Write It Down

Write It Down
Write It Down

Write it down? What’s that?

How often have you seen someone lately with a notebook and pen in hand? My guess is not very often. Now, think back and ask yourself how many people have you seen on a screen lately? I bet the numbers are explosive right now in your mind. They may be reading or typing, but the screen is the gateway to just about anything these days.

I am from an era, however, where people wrote things down — and I mean wrote everything down as lugging out a typewriter to type anything out other than something formal wasn’t about to happen. We wrote out to do lists, recipes, essays, budgets, reminders, letters, notes, and whatever else you can think of — if we were wanting to record something for any reason we were grabbing a pen and paper.

I went back to graduate school in my mid-40s and during the very first class I definitely noticed a change. As class began, everyone was pulling out their laptops as I pulled out my fresh notebook and pen. It didn’t take me too long to gather who was the dinosaur in the room — me! However, that never bothered me, and I gladly opened up my tools to begin to record my notes.

At that point, the Professor looked out into the sea of students in the large class and addressed everyone, “I see you all have your laptops out ready to go, but there is hard core research that says people best learn by writing down notes — something about pen to paper contact makes absorbing information easier.”

Of course, the Professor was probably ten years older than me, so I thought perhaps she just hasn’t gotten with the times and is using “research” as an excuse to not feel so old given how it used to be. However, more and more there has been research out that says exactly this — humans remember more when we write it down.

I know for me this is true. Once I have my to do list written, I sort of know in my head what is on there more so than when I type it on a screen. I have an electronic calendar and I have a paper calendar. Oh how I love my written calendar and writing it all down. Partly this is my era and partly it is because I remember it all better when I write it down.

I was struck recently when a person in her mid 20s was discussing crafting a budget and related she was writing it all out and that this helped her more than any budget app as she could see for herself the ecosystem of her money and remember the amounts and the categories much more easily. Even someone much younger than myself finds putting pen to paper better.

So, if you are having difficulty remembering tasks, events on the calendar, tracking your money and/or any other number of tasks, write it down instead. Try it at the very least.

Oh! And everyone always appreciates a handwritten letter! You could even begin there!

Making the Dark Days Cozy

I’ve been waking up at my usual time — about 5 am — recently and can’t believe how long it takes to see the dawn. I keep thinking it is mid to late January — surely now I will see the light around 6:45 to 7 am. Alas, no! It’s dark until around 8 am and then a bit of twilight time for the next hour. I know we are gaining light, but at this exact moment it doesn’t feel like it.

What can any of us do when winter and the darkness seems to descend for an endless loop. Well, first thing, is to hold on to one’s mine and remember – quite literally – we are gaining time. Check out your local weather forecast and they tell you the sunrise and sunset times for each day. It is indeed a fact that the days are lengthening — even if they don’t quite feel like they are just yet.

Second, this is the time to take a page out of the hyggle lifestyle and make these dark days cozy. The Danes definitely know a thing or two about making their lives cozy during winter. It’s a fun little read. The idea was all the rage about five years ago, but such concepts never truly go out of style and so here are a few ideas for making your home and life cozy during these dark days of late January into February.

Cozy up to your favorite hot beverage — cocoa, coffee, tea, or any number of other fancy hot drinks. Enjoy the ritual of making it for yourself and really taste the warmth in the depths of our cold temperatures.

Knit, crochet, or just touch material that is warm and soft — cashmere anyone? It’s always soothing to make things out of these materials, but if you aren’t into such craft projects, even touching something soft and warm can bring coziness to your days.

Make a meal — perhaps a rich stew or slow cooker meal? Try your hand at making something delicious that will not only keep your stomach full and warm, but allows people around your dinner table to linger and savor each other’s company as they enjoy the meal. Being with people as you “break bread” can lead to a light that is kindled deep within.

Bath anyone? Can there be anything better than a warm to hot bath with salts and bubbles? Get your temperature just right and soak away. Bring into the bath a favorite book, podcast, drink, and more and linger, relax and unwind. Don’t forget to light a candle or two.The ultimate to creating a warm, relaxing feel. Towel off and use moisturizers and oils to extend the self pampering.

Light a fire or candles. If you have a fire pit outdoors, light it and cuddle up around it with warm outdoor blankets. Just looking into a flame can be meditative and relaxing. Also, as it gets dark early in evening, it is nice to light candles to continue the light at soft levels. Add candles to your dinner table too — it’s not just for special occasions.

Get in touch with yourself. With the pandemic still raging and light hardly around more of us are finding ourselves indoors. This is the time for vision boards, journals, and other inner wanderings where we can be in touch and in flow with ourselves that may be harder to do when warmer weather abounds and one wants to be outdoors in the literal light. For now, give yourself the gift of introspection to shine a light within.

When you do see the sun outside during the previous daylight hours, get out into it. Walk, run, have your hot beverage outdoors. Take in that shot of pure Vitamin D and let it soak in. Seriously, it will help you find even more contentment when the darkness arrives way too early in the evening.

These are just a few ideas to making the dark days cozy. I think the Groundhog is about to climb out of the ground and let us know how much more winter to expect — 6 more weeks or not? Whatever the time, enjoy each day and make it cozy.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year
Happy 2022!

Happy New Year.

We are only a few wee hours into 2022 — does it feel like a new page for you? Of course there is always the annual stress that occurs post-Christmas to think about the past year and find some things to renew and resolve for the new one. Funny, does one evening and the flip of a day really carry that much on its shoulders? It strikes me that the calendar day/year is set up like this and then we follow suit. How to unwind?

I was reading an article the other day about how the Gen Z and Millenial generations are no longer waiting for the magic of January 1 to begin anew, but beginning wherever and whatever day they are on. As I read the article, this was not a new concept in the least, but perhaps it is so much more a “here and now” society the idea of waiting on anything — even a new year to begin — seems like a waste.

I am not sure if you make resolutions. I am now hearing people call them intentions these days. Resolutions, Intentions — it all seems to me to be a moment of actual reflection and a place to build a bridge between the old and the new. Why do we want to slam the door so hard on the old and seek to wash our hands of our “bad” habits or those things that were less than what we wanted for ourselves. We all know that by the end of January everything that is new is yet old again.

I recommend recognizing this and building a bridge. It’s often a wonderful thing to take stock of all the good that the old year held for us — what are we proud of, what was a highlight, what motivated us to do better, what did we learn, how did we express our curiosity? From there, how would it look to have more of that and what else? Can any of these things build bridges to other habits and moments. So, it is no longer a frame of throwing it all out and beginning anew with perfection in mind, but building on what has been to what we want to continue, to discard, to build upon.

Life is not a linear line. It builds on itself and even as we awaken into this new year, we are made up of all the events, happenings, and how we brought our self to it all over all of the old years. Bringing these parts of ourselves into the new — honoring, being with, and companioning all the parts feels so important.

I wish for you a bridge between the old and the new. May it light your days for all the new ones to come based on all of the days and years that have come before.

Here’s to it!

The Mental Schema of the Unvaccinated

Mental Schema of the Unvaccinated
What makes someone say no to this common sense shot?

I recently got my booster to protect myself from COVID — this marks my third shot in one year. As soon as the vaccination came out, I wanted it — badly. I had all the things that you probably have been suffering from — tired of the masks, tired of staying indoors, tired of regular life being interrupted — in short, pandemic fatigue! I felt grateful that science was so good that within a year, major pharmaceutical companies had come up with vaccination shots that could protect me and others — and would ultimately put the pandemic to rest.

Why then is the pandemic still raging even as people lose interest? Because so many people have chosen to not get vaccinated. Now, what are the reasons? It ranges anywhere from not wanting to be controlled by the government, to not believing in science, to not being told what to do, to straight out denial that a pandemic even exists. Also, people believe they are strong enough to overcome it if they do contract COVID.

My carpet cleaner recently came into my home — no mask and no vaccination on board. When I asked him why — and went on to give him a piece of my mind — he said his body was strong enough to handle it. Based on what? Do any of these people realize they have been vaccinated since they entered public schools? Someone in their family took them to get their shots so they could attend school — otherwise, who knows if they would still be living? People take for granted what their elders did for them — somehow abiding by public health protocols is not for the strong in body.

There is a felt sense among the unvaccinated that they do not want to be told what to do by the government or anyone else. There is a particular mental schema that askews being told what to do by anyone for anything. I knew someone years ago who always stated he hated being told what to do by his parents — he wants to make his own decisions. He made the umbrella statement that no one wants to be told what to do. I know my friend came from a strict upbringing with caretakers who gave him very little room to make any decisions for himself.

When politicians came along and said, “Liberate yourselves and say no to mandatory vaccination” I can imagine that many people who, like my friend, do not like being told what to do, resonated with this message and now are the ones crashing school board meetings, protesting, booing anyone who speaks up about getting vaccinated and more. It’s all a lot of drama that gets going in rebellion to not being told what to do — unfortunately, in this case, not getting vaccinated can lead to death of self and others.

Yet, many people would rather die than be told what to do by anybody. These same people did as they were told at the age of 5 and got their shots to enter kindergarten. It all feels a little insane that people think their own body itself has gotten along without disease on its own.

For me, the little jab took about a second. The side effects were nominal at best. I know I am protected and I am helping protect others in my community. Millions have been vaccinated and the vast vast majority are safe and healthy afterwards. There is no excuse to not be vaccinated at this point. It’s time people got over rebelling against being told what to do and start working with what is not only logical but also absolutely the right thing to do for self and neighbor. We want a right to life — then it is a responsibility we care for.

In this case, it’s a one second jab — three times. No excuses. None.

News Diet

Do you need a news diet?

A news diet I say? Yes, I actually think it’s a good thing!

It was late this past summer that I found myself feeling overwhelmed to the point of not even being in my life — I mean I was in it, but somehow not really there. I was caught up in work, running around and more. I also thought about how much news I had been taking in — all of it going from bad to worse each day.

What I noticed even more was not even reading the article so much but scrolling through the comments to see what people were thinking and/or saying about the topic at hand. Comments made me feel all sorts of things — in good company, scared to death, and/or not knowing how I felt even though I was often more troubled than reassured. This was another level of reading the news that I hadn’t accounted for. All the opinions of the news was driving my news intake!

In an effort to regain some of my life, my time, and myself back, I decided to go on a news diet. Let’s face it it’s very difficult to avoid news altogether in this super connected, now society. I knew I could not cut it out completely, but I could cut out reading comments altogether, browse the headlines of the news sources, and tune into the local and national news having it on as almost background noise and not following it that closely.

Two months in, I am much happier than I have been in a very long time. First off, I have more time to live in my life. Not sure what I am doing is exactly newsworthy but these are my days that are making up my years and thus my life. Whatever I am doing, I want to be in my own life and not the life of the news cycle and all of the people spinning their two cents.

Now off that merry-go-round life feels a lot more open for me to live my life on my own terms and not via the next headline. I know many people have told me they have taken a news diet with great results. I am glad I finally moved on it as well. My guess is I will keep this level of attention to the news going forward no matter what comes up.

Few News Diet Tips:

Don’t go all or nothing. A diet means you take in a bit less — how much less is up to you. it doesn’t feel realistic to go about life not knowing anything, but definitely take stock of how you are viewing the news and see what would make it less stressful for you to engage with the news.

Make sure when you do your review it isn’t just the news reading you are thinking about, but all of the other ways you are engaging the news — i.e. the comments section, following link after link, engaging in oral arguments with strangers, posting news on social media — as well as how much space the news of the day is taking up in your mind.

Once on your news diet, check in to see how you are feeling. Do you miss it? If so, which parts? If not, can this become a lifestyle — a way of being consistently with self? Are you feeling more at ease or more anxious not knowing everything. Keep a close tab on your news diet experience.

Now that you have more space for you, how are you choosing you? Are you relaxing, engaging a hobby, or something else? Where space has opened, what else is shifting in your life? Exciting!

I stand by my news diet and you won’t be surprised to know that I think it’s going to become my lifestyle — taking in a very limited amount of news.

That’s the news of the day!

Is It Selfish to Want a Baby?

Is it selfish to want a baby
Does wanting a baby make you selfish?

Is it selfish to want a baby? I was recently asked this question and it surprised the heck out of me. As a childless woman by choice, my decision always had people judging me as selfish. I never understood the connection between wanting a baby and selfishness. However, I think I am alone on this one as it feels like a common judgment related to becoming a parent.

Whether you want a child or do not want a child, the judgment seems to be the same these days – you are selfish!

In regard to being selfish when one wants a baby, I hear this more and more around the issues of climate change and all the other “news” of the day that makes anyone want to pull out their hair. How can someone actively decide to bring a baby into this world when it is what it is today?

Biology — first and foremost. Humans are wired to reproduce. Although we are thinking mammals, we are mammals and we are here to leave our actual DNA behind. Although there are all of the modern dating apps and anguish over meeting the right mate, the whole point of it is as old as the hills. We are meant to find a mate and reproduce. Nothing selfish about our biological desire to have a baby.

Hopefulness — to desire to have a baby automatically makes you an optimist in my book. To have a child is to invest in the future and to believe it will be and can be good. There is faith that mankind will continue and in our evolution good will come to bear. I don’t see anything selfish in optimism.

Personal fulfillment — now this is where the decision to have a baby or not may be judged as selfish. I am not exactly sure when the judgment came about to call someone selfish when they are fulfilling their heart’s desire. Is it from the “other” who is not leading a life of personal fulfillment? I often think that those who are negative in their judgments of people are unhappy.

Regarding personal fulfillment, desiring a baby can be about fulfilling a deep well inside that seeks to procreate in order to experience not only wanting a baby, but having one and raising a child. The relationship between parent and child is one of the most significant that humans can experience. It is not selfish to want to be a parent to a child.

What can be said for the era we are living in? My guess is through all of the ages the world was in a challenging space in one way or another. That’s why it is not only important to hold on to one’s optimism, but also to think through how you will raise your child — aware of the climate change issues, modeling sustainable living practices, and being curious about the issues we are facing and helping our children to think about creative solutions — this is the next generation after all.

Wanting a baby and thinking you are selfish? Nah. Don’t take on such a judgment. Be aware of your intention and desire for a baby and move forward without such negativity.

Whether you choose to have a baby or not, selfishness is not the core of the issue. Never has been — if you are wondering why someone may or may not want a child, ask and listen. Be open. Be curious. Drop the judgment.

Autumn Sets In

Autumn Sets In
Autumn Sets In

Happy Fall. Last week, the season arrived in all its beauty. And now, as Autumn sets in we are called to check in with ourselves and see how we feel about this change of seasons. Summer is over — and it always feels a bit bittersweet as the long, languid, hot days recede for another year. Summer always feels like the shortest of the seasons. Of course every season is actually equal in time and length, but how we feel it is often different.

I know for many summer is the golden season. Light and heat and vacation time. What could be better? The weekends click on by and here we are at the beginning of Autumn. My Grandmother always used to say, “Once it’s 4th of July, summer is over!” Wait, what? Is it that fast? I always think on the actual 4th of July that there is no way that is the case, but here we are and I remember the 4th of July like it was a moment ago.

Autumn. It is a beautiful time of year as the trees shed their leaves, the holidays are ushered in, the cold nights and smokey air descends, and, of course, the Canadian Geese are making their way south for the winter. I think many of us would like to catch their flight south and keep the summer sunshine and warmth going. Many are noticing that they are slowing down, not having as much energy, and, as the dark descends, there is less light to be productive.

People are beginning to pull out their “happy lamps” to sit in front of during these dark mornings to give them their extra energy and are trying to figure out other strategies to stave off SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression that correlates to the Autumn and Winter seasons when a lack of light can move someone to a depressed state.

What are some strategies to help alleviate SAD symptoms? Here are a few:

Use a Happy Lamp – buy a light that you can bathe in throughout the day that emits a certain type of light to help give one energy.

Think about your natural energy rhythms and go with the flow of your own body. If you have more energy in the morning or the middle of the day or night, use it to its max. It may not be the normal way you organize your day, but changing it up to alleviate seasonal depression feels important.

What are your hobbies? Make sure to make time for them – reading, making stuff, cooking, baking, writing, and more. Give yourself even more of the things that make your life meaningful.

Head to bed early. If it is dark and you are tired, give in and enjoy your rest. This feels important although many of us feel pressure to stay up until our regular bedtime.

Enjoy this season. Autumn is a time pumpkin patches, jumping in leaves, pumpkin spice drinks, hikes, apple picking and more. Celebrate the season by noticing the high end of the time and enjoying it – fully.

Each year Autumn comes around – perhaps sooner than you would like – but here we are so be in it as Autumn settles in. Be present and attune not only to yourself, but to where Mother Nature takes us this time of year.

Peekaboo Moments

Peekaboo Moments
Peekaboo – Are You Still There?

Do you remember peekaboo moments with your parents? It’s probably one of the earliest games parents play with children. First, it is super easy. Second, it’s a game that can be played anywhere. Third, it delights both parent and child. Mother and/or father cover their eyes and baby doesn’t know where her caretaker went. Although the person is right there, without eye contact, baby feels lost. That’s why the peek lasts just a second or two and then Mom or Dad says “Boo” and they are back with their child and the child knows their beloved parent has returned.

We think of this as a baby’s game. Simple to play and understand — except it is actually anything but simple. Peekaboo gets played again and again throughout our lives. Depending on how mother and father played the game with us – the literal and metaphorical game – tells us much about how we will handle our own peekaboo moments in our adult lives.

If we have a secure connection to our parents we learn that when mom and dad go away not only will they be back, but they will also meet our needs. From there, we have the opportunity to develop security within self to meet others and explore our world. If we are not secure that mom and dad will still be there when they go into the peek it can be scary to see the parent return with the “boo.” Further, it can be difficult as we grow up to keep this connection to our primary caretakers and have trust that our needs will be met by them. Often we have not had time or space to figure out ourselves and our own worlds when we don’t have this secure foundation of connection.

Fast forward to being an adult and peekaboo moments unfold left and right — we just don’t see them from this frame. Often this most often can be seen with our love interests. First, when we meet someone whom we are romantically interested in, some part of ourselves is on the line in ways that may not be when we are forming friendships, although these moments can play out in friendships too or any relationship in fact.

What happens? We meet and then the person disappears. You may have exchanged phone numbers, you may already be communicating, you may have even had coffee or another date or two. However, when the connection time is over, the peek comes in, i.e. the person takes their leave. Now, how we handle this moment says much about our connection to ourselves and how we experienced those original peekaboo moments with our first caretakers.

What do I mean? Well, check in with yourself. Does it make you nervous to be in their absence? Do you find yourself calling them in an anxious state to see (for yourself) if they are still there and still interested in you — if they pick up the phone and you hear their voice — is there an immediate end to your anxious state? Of course that is the “boo” moment – that special moment when the person reappears. What happens? If anxiety is not alleviated, do you find yourself angry or agitated. My guess is by tuning into how you deal with the peekaboo game with your adult relationships will reveal insight into how you experienced this with your earliest connections.

This is a place to drop defenses and become curious.

Ideally, when we meet someone it is completely exciting. We often fall down the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole into something amazing. However, part of the amazement is being able to tolerate the peekaboo moments – when the person is there and then is not. After all, we are getting to know someone and they are getting to know us. It takes time — and more than a few seconds like we experienced in that early game in our lives.

Framing this type of anxiety into a game of peekaboo where we have a chance to not only experience how we feel when the peek and the boo take place, but also observe what this may say about our earliest time in our lives and how we were received by our primary caretakers.

Peekaboo! I’ll be right back!

Pop Up Mental Health Clinics

Pop Up Mental Health Clinic
Pop Up Mental Health Care Clinics

A pop up mental health clinic? Never heard of it? Nor had I until recently when I read an article on how pharmacies are getting into the game of mental health care. Soon, it seems, we will all be able to roll up to our local pharmacy and not only pick up our prescriptions, but see a therapist on site as well.

As a therapist myself I wondered what does this mean for not only me as a provider, but also for the patient. Certainly the pandemic over this past year has taught all of us that access to mental health care is not only necessary for everyone, but also needs to be accessible with few barriers to receiving treatment. In terms of access, rolling up to your pharmacy and having access to a therapist on the spot feels like this need is being met.

However, I have my questions. Therapy is broad with many therapists offering a range of different types of care for many different types of symptoms and upset. From anxiety to depression to severe illness such as schizophrenia, therapists treat people suffering from all of these and much much more. Given this broad range of mental health ailments, most therapists specialize in an area. The specialization comes from study, their experiences, and their interests. When someone is looking for a therapist, they are often trying to find someone who matches what their needs are.

Walking into a pharmacy, I wonder how people will be matched up. Will it run like a crisis line where whomever walks in gets the next available therapist and the meeting is for the therapy hour (45 to 50 minutes) and then the person gets up and walks away and hopefully feels better with no charge or is it going to operate like a low fee clinic, charging a low fee, and patients have a choice of whom they see and have the option of returning and seeing the therapist on a regular basis?

I also wonder will pharmacies tie people to a therapist based on their prescriptions. Let’s say someone is picking up an anti-anxiety medication and the pharmacy staff not only gives the patients their script, but also the names of therapists in their clinic that they encourage you to see alongside taking your medication. The flip side of this is a therapist who sees someone for anxiety and then sends them to an in-house medical doctor who then prescribes anti-anxiety meds that get filled right at the counter. Convenient one-stop mental health help.

Those two points, i.e. that therapists seeing patients in such pop up mental health clinics, actually have the experience to support whom they are seeing in the pharmacy and that this is not just a grab to prescribe more meds to the public, are the places where I feel concern. This article does not disclose the details of these plans, just to say this fad is coming our way.

The article lists out questions that patients should hold in mind when they meet a therapist, but, truth be told, when people want to talk to somebody such questions often go out the window as their distress is so keen, it is difficult to hold in mind who is this therapist and do I feel comfortable with her? It is then on the therapist to hold on to their minds to decide if they can serve a potential patient or not. If a therapist does not think she can, does she have the ability to not take someone on? In community mental health, that choice is often not there for the clinicians, but will it be in corporate America?

Mental health is serious and corporate America is seeing it as its own power play and grab. Ethically one needs to safe guard themselves from a fast food approach to mental health care. Yes, something is better than nothing, but sometimes fast therapy does little to change anything.

As a practicing therapist in Capitol Hill, Seattle, I believe mental health care should be available to all, but in a responsible way. There are low-cost clinics and websites where Clinicians offer their services at a deep sliding scale. Finding this type of therapist for a long-term relationship feels important as the therapist can then track alongside you your progress, setbacks, and provide a containing space that is ongoing and built on trust. I believe in this type of approach for the work we do together.

Yet! I won’t be surprised to walk into a pharmacy next time and see a line of therapists waiting to see you and me.

A Time to Languish

A Time To Languish
Languishing

Is this a time to languish?

According to the New York Times, it is! Last week, I was perusing the paper and there it was — an article on languishing. First off, this is a very old fashioned word. I had originally thought it meant to take one’s time, but the more I read the article, I knew I was wrong. When I looked the word up in the dictionary, it means “To grow weak or feeble and (2) to suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation.”

Aha! Now I had something to think about. Given we all seem to be stuck in the pandemic that just won’t take her leave, we are stuck in a situation that is joyless and aimless. The article points out we still have energy, but it’s just being used in mindless, unenergetic, stuck, and listless ways.

The article calls languishing the “middle child” of mental health — you aren’t thriving and you aren’t depressed. You are languishing on the vine of life going along at best. Is this you? Is this me? You may not even realize you are suffering from languishing as when you are in this state your mind is in a fog and cannot discern what you are feeling or not feeling. The article goes on to point out naming it may be a way to start normalizing this feeling. It even encourages people to answer the question, “How are you?” with the word — “I’m languishing.”

How would you respond?

Of course, the article goes on to giving some good tips — try to get into one’s flow, focus on small goals, and give yourself some uninterrupted time — all ideas that can help any number of mental health conditions that cause us to not be at our peak on any given day. So, the article is sound, but it is also general.

To languish now calls to mind rotten fruit withering on the vine of one’s life. That’s harsh, but it feels like the truth. One needs water and nourishment for growth — how can we gain this for ourselves when we are forced to continue in the pandemic. I know so many people who have booked travel for later this year to favorite destinations. Will they get to have the experience they desire or to return to those days do we have to wait longer?

Some of my own tips for dealing with the state of languishing includes:

Cultivating the long breath — the pandemic is not over yet. Being present to life and making it good in the here and now in the circumstances we are in is what we are each called to do. Figuring that out seems critical to growth at this time.

Pick up something new to do — that you can do without the pandemic constraints. Some people are tired of masks and social distancing. Give yourself activities that are safe to do without these constraints on you — i.e. a new exercise at home, a new hobby at home. I know you may be tired of home, but it is a place where freedom from these constraints can live.

Fully vaccinated? Get out and do old new things with the safety measures in place. Go out to eat, head to the local museum, take a weekend away — refresh yourself in ways that you haven’t touched since the pandemic began. Even little things can become big helping you to thrive.

Be in touch with your family and friends in new ways — perhaps that is once again being together as everyone is vaccinated or just remembering people through kind words and gestures. Holding others in mind can often get ourselves out of our own minds and languishing there.

It seems to me that straddling the middle to the end of the pandemic is about naming our mental state — are you thriving, languishing, anxious or depressed? Once one can name her feelings and actually feel them, one can act to lift the fog and take steps toward thriving.

May you not languish a moment longer than you need to!