What Will You Create? How to Use Self-Care & Creativity to Survive

I don’t know what the last few months have been like for you, but if you’re like me, I’m guessing that it has been a whirlwind of emotions and feelings! One minute I feel one way and moments later it’s like I feel the exact opposite. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling bad. I’m energized, I’m tired. I’m brave, I’m fearful.

Taking on new challenges comes with a new set of circumstances. So much has changed and there is so much newness to deal with and navigate.

Through the ups and the downs, I have felt an innate desire to serve people and help myself and others rise to get through this crazy time. Sometimes it has been easier and other times it has been harder.

But tonight, on a walk I took by myself, I was able to let my mind wander… I think I found an answer for me, and I wanted to share it with you (as I imagine we all may be facing some of the same roadblocks even though our particular circumstances may be totally different.)

The answer that came to me was being CREATIVE.  To CREATE a new way.

According to Merriam-Webster here is the definition of creative & create:

 

Definition of creative

1: marked by the ability or power to create : given to creating

2: having the quality of something created rather than imitated

3: managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits

 

Definition of create

1: to bring into existence

2a: to invest with a new form, office, or rank

b: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior

3: CAUSE, OCCASION

4a: to produce through imaginative skill

b: DESIGN

1: to make or bring into existence something new

 

Yes, my responsibilities and roles have been altered. Yes, I am now a TK & 2nd Grade Teacher. I am a housecleaner. A chef. Yes, I am home ALL THE TIME. Yes, I did most of this stuff before, but no I did not do it alone and I did not do it ALL THE TIME!

I’m sure you can relate. Maybe you are trying to balance having two parents working from home trying to homeschool at the same time. Maybe you are trying to balance the different school workloads of your three kids, all different ages and levels. Maybe you are trying to balance caring for your elderly family members who you may or may not even be able to see right now.

Life is complicated. And it is complicated beyond complicated now as we face unprecedented times.

But let’s get back to being CREATIVE.

YES, things are hard, and things look different. But what the heck can we actually DO about it?!?!?!?! How can we make the best of it?

We can CREATE.

The idea just popped in my head and even though it didn’t make my headache go away, it did seem to offer me some much-needed SPACE and possibly a taste of potential freedom.

Then when I was listening to a podcast interview and it brought the idea home even further. They were talking about the importance of self-care right now, how the people doing well right now are the ones who are making their own self-care a priority; vs. the people who are barely holding on, they are getting swamped in the gravity of it all, neglecting their needs, and struggling.

But what really got me was when he said the people in prison war camps who survived were the ones who thought that this was going to last awhile. Those who thought it would be temporary didn’t survive.

So clearly this isn’t war camp. We are not POWs, but if we act in ways that say this is how it’s going to be for a while, then we can adapt our lives to our current situation. We can be CREATIVE and find ways to make at least some of the things we need and want to work!

Let’s create from scratch. Let’s be creative and find ways to make space for some PLAY in our day-to-day lives.

PLAY is essential and now more than ever we need to create moments of joy, love and flow in our lives. We need to show our kids that we can do that. We need to play with our partners. We need to leave the heaviness behind from time to time so we can hang out in the world of LOVE AND POSSIBILITY, even if just for a few moments.

So, I can’t wait to see what you are going to CREATE for yourself and your family! Let’s take on our self-care and sneak in some PLAY! Game On!

 

PS- I also want to take a minute to thank amazing my boys and all the wonderful people who partnered with us in our #WeWriteTheStory2020 challenge so far! They inspired me to find creativity and blew me away with all the fresh and fun ideas they came up with. Playing and sending out over 50 games so far has shown me how we all have the innate ability to be creative, we just need to allow the time and space for it. You can learn more about our challenge here and you can stay up to date on my daily posts including games, sanity hacks and more on my instagram. Thanks all!

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/creative

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/creating

Planning vs Worrying

Are you a planner? Do you keep your family’s schedule organized and help juggle all the activities and responsibilities? I am obsessed with planning and feel like it totally helps me to live a happy and balanced life (more details on that to come in another post soon.) But on the flip side, I can also find myself worrying about things like my son’s ear infections or traveling alone to Chicago or really anything having to do with the safety and health of my boys…. So, when I stumbled across an article about the difference between planning and worrying I was intrigued.

It started off by saying we have evolved from the hunter gatherer life and we are programmed to be on the lookout for dangerous or compromising situations. (My husband would love that as he is always bringing it back to our human roots tied to the land and our instincts.) This innate sleuthing thus enabled and enables us to survive. Our parents trained us and now we even do it to our kids.

“We are all the products of men and women who evolved to be wary. There is nothing remarkable about this. We plan our days and our years. From the time we are children, we are told to watch out for strangers, for speeding cars, and for being caught outside in bad weather. We are instructed to eat and sleep properly and take care of ourselves. Doing the right thing becomes automatic-most of the time. We do not worry about these matters. We plan for them. We schedule them. But even as children, and forever after, we also worry about things. What distinguishes those problems we plan for from those we worry about?” 1

We can plan for all sorts of things- like what we will make for dinner this week, what to do for the next girls night out, how to make the upcoming birthday/holiday/party special, saving for retirement, etc. We can plan for big and little things just as we can worry about big and little things. Whether they are important (like the health of our parents or saving for college) or fleeting (like did I remember to start the dishwasher before I left the house or is my friend upset I had to reschedule our lunch), anything you worry about can be consuming and draining.

Here is what Fredric Neuman M.D. says distinguishes the problems we plan for versus those we worry about: “We plan every day for all those things we need to accomplish during the day. We worry about those things that are very difficult or impossible to plan for.”

In other words, we plan for things we can control, and we worry about things that we cannot control or that we can control but may be short on time for like saving money to retire once you are very close to retirement.

He continues, “To put it another way, we can plan for something important and not worry, if it seems to us we are in control. We worry about things we cannot control. So, we worry if a biopsy will come back showing an abnormal growth, we worry about our children using drugs, we worry about not having enough money to pay the mortgage, we may worry about a spouse being unfaithful. These matters seem to be out of our control. They defy our ability to plan for them. Worry is, therefore, an inevitable consequence of the inability to plan successfully. It is as if we our searching our minds for a plan to confront these problems and cannot find one. If we could find one, we would not worry!”1

So as a planner what can I do to stop worrying? Most people say just let it be, or worrying won’t help, or even less helpful some people say just stop worrying about that- as if it’s the easy! But the aha moment for me from this article is that worrying can’t be stopped on its own, you need to plan for your worry and get beyond the “what if….?” To discover the “then what?….”

“The antidote to worry is action. Chronic worriers are simply people who are not good at making plans.”1

I took a little offense to that when I read it since I consider myself a serious planner! But I can look beyond that to see where in worrying about certain areas I never got past that potential problem to get to the part where I make a plan for it.

Actually, I was just in this circumstance last Wednesday. Both of my sons had a cold, one even got an ear infection. My throat began to feel a bit scratchy and my left ear started to hurt a little bit. Normally that wouldn’t be too big of a problem (especially now that my son got tubes for his ears and he didn’t have to get antibiotics, again.) The problem was that I was about to leave for a solo trip to Chicago to visit my 92-year-old grandma and see family and friends and I didn’t want to be sick for it or have a problem flying with a sore ear.

I was worrying and worrying. What if I am coughing and sick and can’t enjoy my trip? What if I bring germs to my grandma or am too sick to see her? What if my eardrum ruptures on the flight? This went on for a while and persisted as I was already in a nervous state as I rarely leave my kids and husband! Then I did what the article talks about, I went from the “What If” to the “Then What…”

I thought ok what’s the worst scenario here, I feel sick and I can’t go visit my grandma. Well then I’ll be alone and can just stay in a hotel. What if my ear ruptures or hurts? Then I will go to the doctor and get past it! Worse case I hurt a little and miss out, not a big deal. So, I let it go with a plan in mind. I went to Chicago; my ear was fine, and I never got the cold. I got to visit my grandma, my family, and old friends. I seriously had the best trip ever and it is pretty hilarious that I even spent one minute worrying about it! But experiences like this help me to do better in the future. And now that I am equipped with the other tips from this article I hope to plan away all my worries in the future!

To wrap it up here is Neuman’s general strategy for dealing with worry:

“No matter how out of control a situation may seem to be, worrying about it can be dispelled by developing a plan of action. The trick, then, for the affected person-or his/her therapist-is to try to find some plan for dealing with that situation. Sometimes a simple exploration of the problem immediately suggests a reassuring response. I worried one time that my daughter would miss a connecting flight. She pointed out to me that the airlines have a way of dealing with that situation. “They will just put me on the next flight,” she told me.” 1

It is funny that I stumbled upon this technique just earlier this week all on my own and I look forward to applying it to any situations in the future where I would normally find myself worrying!

 

1. Neuman M.D., Fredric. “Planning vs. Worrying. The treatment of a worry.” Psychology Today. 04 Dec. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fighting-fear/201612/planning-vs-worrying. Accessed 04 June 2018.