Hey, everyone. (*waves hello*)
First and foremost, how are you and your loved ones doing? So many people are sick, discouraged, or anxious right now, and it hurts me to know this. But that’s the reality we’re dealing with because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Almost every aspect of our lives has been put on hold for the time being. So I wanted to reach out, say hello, and make sure you’re OK.
In case you’re wondering: Yes, I’m healthy. So are my family and other loved ones. This could change over the next several days, but right now I’m doing what I can to stay informed yet keep my spirits high. (Though, to be honest, this is easier said than done on some days.) So I’ve been limiting my online time (including social media), working, meditating, getting enough sleep, doing yoga, and – maybe most importantly – writing poetry.
For me, writing has always been therapeutic. Sometimes it allows me to release emotions that are trapped inside and trying to claw their way out. Other times, it’s a welcome distraction from the outside world. And with my calendar virtually wiped clean (or, as I told one of my writers earlier this week, wiped free) until further notice, I’m planning to use some of this time to write new poems, either to ease my feelings or help me forget our troubles for a bit.
Does writing do this for you too? If it does, I hope you choose to take advantage of your self-isolation time and dive into your work. That way, you’ll stay productive and positive about your progress.
And if you can’t because you’re a parent who’s home-schooling or caring for your children for the foreseeable future? Then focus on being creative with your partner and kids. Drawing, painting, baking, cooking, dancing, engaging in arts and crafts or science experiments – do whatever makes you and your family feel good and allows you to bond and stay healthy together. That’s what matters most right now.
On a related note, I’ve been thinking of ways in which I can help people (writers included) during this challenging time. One way is by acting on my belief that poetry has the power to comfort, heal, and offer hope when we need it most. That’s why this Thursday, March 26, I’m hosting my first-ever online-only poetry reading via Facebook at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
To RSVP for the event, visit the Facebook event page and select “Going” or “Interested.” Then make sure you like the Heart of the Story Facebook page and visit it at the scheduled date and time. It’s free and family-friendly, and I’ll focus on poems I’ve written about nature, healing, spirituality, and other related themes.
Also, since we could all use some extra creative or emotional support right now, here are some online resources I’d like to share with you:
- My friend and fellow writer Leanne Sowul wrote this article about writing through depression for DIY MFA. Her tips may be especially useful if you want to use your craft as a means of catharsis or therapy.
- At Writer Unboxed, PR strategist Ann Marie Nieves shares the love and light she’s witnessed from her local and online writing and bookish communities recently.
- Meanwhile, at Writers in the Storm, author Julie Glover reminds us that telling stories in times of crisis can entertain others, allow us to be productive, and make us all feel connected despite social distancing and self-isolation.
- Over at Write Up, writer and Instagram extraordinaire Emily Morgan says, “In chaos, we need creativity more than ever.” I couldn’t have said that better myself.
- I’m a HUGE fan of business coach and author Marie Forleo, and she compiled this incredible blog post full of links, tips, and other resources that can support you in various ways.
- If you’re looking for guided meditations to reduce anxiety, practice mindfulness, and help you relax before bedtime, may I suggest The Mindful Movement’s YouTube channel? Sara Raymond’s voiceovers are so calming, and the background music choices are perfect for inducing a sense of calm.
- Speaking of which, if you’d love some relaxing music tracks, my go-to YouTube channels are Meditative Mind, Yellow Brick Cinema, Nu Meditation Music, and Quiet Quest – Study Music.
Last but not least, I want you to know this more than anything: Take care of yourself. Staying home and limiting your contact with others will go a long way to not just keeping yourself and your loved ones well, but also helping your community – and the whole world – fight this virus. And while you do this, make every effort to look at your time at home from a realistic but healthy perspective. Having the right mindset is just as important now as it has been before and ever will be in the future.
Be well, be calm, and be as compassionate and creative as you can be. And if it’s possible, I’d love to see you on Facebook for my online poetry reading this Thursday. Again, check out the Facebook event page for more details.
Lots of love, light, and virtual hugs,