Four Ways to Handle This COVID Thing Without Losing Your Mind

Do you feel like you’ve lost control of your life or wonder why you have a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings, lately? Or, do you feel like you are going to lose your mind during this COVID-19 pandemic?

I sure have! I was not, at all, expecting this worldwide illness, and it caught me completely off guard.

If you have lost your job due to this latest coronavirus and had to stay home with or without anyone else, you must have felt off balance and wondering what the hell is happening or when all of this will end.

You are not alone.

I discovered it is normal to feel discombobulated, angry, sad, or even depressed. What has happened to the world is very traumatic. And trauma requires healing, and healing takes time – sometimes lots of it.

You might be one of the lucky people who did not lose their job and is able to work from home, you might be retired, or a stay-at-home mother who was not affected too much by the pandemic. You might be a person who is a first responder on the front lines (I have the utmost respect for you!). Or, you might be someone, like me, who lost their career and now has to “redo” herself. Wherever you are during this pandemic and whatever you are experiencing, know that it is normal to feel confused, afraid, and bewildered.

I actually had quit my corporate job to become a full time copywriter and content writer ONE WEEK before the virus was designated very contagious. I was planning on taking some time off to recoup from my very stressful former job and then work on building my business. I did not expect a pandemic, the world shutting down, and my partner losing his job. None of that was part of the plan.

But, life happens. Yes, it does.

My plan was to move on from my former job and career quickly (that did not happen – I had to rest and heal and get back on a schedule and lifestyle that supported my wellness physically, mentally, and emotionally, and that took much longer than anticipated). I was going to start my business in March (um, no, didn’t happen either). I was planning on living a great life that suited me until retirement, but then COVID happened.

Ugh. Can you relate to any of this?

Since end of February, I have been ill twice, had to have a root canal, threw out my back, which put me out for three weeks in Apr (the pain was awful), and watched my savings fly out the window month after month (it is still flying high). Life doesn’t always go as planned, does it? Sometimes, no matter what you do or how impeccable you think your plans are, life happens and throws you for a loop. It happens to all of us, sooner or later.

In addition to all of this, I have not been able to write. Until recently, my mind has been in some state of “foggy disillusionment,” for lack of better words. What kind of business was I going to have if I couldn’t write, when writing is THE BUSINESS? Yikes. I was not in a good place.

But, I finally snapped out of my funk.

To be honest, I am not sure exactly how I did it. Nothing big happened. I think I finally realized that the world is experiencing something unprecedented and decided to be kind to myself and lower my expectations. Once I did that, I learned the next four lessons that stopped me from feeling like I was losing my mind:   

  • I acknowledged that it is normal to feel confused and angry. You can too. What is now happening to the world is shocking. It is unexpected, hit us like a brick really, and no one knows when it will all end, or if we are ever going back to “normal.” The ramifications of this on the human psyche is nothing less than traumatic. One of the definitions of the word trauma is “an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.” So, it is normal to feel shocked, fearful, and like you are losing control of your life. It takes time to heal from trauma.

The solution is to be gentle with yourself. Know that you are not alone. Know that so many other people are feeling what you are feeling. Know that this too shall pass, and that life will get back to normal. It is okay to feel your emotions: feel your anger or your sadness, but don’t stay in that space for long. Feel it, talk about it with someone, scream if you have to, and then move on.

  • I established a new routine and stuck with it. You can too. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me! Whatever your routine was prior to the pandemic, most likely it does not exist anymore. The human body and mind works best with a routine for physical, emotional, and mental wellness. A lack of routine is a recipe for disaster.

The solution is to establish a routine during these troubling times: get up at the same time every morning, eat well and exercise, set time aside to do what you do, whether work or something else you love, and go to bed at the same time every night. A routine will help you to cope with the uncertainty in this world right now. This lesson alone helped me tremendously.

  • I decided to do something that I love to do every day. You can too. This may seem obvious, but when human beings are thrown off balance, we don’t always realize that doing what we love will bring about momentum and get us out of our self-imposed funk.  You have been given a throat punch from COVID-19. Punch it back.

The solution is to be good to yourself by doing something creative that you love or learn something new. I have reorganized my craft room, and am now in the process of reorganizing my garage (both were a horrific mess). The reorganization gave my brain a time out from worry, fear, and confusion, and helped get my creative mind working again, so I could write again and plan a new career. Being creative always helps heal your mind from trauma. Punch back COVID-19 by being good to yourself, even if it is only for a half hour per day. Just start and don’t wait until you are motivated. The motivation will appear after you begin.

  • I chose to reach out to other people. You can too. This one is obvious to extroverts, so I am writing to the introverts here. If you are introverted like I am, reaching out to others might be the last thought you have during this worldwide crisis. I empathize. But, even the most introverted person needs human companionship, once in a while.  
  • The solution is to communicate with at least one other person every day. It does not matter what method of communication you use: phone, IM, chat, email, Skype or Zoom, or in person (safely). What matters is reaching out to someone else who is also going through the same feelings, thoughts, worry, stress, or sadness. It will help you handle this unexpected life of isolation better, give you hope, and remind you that you are not alone. If you live alone, especially, it is vital to reach out.

We are all in this together. Despite all the layoffs and furloughs, massive unemployment, fear, sadness, discouragement, uncertainty, and anxiety, you are still able to have some control over your life. You get to choose how you will take care of your mind, body, and emotions through these unpredictable times. You get to choose whether to live in disappointment or to live in acceptance and creativity during COVID-19.

Here’s to taking good care of yourself and to hoping for a better, new normal in the near future.  

The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli, A Review

Unique and inspiring, The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli demonstrates how to live your best life by stepping out in courage despite the fear you may face.  

Most people stay locked in their fear. How many times have you not pursued your passions because you were afraid? How many times have you told yourself that you “can’t do it,” or how many times have you given up because things got too difficult or because you were afraid?

I sure have!

Franziska, in The Courage Map, gives us a guide on how to change the habit of fear, to live boldly, and do the great things we aspire to do.

The thirteen principles in Iseli’s book are very helpful and will inspire you to live a passionate and fearless life. Each chapter explains how to overcome obstacles that hinder our dreams, our desires, and our goals. An adventurer and world traveler, Iseli beautifully weaves her travel stories from her motorcycle trip on the Silk Highway from Switzerland to Kazakhstan into this book, explaining how she overcame her fears by taking needed courageous steps. She recaps the lessons and beautiful, unforgettable moments that came from those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

This book was a pleasure to read. As a lover of traveling myself, some of her amazing stories brought tears to my eyes, not only because I could imagine myself experiencing what she wrote about (I have always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle and travel around the country but did not due to … wait for it… lack of courage), but also because I resonated with the interpretation of her travel experiences and how her courage brought about a richer, more fulfilling adventure. Franziska also includes suggested intentions, exercises, and questions at the end of each chapter for further contemplation and self-improvement.

I recommend The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly by Franziska Iseli to anyone seeking to learn how to live with courage and live in the present moment, or to those seeking self-improvement, a passionate life, mindful living, or more joy in their lives. This reading would also be exceptional for those interested in psychology and human behavior.

A bit about the author, Franziska Iseli:

Franziska Iseli is a visionary and eternal optimist. No challenge seems to be too big for her, it seems. She is known for her rebellious nature and doing things differently. She has this rare combination of being both creative and strategic, which makes her a powerful leader in the business world as entrepreneur and co-founder of several companies: Basic BananasOceanLoversMoments of Humanity, and The Business Hood.

In addition to The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly, Franziska Iseli is the author of Perception: Take charge of how others view your brand, Become Irresistible and Make a Bigger Impact, and Bananas About Marketing: How to Attract a Whole Bunch of Customers. 

In her spare time, Franziska loves going on mad adventures, surfing the ocean’s waves, motorcycling around the world, playing music with her band Salty Lips, learning, writing, meaningful discussions, and spending time with family and friends.

To learn more about Franziska Iseli, visit: FranziskaIseli.com.

To purchase a copy of The Courage Map: 13 Principles to Living Boldly, visit Amazon.

Thinking about publishing your book? Visit TCKpublishing.com.

Happy Holidays to My Readers

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” – Virginia Woolf

As a thinker and writer, I appreciate you, my readers, IMMENSELY.

A writer must write; a writer is a creator full of more ideas than they can express. A writer is an artist with words. We ponder, wonder, draft, organize, re-organize, agonize, rewrite, express, and criticize our writing more than you can imagine.

We read a lot.

We think a lot.

We love life and written communication. We love to learn. We live to ask, “What if?”

We want to be read and heard. We want the people in our lives to understand that writing is something we need to do. It is us.

Writers write to express who they are, to discover who they want to become, to change the world, to tell their story, to persuade, to convince, to examine, to entertain, to emote, to share, and just because. Because they must.

Thank you for reading my musings. My hope is that they have inspired you to think beyond what is familiar.

Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Vilma

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Letting Go…

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I live in a neighborhood full of deer.

I often have to watch out for them as I drive to and fro, so I don’t hit them with my car. In February, in the ice and snow and sometimes bitter cold, the mother deer watch their fawns stroll across the street, hoping they are not harmed. It is truly a beautiful sight to embrace, a moment that stops my racing thoughts and reminds me of the mystery of life.

As I observe these precious animals walking in front of my car, I take a peek at their concerned mothers off the road nearby; they are watching with anticipation and wondering, “Is my baby going to make it?” They know they have to allow them to walk across the street knowing they cannot always protect them from harm.

I’m also a mother, and I relate to the mother deer. I am now at a point in my life where I have to watch my baby cross the street by herself, and I have to let go.

As a mom, I’ve always cherished the short car ride up the long hill in my neighborhood on school mornings. I have driven my baby to school for eleven years. These days, my seventeen-year-old and I sometimes talk. We are sometimes silent, and that is okay. Grade school, middle school, and high school in wind, snow, ice, rain, and sun, we have made it to school, despite the deer. Each school just happens to be farther in distance from the house, and we’ve mostly taken the easiest route available that led us to all three schools. When I drove her to her first day in grade school, I knew that one day it would be our last time driving to that school, and then months later, I would be driving father away, to the next school. Soon, the day will come when I will drive my young adult to her last day in high school. It is coming, and I can’t avoid it.

Little shoes, pretty dresses, big backpacks, crayons, and smiles in grade school – 5 minute drive.

Friends, sleepovers, crushes, and new music in middle school – 7 minute drive.

Cell phones, Snap Chat, raw emotions, first loves, and the beginning of independence in high school – 10 minute drive.

(And, she has never wanted to wear a coat!)

Life happens. It changes and we have to let go. We have to embrace it. We have no choice, really. Somehow, we have to find the strength to believe that if we let go, it will be okay.

To know that I have done my best in the situation I had…

To know that I have allowed my fawn be herself always…

To know that I have guided my fawn to be kind, to be considerate, to be compassionate…

To know that I have watched my fawn work hard towards her goals and dreams…

To know that I have watched my fawn learn that life is not perfect, that it is unpredictable, that it can be amazing and also heart-wrenching…

To know that I have taught my fawn to avoid what harms, what is dangerous, what will hurt her…

To know that I have guided my fawn to be humble, encouraging, and loving…

To know that I have witnessed my fawn give it all she has…

To know that I have taught my fawn to cross the street after looking both ways…

To know that I have loved my fawn with all of my heart…

Is to know that I have not failed.

It is to know that this is life. It is to know that life is about letting go.

© 2019, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

December Book Review: The Choice: Embracing the Possible by Edith Eva Eger

A stunning, powerful, beautifully-written memoir of her life as a Jewish child in Hungary, as a holocaust prisoner at Auschwitz, and the years of recovery thereafter, Edith Eva Eger’s, The Choice: Embrace the Possible, left me speechless. Through her incredible story, Eger shows us how to move from a victim, to a survivor, and then to an empowered person. She demonstrates how this is done by the power of choice. If there is anyone who has the credibility to teach others how to truly thrive after enduring horrific experiences, it is this amazing woman!

As a holocaust survivor with most of her imprisonment at Auschwitz, Edith tells her story with first-rate prose, weaving her past with her present and taking the reader on an inspiring journey. Her book is divided into four major sections. She talks about her childhood and imprisonment as a teenager, her escape, her recovery, and lastly, her final healing which was not fully complete until she revisited Auschwitz decades later. It was then that she turned tragedy into triumph. Eger’s book covers how she watched her mother march to her death in the gas chamber; details her daily torture and starvation; explains how she and her sister, Magda, inspired each other to survive yet another, torturous day; covers how she was transferred to the Mauthausen and Gunskirchen camps in Austria; and finally, her rescue from a heap of dying bodies by U.S. soldiers.  This is the kind of book that gives you the chills, makes you gasp, makes you feel a multitude of emotions, and entices you to close it for a moment, put it down, and inevitably stare at the wall in awe.

In addition to her imprisonment, Edith explains how she kept her experiences in the concentration camp to herself for most of her adult life, until she realized she could not keep her secret any longer, if she wanted to heal from her past. As a clinical therapist, she explains how some of her clients were the catalyst in helping her eventually discover why she feared verbalizing her experiences during WWII. The Choice: Embrace the Possible is not only a story about a holocaust survivor, but also a story of hope, of courage, of forgiveness, of personal healing, and of how to escape the prison in our own minds.

I highly recommend The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eva Eger to those interested in learning about the Holocaust from the perspective of a thriving survivor, to those who are history or WWII buffs, or to those who want to read a beautiful, very inspiring story. I could not put this book down, and I definitely learned a lot.

A bit about the author, Dr. Edith Eva Eger:Dicu-e1467064906674

Dr. Edith Eva Eger holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and maintains a thriving practice in La Jolla, California. She also holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego. She serves as the consultant for the U.S. Army and Navy in resiliency training and the treatment of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Edith is eighty-nine years old, a dancer, an inspiring speaker, and ends her talks with a high ballet kick (a metaphor for the human spirit, her love of ballet, and the power of choice).

To learn more about Dr. Edith Eva Eger, follow her Facebook Page. To purchase a copy of The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eva Eger, visit Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

August Book Review:  Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom by Louise Hay

There is always time for inspiration!

As a tribute to the late Louise Hay (Oct 8, 1926-Aug 30, 2017), I’ve decided to review one of her many books, Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom, in hopes of motivating you to improve your thinking.

Louise Hay’s Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom is a book of inspirational “affirmations” to help us live healthier and happier lives. Affirmations are conscious or unconscious statements of truth we believe about ourselves. These “truth” statements create our moments, our days, and our lives, so it is important to look within and analyze what we believe. In addition to affirmations, Louise uses meditations, spiritual treatments, and advice to help us improve or change our thinking. She divides her book by themes such as relationships, self-love, money, career, wisdom, and health, for example. You can pick up the book and start reading Hay’s wisdom at any chapter and find incredible insights. It is a good book to have on your nightstand for daily or nightly encouragement.

I know some people might find affirmations a bit silly and useless (I know I did when I had first heard of them!), but I encourage you to give them a try. After reading Louise’s book, I decided to try them myself. I discovered that telling myself something new and positive did, in fact, change the course of my day and lifted my spirits. As a person who has recovered from a very negative and difficult childhood, Louise Hay’s affirmations have helped me to see myself differently and change some destructive, long-held, subconscious beliefs. Incorporating Hay’s affirmations literally was a life-changer for me!

Below are some examples of affirmations found on LouiseHay.com.

  1. It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.
  2. The point of power is always in the present moment.
  3. Every thought we think is creating our future.
  4. I am in the process of positive change.
  5. I now go beyond other people’s fears and limitations.
  6. It is safe to look within.
  7. I forgive myself and set myself free.
  8. As I say yes to life, life says yes to me.

I highly recommend Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom by Louise Hay to anyone who seems to be stuck in negative thinking patterns, those who do not love or accept themselves, or anyone who is seeking more joy in their lives.

A bit about the author, Louise Hay:

Louise Hay

Louise Hay was an internationally renowned lecturer, metaphysical teacher and best-selling author of many books, including Heal Your Body from A to Z and Empowering Women. Her books have been translated into twenty nine languages in thirty five countries throughout the world. Since the beginning of her career as a Science of Mind minister in 1981, she has assisted millions of people in discovering the full potential of their own creative power to heal and transform. Louise Hay was also the founder of Hay House Inc., a self-publishing company that distributes books, audios and videos that contribute to personal healing and the healing of our planet. She passed away on Aug 30, 2017, at the age of ninety.

To learn more about Louise Hay or to purchase Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom, visit her website, LouiseHay.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com