So far, the year 2020 has been rough. We still have three months left in what could quickly go down as the worst series of unfortunate events to occur in a single calendar year, at least in my lifetime! So, I should share what has kept me breathing and sane thus far, hoping that you can relate or find a new sanity method for yourself.
In March, when quarantine began, I downloaded Tik Tok. No regrets! I have laughed until I’ve cried more times than I can count, watching all of the enormously hilarious and talented people I’ve found there. All of this could not have come at a better time when the world outside was growing increasingly more scary and weird.
Beyond the laughs, I also found wonderfully kind and unique individuals with moving and heart-warming stories. These stories included a cockatiel whose owner died and had consequently pulled out all of its feathers. The bird was then adopted by a younger couple who danced and headbanged with the bird to metal music. Over the months, the bird’s feathers started to return with no new feather pulling. This story, and countless others, have given me hope and restored my faith in humanity.
I also learned quite a lot on Tik Tok! There are a video and person to follow for any topic of interest! For me, in particular, I landed on #planttiktok reasonably early into my Tik Tok foray. This reignited my love for all things plant and garden related, and in the process, I picked up some handy tips and tricks to keep my thumb “extra” green. Which leads me to my next life-saving tactic—
Plants, Plants, Plants
I have always enjoyed house plants, but 2020 sent me down the plant acquisition rabbit hole! While perusing the aforementioned Tik Tok app, my passion for house plants was rekindled! I have acquired somewhere in the ballpark of twenty-ish new house plants to add to my pre-existing 5. Some of them are large; some are small, some are rare and more challenging. Several plant babies are now in my home, serving as little experiments in plant cuttings, rooting, and propagation.
I’ve also discovered a few things about where to buy plants! Some of my favorites are:
- United Supermarkets tend to get some more rare plants than your local big-box gardening center routinely carries at affordable prices.
- Etsy- surprisingly, they have all arrived well packaged and in incredible shape.
- Facebook Gardening Groups- these people love plants as much or more than me, plus they offer plant purges where you can pick up some real bargains, sometimes even FREE plants!
My husband got my two boys and me into disc golf. We had played a handful of times before 2020 started, but we all committed after quarantine began. With limited things to do inside, we turned to the disc golf courses outside! It can be an inexpensive sport because all you need are a few discs for each person. There are no green fees or charges to play. There are also numerous disc golf courses in Lubbock. My personal faves are at Mackenzie Park (aka Little Mac) and Mae Simmons.
Disc golf gives us a reason to spend time together and to get outdoors. Both of which are good for the soul, physicality, and mental status! Now, my husband and the boys go out and play several times per week, and I join them once or twice per week. While we all started as beginners, we have all improved measurably from March-to-date, and it is super fun.
The Unfriend/Unfollow Button
I use it. I’ve used it A LOT for the last several months. 2020 has been polarizing and difficult to stomach no matter which side of mask-wearing or the political arena you sit on. I know that social media is intended to be a social space where you add friends and acquaintances to stay connected, but the truth is there are many out there who make the social media space unsafe for us (me) mentally. Sometimes it is best to disconnect with them, and that is okay. Permit yourself to set healthy boundaries.
Unfriending and unfollowing has allowed me to enjoy social media again. I use it more to find plant bargains, keep up with local happenings, and to share cat photos and funny memes more-so these days than anything else. I highly recommend you try it, too! It’s so gratifying to see a feed full of HAPPY things you are interested in rather than negativity or bickering.
Meditation is not new to me. I first tried it approximately 15 years ago after attending a meditation class with a friend at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Lubbock. Over the years, there have been periods where I have made sure that mediation was a regular part of my routine. There have also been periods (literal years) where I haven’t taken the time for it, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. Every time I have been intentional about providing myself space and time to rest my mind and breathe, I’ve felt a ton better.
Since 2020 has been the biggest crapshoot ever, I recognized the need for it in my life again. Meditation isn’t hard, but it isn’t easy either. All you need is your breath, and hopefully, a quiet spot for a few minutes. This can happen in your car, the bathroom, your mom’s closet, before your kids wake up for the day, or even after they’ve all gone to bed.
Just find a quiet place and breathe your heart out. Empty your brain of all of the clutter and noise. Focus on your breath, and when the thoughts creep back in, you return to your breath each time. That is all that is required. There are some handy apps or YouTube videos that you can use for guided meditations, also.
Some people will create a special mindfulness place in their home to help them as a mental cue that it’s time to settle into practice. This is what I’ve done recently. Candles, incense, soft music, worry stones, and lighting are all possibilities. As I’ve mentioned before, all that is required is a few minutes and your breath.
It might surprise you to find out that in 60 seconds, you can completely reset your mindset. Breath control is quite beneficial because of the immediate cognitive connection, which creates a calmer state of mind.
Try it right now. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly through your nose. Pause. Then breathe out slowly through your nose. Try it for a count of ten breaths. There, doesn’t that feel better?
What are some things that have helped you make 2020 more bearable? What are some mindfulness tips that have helped you the most? Did you pick up a new hobby during quarantine that fills you with joy?