Work and life have changed for so many of us – maybe all of us – these past few days. We are being told to stay home and work from home, and we are being instructed that this may continue for weeks, if not months to come.
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This is hard on anyone who needs to pay bills and make a living, but it’s even stranger for those of us who genuinely enjoy our jobs. For the past 12 years, I have walked down this street in Manhattan with a spark in my step, even on the trying days. I can genuinely say I love what I do, and I love who I do it with. I work with good people, telling stories of life. Like many of you, I feel called to my job. I consider work in television, film, media and everything else creative is a true joy.
My heart goes out to everyone and anyone feeling some uneasiness right now. Feeling scared because you know someone who might be feeling unwell, or maybe you are feeling anxious because you are nervous about what your 401k or next paycheck will look like. I get it. I’m nervous, too. I don’t have any good answers, but I lean on what someone wise recently said to me:
“Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush – it can color any situation.”
That’s a quote by Barbara Johnson.
Perhaps we are being given a strange and oddly delivered gift. A gift to slow down. Unplug. Recharge and reconnect. I know it won’t be perfect – these are definitely not free vacation days. And for people in the hospital or dealing with multiple kids now running around with school being out (I have 3 kids in that situation!) – it can seem nutty and uncertain. BUT – maybe we can change our attitude and look at this time as a moment to stop and pause. Slow down. Cherish this unexpected time with our loved ones. Take care of our bodies and health. And feed our souls.
Here are five tips to do this:
- Take a weekly Sabbath. If you have never done so, consider turning one day a week into a “Sabbath”. Take one day off from technology. No social media, no texting, no television. Unplug from the intensity of this news cycle. It will do wonders for your health and mindset.
- Connect with your Family. This is a wonderful time to stay inside and do activities as a family. Cook together. Learn how to make that family dish you have been saying you will one day do. My husband’s aunt makes delicious cinnamon rolls. This is a perfect time for us to learn how to make them.
- Start a Hobby. There is no time like the present for this! I was loaned a mandolin over the holidays. Life got busy and I stopped picking it up. I pledge to start playing it now. Start a hobby, or pick up an old one – something you can do from home. Need some help? Virtual lessons online are plentiful!
- Journal This Moment. I love hearing stories about how my Grandparents navigated the Great Depression, or the rolling blackouts of WW2. Even though we may not feel like this as extreme of a situation, maybe it is. Start a journal and record what this time was like. Feelings. What you see, feel and hear. Your grandkids may love hearing about it!
- Hold Firm to your Faith. Perhaps we are being given a gift with this time. Let’s use it to reconnect with the Divine. Even though we can’t attend church for a while, we can read that book on our nightstand. Listen to that podcast. Start a virtual Bible Study? Make plans to facetime with a few friends and pray together? Start a virtual book club? We can still worship and hold firm to our Faith. God does not need to be 6 feet away. He is a whisper away – just waiting for us to reach out.
I will be trying to do this. I will share how I am doing, and I would love to hear what is working for you, and how you are doing it. Or your fears and worries. It’s all part of the journey. Let’s all be open to sharing our journeys during this time. The good and the bad. And hopefully, before you know it, we will be reflecting on what this time was like over a glass of wine at the future wedding, birthday party or social gathering we are putting off for now.
Megan Alexander is a national correspondent for the TV show “Inside Edition” and author of two books “Faith in the Spotlight’ and “One More Hug”. She is a married Mom of three and splits her time between New York and Nashville. See more of her work at www.MeganAlexander.com