Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Ideas for Making the Best of the Coronavirus at Home

Making the Best of the Coronavirus at HomeThere’s no shortage of information online about COVID-19 right now, and frankly, most of it is scary. It’s stressful and anxiety-inducing. Many of us are secluded and on edge.

BUT, in the midst of it, there are people helping, showing kindness, and inspiring others. I think those are the people we should be filling our screens with.

I never tire of this Mister Rogers quote, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

So, as we all practice “social distancing” for the next few weeks (at least), I wanted to highlight some helpers, as well as ways that can help you cope—because they’ve helped me.

 >> Update 3/21: Tips and Info From My Friend with Coronavirus <<

TO FEEL A SENSE OF CONTROL:

Stress, anxiety, and uncertainty are often a result of us feeling out-of-control. And, while we ultimately have little control in our lives anyway, this will help give you back a sense of control during these crazy times.

 

BE MINDFUL:

Practicing mindfulness is hard to do, especially if it’s new to you, but it helps keep you in the present. It’s not about what has happened (past) or what might happen (future), but what is actually going on in the space you inhabit at this moment, and what you can experience in your five senses right now.

  • Calm meditation app
  • Abide Christian meditation app
  • My friend, Jerome Lubbe, is giving away free, daily videos from his course, the NeuroTheology of Self-Care.
  • There are lots of meditation and yoga exercises on YouTube.

 

REDUCE ANXIETY:

Even if you don’t necessarily feel anxious, these suggestions can still improve your day.

  • Start a gratitude journal. I’ve been writing down three things every evening that I’m grateful for over the last few months, and find it helpful.
  • Use essential oils. They smell good, and have healing properties. (I use doTerra.)
  • Light a candle. This can lighten the mood for many of us.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. It may seem more difficult at times, but you’ll act more rationally when rested.
  • Listen to classical music. I was reminded of this one recently, so I turned on an Amazon Music classical music station, and almost immediately felt better.
  • Exercise indoors or outdoors. Get outside and get that Vitamin D! Or stay inside and try something new.
  • Get back to your hobbies. This can be a good way to fill your day, and keep your hands busy.
  • Stay connected. If you feel lonely or overwhelmed, reach out to someone else.
  • Read your Bible or the Jesus Calling app, and share your favorite verses with others.
  • Focus on hope. My friend, Jen Gordon, created the Hope Deck to keep scripture front-of-mind for people every day of the year. It’s also a great gift!
  • I’ll say it again, clean! Having a clean and serene environment can go a long way in making you feel more at ease.
  • Host a one-minute dance party! I have friends that do this regularly, but it certainly can’t hurt now! Blast your favorite music and get your groove on.
  • Curl up with a weighted blanket. Many of us love the “hug” feeling that comes with one of these blankets. (Here’s mine.)
  • Take a personal or business retreat. If you have the time, why not, right? This is a terrific time to do some planning.
  • Get a short-term pet! Some animal shelters are closing temporarily, so they’re looking for people to care for animals during the crisis.
  • Send a card. Make someone else smile, and yourself, too! Hallmark is giving away free cards!

 

ENJOY THE ARTS FROM HOME:

I’m currently lamenting that my ticket to “Hamilton” will likely be canceled next month, but just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t find any culture.

 

WATCH, LOOK, AND LISTEN TO THE GOOD STUFF:

I love a good “end of the world” show as much as anyone, but especially if you are someone who is easily affected by them, lay off for now. Watch something light-hearted or that will make you smile.

  • Morning Boost – TODAY Show does these segments where they just show vides that make you happy. There was a sweet one today where a woman in Spain turns 80, and her neighbors left a cake outsider her door and sang happy birthday from their windows.
  • Atlanta on the Cheap – Even if you aren’t in ATL like me, so many things are happening online right now, and this is a great resource for events. I also think it’s cool that the zoo is doing a “Safari from Home” for kids!
  • Virtual story hour for kids from popular authors is a really cool way to entertain kids.
  • Many streaming services are pitching in as well, for your viewing pleasure. For example, Disney+ released Frozen 2 early. Netflix, Hulu, and Prime are getting in on the action, too, so check your device!
  • Jimmy Fallon has been hosting at home versions of The Tonight Show on YouTube!
  • Travel Pirates has put together the “9 National Parks You Can Virtually Tour from Your Couch”
  • Many churches already offered their services through online streaming or audio, and lots more have started doing it this month as well. If you don’t belong to a church family, ask a friend what they recommend. This is a great time to turn to your faith.
  • Audible is providing free stories for kids since they’re are out of school. (Including the first Harry Potter book!)
  • There are also oodles of live web cams to keep you entertained, distracted, or calm. How about puppies or pandas?
  • Consider a Kindle Unlimited subscription to catch up on all those books you’ve wanted to read.
  • Rosetta Stone is giving students three months of free access.
  • Follow #COVIDkindness on social media for positive news and outcomes!

 

SAVE SOME MONEY:

  • Many libraries have online options where you can read books, magazines, get audiobooks, watch movies, and more.
  • Trim can help you save money in all kinds of ways, including saving money on your telephone and cable bills, and negotiating your APR.
  • Money Saving Mom is a great resource for deals.
  • Many cell phone carriers are opening up free Wifi hotspot access at this time, and also offering free and cheap plans for low-income families. Get the full scoop on what telephone and internet providers are doing here.
  • U-Haul is offering 30 days of free storage for students impacted by closings.
  • Homeowners affected by the coronavirus can get help with their mortgage payments. I’ve also heard it can be a good time to refinance mortgages due to low rates!
  • Meat can be expensive, so consider switching to more plant-based meals. They’re cheaper and often healthier!
  • Free and cheap ways to stream TV and movies.
  • Clark Howard and The Penny Hoarder put out content daily on saving money.
  • Save money on a meal prep kit, and get a comparison of the services.
  • Lots of stores are also offering great deals right now, so check out your favorites! (This includes business resources.)

 

SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES:

I saw a friend post about this, and I thought it was a terrific idea! So many of us who own small businesses, are self-employed, and/or part of the gig economy are really freaked out right now. My business income fluctuates each month, and several of my clients are travel-related, so I’m not sure what’s in store. And I feel so terrible for low-wage hourly workers, who are at home and also don’t have child care. Let’s do our part to support each other!

  • Shop online
  • Buy services and products (lots of restaurants, for example, are still doing pick-up and delivery) – Don’t forget to leave a good tip when possible!
  • Buy gift cards for physical stores you can’t visit right now
  • Order fresh, local produce – In Atlanta, I recommend Fresh Harvest!
  • Gift services, products, and gift cards to others if you can afford to share the love with those who might need it. Brighten their day!
  • Donate money to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations if you want to support them, but don’t need anything.
  • Follow your favorite small businesses (social media and email) and share their message with others.

 

SUPPORT CAUSES:

Obviously, because of my work, this one is important to me as well. This is a great time to let people know what you stand for!

  • If you can still afford to make donations, please do! If you can’t give, at least help spread their message.
  • The spring is prime event season, so many people are having to cancel major fundraisers, which is a huge burden. However, many nonprofits and social impact companies are also finding creative ways to host their events online or offer some sort of alternative experience.
  • If you aren’t sure how best to help, contact them and ask!
  • Have a few, spare dollars? Consider donating to Modest Needs, who is providing short-term assistance to those in need, including hourly workers.

 

SUPPORT THOSE AT RISK:

How can you lighten the load for those at risk, such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems?

  • Offer to run errands for them. I have a weak immune system, and a friend offered to do my grocery shopping—so sweet! Especially, because wait times for deliveries right can be days away, and item availability changes quickly.
  • Point them to resources. Some grocery stores in your area may offer early hours for individuals aged 60+, so let them know. There are always multiple ways to make sure they get their medications (and at a discount). And, of course, many people (affected or not) could use financial service resources. Keep your people in the loop!
  • Reach out and say hi. Some of my favorite viral videos right now are the creative ways people are reaching out or keeping in touch. Many at-risk people are already prone to isolating themselves, so let’s make sure they are less lonely.

 

LIMIT NEWS:

Talk about stress-inducing! You definitely want to stay updated, but leaving news on all day long can feed your anxiety. Keep your news limited, and get it from credible sources.

  • http://coronavirus.gov/ – The official website from the CDC. I also follow them on Twitter just to see the new info at a glance.

 

MENTAL HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

I hope you don’t need this, but there’s no shame if you do. I’ve seen professional counselors and therapists throughout my life, and they can be incredibly helpful. Take care of yourself in every way possible.

 

ABOVE ALL, find ways to show kindness to others and share the good news. Nothing can boost your mood and give you a good distraction more than doing something for someone else. How can you be a helper?

What did I miss? I’ll try and update this post as we go.


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New (and Returning) Fall TV Favorites

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I love the break from new episodes that comes with summer. I use it as a time to catch up on shows I missed, or re-watch my classics (miss you, Bones!). I like the slower TV pace of those few months—even though I fully really this is all self-imposed. 😉 #TVaddict

But like many of you, I also eagerly await the fully-stocked buffet of fall TV. I can’t wait to see my favorites return, as well as what goodness will be premiering. So, I thought I’d share my picks with you . . . and hopefully, you’ll share yours too.

New fall favs:

  • The Brave: My favorite new show of the fall for three reasons. First, it’s a different spin on a military show than we usually see. Second, the woman is the sniper, and I love shows with strong women. And third, Mike Vogel—that’s one pretty man.
  • The Mayor: Funny premise, and the dialogue delivers in a lot of ways.

  • Kevin (Probably) Saves the World: This is just a really sweet show. It definitely has more of the “universal” spiritual aspect, but it’s far more about goodness, faith, and spirituality than we usually get to see on TV (at least that’s of high quality).

  • Ghosted: I’m honestly not 100% sold on this one, but I think it has potential with The Office and Parks and Rec family. The first season of Parks and Rec didn’t hook me either, so I’m holding out hope.

  • The Gifted: Same as above. Lots of potential, so we’ll see where it goes.

  • Ten Days in the Valley: I’ve been kind of surprised at how much I like this one. Kyra does a great job, of course, and it’s definitely gone in an unexpected direction.

  • Wisdom of the Crowd: Kind of fascinating “what if” idea on this one. Too many legal implications to be true, but it’s really interesting to think about, especially given how many of us watch cop/legal/murdery TV shows and what we might do if we had the opportunity to help in real life.

Exciting sophomore returns:

  • Stranger Things 2: Not as good as the first season, but still very entertaining. Too many new characters and subplots, I think, but they wrap it up well. Dustin and Steve’s characters and evolutions are my favorite part of the season. (And be sure to stick around after the last episode for Beyond Stranger Things for behind-the-scenes interviews.)
  • The Durrells in Corfu: I absolutely LOVED this show. I only really started watching it on Prime because it was a BBC show, and I love me some BBC. But it’s hysterical, and pretty darn clean too.
  • American Housewife: I was iffy about this for the first few episodes, but I’ve really come around to it. And I bet a lot of moms can relate to her frustrations and opinions.

  • Speechless: There are a lot of clever aspects to this show, and it’s pretty brilliant the way they’ve centered it around a real person with special needs. I’m sure it’s done a lot for the awareness and perception of people with cerebral palsy.

  • Designated Survivor: Kiefer Sutherland and a conspiracy, need I say more? This president is almost Bartlett-worthy to me.

  • Lethal Weapon: I was skeptical about this because not all movies-turned-TV shows work out well, but I like the buddy cop aspect.

  • The Tick: I think this one’s pretty funny, and I love the cleverness they included, like naming one of the villians “Overkill.”

  • Sneaky Pete: I love Giovanni Ribisi. I think he always takes on very strange and interesting characters, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

  • Riverdale: While there are some things about this show that drive me crazy, I love the spin on a classic comic, and how they’ve made it dark and intriguing. As you can tell, I love a conspiracy.
  • Timeless: We’ll have to wait until 2018 for this one, but I’m excited.

Upcoming, coming back, and anticipated:

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: From the creator of the Gilmore Girls, so we know the dialogue will be fantastic.
  • Jack Ryan: It’s a big departure from our darling “Jim,” but it looks like it’ll pay off.
  • Travelers: Probably the show I’ve recommended most over the past year. I was looking forward to it, and it turned out so different than I thought, but I loved it. Very character-driven rather than relying on the SciFi, which I didn’t expect.
  • The Last Tycoon: Ugh, so heart-breaking and dark. I had to immediately watch a comedy after finishing this series. But I loved it because it was beautifully done and acted, and I need to know what happens next.
  • The Man in the High Castle: Doesn’t really belong in this post since this will be the third season, but I love it so much I had to include it! If you haven’t seen it, let me leave you with this: What if the Germans had won WWII???

And you? What would be on your list?


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Fall TV Premiers: What I’m Watching

493999989It’s fall! And along with chilly air and the Pumpkin Spice Latte, we are given the gift of fall TV premiers. I’m so excited!

Here is what I’m looking forward to:

  • Legends (on DVD, didn’t get to see it this summer)
  • Stalker
  • The Flash

Here’s what I’ve already seen and am excited about:

  • Madam Secretary
  • Scorpion
  • Forever
  • The Mysteries of Laura
  • Selfie

Here’s what I’m most thrilled to see return:

  • The Blacklist (Best new show of last fall!)
  • Doctor Who
  • Hell on Wheels
  • Person of Interest
  • Modern Family
  • Bones
  • Castle
  • Homeland
  • White Collar (sniff sniff, last season)
  • Grimm
  • The Mentalist (sniff sniff, last season)
  • Elementary
  • Downton Abbey
  • Justified
  • Continuum
  • Sherlock

And I’ve seen and am on the fence about Gotham and How to Get Away with Murder, despite having initial high hopes. And I want to be really excited about Gracepoint, but I wasn’t over the moon about the BBC version, even though I am over the moon about David Tennant, my beloved 10th Doctor.

 

What about you? What’s on your watch list?


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A Little LOST

SPOILER ALERTS!!!

As many “others” prepared for the Season 6 premier of LOST on Tuesday night, I’ve been steadily watching recaps (thank you, iTunes) of the previous seasons. So much has happened to my castaway friends that as I prepared to watch Season 5 on Netflix, I felt I first needed a refresher course. And while it’s hard not staying in synch with those watching the in-season episodes each week, I’m excited that I still have quite a bit of time left with my island friends.

The last two recap episodes were very different in that co-creater, Damon Lindeloff, and one of the producers interjected comments between scenes, set up background info and provided insight into the minds of the characters. They really began delving into the psyche of our heroes and villains (also watching last season of Heroes, FYI) and I began to identify with some of them. Here are a few I thought I’d share…

JACK: I also feel the need to step up and lead to fill voids. I probably also struggle, though not near as much as I used to or as much as Jack does, with the “savior” complex and the need to help fix people. I, too, feel a great deal of loyalty and protection for those I love. I have had to return to places of great pain. We differ in that I am not a big fan of blood or needles.

KATE: Like Kate, I can feel conflicted in my decisions or deeply torn between two choices. You may have noticed that I also have freckles. And I also like to feel involved and not left behind. I want to be part of the action. We have both had crushes on the Jacks AND the Sawyers of the world. We differ in that I’ve never blown up my mother’s boyfriend.

SAWYER: I make literary references. James has actually read the books and I’ve mostly seen the movies, but nonetheless, I get the references! I also have things in my past I’m not proud of. Stubborn and resourceful are two qualities we share. We differ in that I’ve never conned any woman out of thousands of dollars.

LOCKE: John and I have a strong sense of faith, destiny and purpose. We are both willing to look a little foolish for the things we believe in. And we each have a great sense of adventure and curiosity. We differ in that my father has never stolen a kidney from me.

SAYID: I think we are both driven people. We have absolutely been searched at the airport more than once. We have different kinds of wounds, but woulds still. Underneath it all, we want to be kind and compassionate. We differ in that I was never a member of the Republican Guard, or any guard.

HUGO: We have both worked in the restaurant industry. I have also felt crazy from time to time. I have a strong moral streak. Like Hugo, I also want to see people get along and make others laugh. We differ in that I have never won the lottery.

JIN: We both like Korean food. I have also been in places where I don’t speak the language, literally and metaphorically, and have felt out of place. I also want to be useful. We differ in that I have never worked in a hotel.

SUN: I have also helped teach someone English. We both have a great desire to do the right thing. I struggle with tradition and my own independence. We differ in that I have never been married to a Korean man.

CLAIRE: We both really love peanut butter. I have also been to the doctor a lot recently. I have blue eyes. Claire and I hate feeling helpless. We differ in that I have never given birth in the jungle.

BEN: We both have a thing for the Wizard of Oz. We each have the power to manipulate (having is different from using). I also long for a more perfect world. We differ in that I have never caused a genocide.

CHARLIE: We have both let our vices control our actions from time to time. Our heart often dictates our head. We would sacrifice most anything for our friends. We differ in that I have never had a rock album. (You all, everybody!)

MICHAEL: We both lived in New York. We have each had our hearts broken. I, too, get irritated easily. We were both annoyed by Anna Lucia. We differ in that I would not name my child Walt, as much as I love Disney.

DESMOND: We are both crappy sailors. We both “pushed buttons” for too long. I have also been separated from friends and family for periods of time. We differ in that I don’t like calling people, “brother”.

JULIET: We have taken one assignment and ended up in another. I’ve felt like an Outsider among the Insiders. I am pretty confident as well. We differ in that I probably wouldn’t be a part of a book club.

Well, that was fun. Enough about me. Which character(s) do you identify with and why?

PS – Thank you JJ Abrams, for yet again bringing something of quality to television.