We all need an oasis

We All Need An Oasis

This is the 37th ^Almost Daily Catalyst, which means that we have entered the 8th week of the coronavirus quarantine.

How are you doing?

I live in the NYC Metro region and it’s been tough. Everyone knows someone who has been infected. Almost everyone knows someone who has died. Some of my students, clients, and friends have had multiple deaths in their close circle of family and friends.

These are hard times.

And while it is absolutely important to shore up and move forward, it’s also very, very important that we create space in our lives to recover from the emotional toll of it all.

Everyone needs an oasis right now.

An oasis, of course, is an unexpectedly fertile spot in the middle of the vast expanse of desert. A place where water has made its way to the surface and relief can be found for those who need it. Which is everyone.

During this vast expanse of quarantine lockdown, we too need relief like that.

What your oasis looks like depends on what you need.

  • If you are struggling to process the death of someone close to you or deeply worried about the health of yourself or a loved one, your oasis might very well be dedicated time each week with a therapist or grief counselor. This is especially true if you are, yourself, a therapist, or a grief counselor.
  • If you feel the walls closing in on you at home, your oasis might be a face mask and a pair of waterproof shoes (I don’t want you to be daunted by the rain). Grab your gear and head out into a park. Stay six feet away from others and walk until you feel tired. I recommend taking a close look at the trees, flowers, and bushes- do you see how life is still blooming? Help yourself remember that your life will bloom again, too.
  • If you are cycling through periods of fine with peaks of panic, you need to have an oasis on-demand lined up. An Oasis on Demand is a book or tv show where you can trust that everything is going to be OK, while it is dramatic and developed enough to keep your attention. I have been keeping a list of Amanda Approved Coronavirus Oases on Demand. If you have suggestions, please send them my way and I’ll check them out and add them to the list.
  • If you are essential and have been working this whole dang time, can you first just accept this never-ending handclap?

    This one is for doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, pharmacy workers, pizza delivery people, restaurant cooks, police officers, and all the other essential workers.

    When you are out and about and in it all the time, you need to find a way to really savor the relief of time off. When I was younger, I pretty much always worked two minimum wage jobs on alternating schedules. A day job and a night job. Time off was precious and a whole DAY off was rare. It’s not the same as being asked to risk your life just to go to work, but it did feel like a never-ending grind on my emotional resilience. In that way, perhaps it feels the same.

    I discovered during that time, that if I could 1. plan something specific (even something small, like waking up and immediately watching the entire BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries at home in my pajamas), 2. fully experience it (anything that amped it up- like making popcorn or snuggling under a blanket or buying pastry the night before to have with tea while I watched) and then 3. savor it after the fact (calling a friend and discussing where exactly in the miniseries we would decide to marry Mr. Darcy), it somehow felt like more time off.
  • If you are homeschooling children while trying to work from home without giving in to a never-ending deluge of screen time… there’s only one way to make this work. You need to PLAN. Pick something specific, then get scrappy. Schedule that time and then do whatever it takes to protect it. This includes recruiting your partner’s help, sticking your kids in front of the tv, getting up at 5 am, or pushing them out the back door with promises that they’ll get Oreos when you let them back in.

Create your own oasis

The message for parents is really at the core of the message for everyone- you NEED these oases. They rebuild your resilience, give you hope for the long term, and make you happy. You deserve them. But the world is way too self-absorbed to give them to you right now.

This means you need to create an oasis for your own self.

What oasis can you present yourself with this week?

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PS. Don’t forget to join me for the next few weeks in the website retool challenge! It’s a 🎉Mental Health Awareness Month Celebration 🎉with design tips and simple website tweaks that bring you more prospective clients! And if you are already signed up, please consider inviting a friend by forwarding them the link. The more the merrier!

About the Author Amanda

Amanda Crowell, PhD is a cognitive psychologist obsessed with how people make change. She is best known for translating cutting edge research into practical strategies that can be used right away.

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