gradually building into your life regular practices that promote resilience and provide a fallback when life gets tough. Though it would obviously be nice to have a fat account already, he says it’s never too late to start. The areas he specifically advocates focusing on are sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, self-compassion, gratitude, connection, and saying no.

“Start really small and work your way up,” he says. “If you do a little bit every day, it starts to add up and you get momentum, and even if you miss a day, then start again. We have to be gentle with ourselves and keep on, begin again.”

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