Tag Archives: Covid-19

Caring for Oneself in these Trying Times

October 5, 2020

Culture and Society

I have to admit that all of this is getting to me. In the last two weeks alone, there have been thousands of more Coronavirus deaths, a massively chaotic presidential debate, a terrible outcome in the Breonna Tayler case, the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, millions of acres of California burning in flames, thousands of more jobs lost after businesses have closed or downsized, and the October surprise of the US president testing positive for Covid-19. I am also feeling more anxiety as the US presidential election approaches on November 3rd of next month, and I have finally been able to admit to myself that I have been experiencing a low-grade depression for the last few weeks.

Yes, all of it is getting to me.

What bothers me the most is a feeling of powerlessness amid all of this death, injustice, and chaos. What is there to be done?

I wake up some mornings feeling drained and unmotivated. I sigh when I come across another news headline of something terrible. All of this is impossibly sad and frustrating.

I have been alive long enough on this planet to know that I need to take responsibility for my own wellbeing. I cannot keep spiraling down this path. I cannot let all of this gloom and doom get the best of me.

With this in mind, here is what I am planning to do:

  1. Acknowledge my emotions whether they be sadness, anger, frustration, or any form of depression. It is important to sit with these feelings and hear them out. Denying that they exist will only do greater harm. Writing this blog post is one way of dealing with this, and another is taking some quiet time to myself to think about it all.
  2. Exercise outdoors on a regular basis. I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog that I have been going on long walks every day. I will continue doing this, and maybe find other places to walk for a change of scenery.
  3. Stay hydrated and eat healthy. I am blessed to have access to homegrown food every day from our garden. I’ve been avoiding sugar since January 1st of this year. Thankfully, I am well-positioned for this part of my plan.
  4. Handle my daily frustrations with kid gloves. Whenever I am feeling aggravated about a mistake I made or something I utterly failed at, I will be gentle with myself. Take a step back. Take a deep breathe. Maybe take a nap or step outside. I won’t be so hard on myself.
  5. Connect with friends and loved ones. I do not have to experience the troubles of this world alone. I will reach out and stay connected with others, even though the dominant introverted part of me finds that difficult.
  6. Seek out opportunities to laugh as much as possible. Laughter is healing, and so I am on the hunt for the best comedic films to watch. I am open to suggestions.

This plan does not seem like much, but I have always believed that incremental changes across a long period of time make the most substantive and deep shifts.

2020 is far from over, and there will quite likely be more chaos and trouble to come. I am trying to figure out a way to cope with it all.

One way or another, I will simply do the best I can. This is all I can do,

Staying Home Update #4

August 10, 2020

Creativity / Culture and Society / Reading Books

It’s been a minute since I’ve written about how I am actually doing as the Coronavirus continues to ravage the US. The obvious setbacks that we are all experiencing are ever-present in my life. I stay at home over 95% of my time, with the exception of getting groceries from the supermarket and the farmer’s market once a week as well as dropping off our household trash and recycling. This means that visiting friends and family, working on a film project with other people, or something as mundane as going to a movie theater to see a big-budget film are simply out of the question.

To delve deeper, I released a short film on my Youtube channel last month that conveys my emotional state since the lockdown began last March.

Here is “The Summer Inside”:

Yes, I am feeling all of what this film communicates, but beyond this low-grade, ongoing depression (and anxiety), my world has opened up in different ways:

  • I have had more time to devote to learning how to play a new musical instrument. Every day, I’ve been learning something new on my ukulele. I never thought that I would enjoy this so much!
  • I have had more time to make my films. As of today, I have filmed, edited, and released 18 short films on my Youtube channel since Easter back in April. I’ve lost count of how many hours of filming and editing this has taken up! I’ve learned so much, and I’ve become a more capable filmmaker in the process.
  • I have been working toward building a personal system of daily actions in my life that addresses self-care and what I need to cultivate for my creative work to keep growing. Specifically, I’ve been reframing my workflow and optimizing each step of the work that I do in the interest feeling healthier, stronger, and more fulfilled.
  • I have been exercising consistently every day. This reaps so many benefits.
  • I have been reading very good books.

As limiting as sheltering in place has been, I have carved out these small ways to keep developing my life. None of this is easy, by the way. All of the above has involved lots of trial and error, research, and fighting doubt, which is one of my longstanding foes.

Like the rest of the world, I have no idea when everything will return to being like it once was. Maybe the world has changed permanently, for better or worse, because of all this. I know that I will continue to nurture the small amount of good that is growing out of this experience. I want to figure out how I can sustain all of this even when Covid-19 someday settles down and the world starts to open back up again.

Until then, I will read my books, write for this blog, create my short films, meander daily on our long driveway in the woods at a slow but purposeful pace, play my piano, strum my ukulele, sing, enjoy fresh veggies from our garden, and keep myself and my loved ones as safe as I can.

Life, in whatever form, pushes forward. In my own way, I am doing the same.

Incidentally, my newest film release, which describes colonialism, is out right now. Have a look at it right here:

Staying Home Update #2

March 30, 2020

Culture and Society

The days lumber on as I shelter in place. Most of the time, I fight the urge to check the news. This involves a swift and anxious perusal of several news websites including CNN, NPR, The Guardian, USA Today, and a Nashvile TV news station. I am getting a better handle on this obsession. Nonetheless, I harbor a deep concern for the wellbeing of the world. The coronavirus pandemic is on its way to being a catastrophic world event with aftershocks that we will experience for an unforeseeable future. I fear for the vulnerable populations all over the world and for the poor countries (such as those in Africa) that do not have the resources and infrastructure that the developed world has. If wealthy countries like Italy, Spain, and the US cannot even contain the spread of the virus and its devastating mortality rate, then how much harder will it be for the poverty-stricken of the world? I can’t even.

This is all overwhelming, and I am simply trying to stay calm.

To that end, there are some daily practices I have cobbled together and try to do as consistently as I can. I maintain a list of friends and family members with whom I check in whenever I can without becoming a nuisance about it. This involves messaging on social media, texting, email, Zoom chats, and phone calls. At a time in which we need to be physically distant from one another, I see this moment in history as an opportunity to support and comfort each other as much as possible.

Another daily activity I have is walking. Being out in the country, I am fortunate to have a private driveway that is half of a mile long from our doorstep to our mailbox. It runs right along our creek and makes for a truly idyllic and calming stroll surrounded by thousands of trees and abundant nature. Our wifi does not extend beyond the house, and I do not get a cell phone signal on our property at all. This means that I am completely cut off from the world when I take these walks., and this is quite refreshing. There are no news websites to obsess over and no people to avoid. I get to be alone with my thoughts and with the natural world, as well as get the easy and low-impact kind of exercise that I generally prefer.

Here are some photos I took a couple of days ago along my way.

Our creek runs right along the driveway.
This is a peaceful and picturesque path.

For about an hour or two if it is not raining (and it rains A LOT in my neck of the woods), I have been working on what has been a lengthy home-maintenance project. I am pressure washing our deck . This has been time-consuming for a couple of reasons. Our house is over 20 years old, and I do not know if the deck has ever been pressure washed before. The layers of mold and normal wear have taken their toll. I have to go over many sections several times just to get a lot of it off. The other reason why this is taking a while is that the deck wraps around the house. It’s A LOT of deck. So, I do a little at a time on most days, and I should be done in about month at my current glacial pace. The before and after photos are quite shocking. Our deck post-wash looks almost brand new! I love it!! This process has been surprisingly rewarding.

In this photo, the darker section is the “before.” Seriously, what a difference huh?

Grime and mold disappearing after a thorough pressure wash.

Like I mentioned last time, I am also doing a lot of reading, knitting, and music playing on my piano and ukulele (less so on cello lately, but that will change soon).

I do all of this in the interest of trying to live calmly as we all weather the growing storm of this virus.

I hope you find meaningful or at least enjoyable activities to fill your days as we try to stay healthy and less stressed out.

Be safe and be kind to yourselves. (Also, wash your hands when you get a chance.)

There will be more updates to come.

-Roqué