The birds are back. The flowers are starting to climb skywards. Something I can't stop thinking about these days, as I gaze out my window more than I ever have before, is this weird duality of nature waking up and stepping out as I cocoon myself inside more and more. It feels like poetry. A metaphor. Maybe I've just been stewing in my own thoughts for so long that now everything feels like a sign.
My cell phone chimes. It's a text message from registered psychotherapist Elizabeth Simms, picking up where we left off with our recent phone interview about staying mentally well during self-isolation.
"As I sleep on our talk, I think the difficulty of these times are first of all defined by the stress and deep tension caused by personal daily patterns and ways of feeling in control being disrupted," the message begins. "On top of this tension are the very real uncertainties of how long this will go on and financial fears. Such tension creates anxiety, anger and or despair if we don’t address our thoughts/behaviours and take care of our feelings in ways I spoke of yesterday."
Her solution? Try not to hold onto the bad thoughts as they parade through your mind. ("I used to say thank-you to all my thoughts," Simms said earlier by phone, explaining it was the perfect mix of acknowledge-then-ignore that makes these thoughts stop taking root.) Keep, as she explained, being kind to yourself: "I recommend people lower their expectations and instead ask: What do I love? What do I need?"
To practice letting thoughts slip away, Simms suggests trying meditation. To get you started, she recorded a 20-minute session that will leave you feeling as transformed as a blooming crocus.
Get ready to go on a journey: