(Editor’s note. Circling the News received some sage advice about coping with the coronavirus shutdown from Palisadian Laura Revness and her 25-year-old daughter Chloe.)
Chloe, a computer engineer, had sent the following email to her friends and her mom:
“Right now you may feel like you’re a character in a story someone else is writing — like you have no control over what happens to you. And that’s almost true.
“We are in a story someone else is writing — but it’s not a normal book. It’s a choose-your-own adventure. You may not have control over every plot point, but you always have choices, even if there aren’t as many options as you’d like.
“You can choose to stay in bed late, to watch hours of TV, and to eat food that does not nourish you. You can choose to pore over the news and refresh Twitter/Facebook like your life depends on it. You can choose to surrender control over your wellbeing.
“Or you can choose to rewrite the narrative and put yourself back in control. You can choose to set and follow a schedule, to check in with friends daily, to reach out to those you’ve lost touch with. You can choose to get fresh air and exercise a little bit every day. You can choose to start a craft or hobby and find ways to stay accountable. You are the author of your own story. It’s time to take back control.
Laura wrote back to Chloe on March 17:
“Sometimes life causes us to pause. This can be a personal event, like an illness, or effect everyone like war or a natural disaster. When this happens people either become their best or their worst. Losing routine, power and control over life causes fear.
“Change is hard and when everything changes it is harder.
“So it is especially important to realize that we still have choices — very important ones to make. Every thought, every conversation, every encounter is a choice. Our belief system and actions impact our wellbeing. Of course shelter and prepare but each person will respond to this situation differently and their response will dictate their stress level and experience of this time.
“Choose to control what you can, behavior wise. Limit news. Exercise. Walk. Make a schedule. Call friends. Start a craft or hobby. But most importantly change the narrative you tell yourself.
“Embrace this pause actively. Protect your mind and spirit by finding joy in each day. Refuse to obsess over what you cannot control. You have infinite resources within you. Reach out and go within.
“Every thought we have manifests as matter in our bodies, which is why it is so important that we send ourselves positive messages. Not only can we do this through loving self-talk, but we can also be kind to ourselves by going with the flow of our lives and accepting our circumstances in each moment.
“Change your narrative.”
Laura added another thought on March 18:
“Pretend you are in the future and looking back to this time in history. Imagine you are telling someone else you care about the great Covid-19 virus update of 2020 and how you coped.
“This is what you would want to say…’It was a very stressful and difficult time for all. I was forced to stop everything. I chose the opportunity to (get fit, try a hobby, pursue a dream, connect with old friends, start something, learn a new language or skill, begin my book)…’
“You get the idea. Fill in your own parenthesis, make your own history.”
(Editor’s note: Circling the News first met Laura when she was working part-time at Acme 5, the nursery across from Palisades High School. https://www.circlingthenews.com/acme-5-lifestyle…-closes-tomorrow/. She grew up in Brentwood, attended Paul Revere, Windward and then UCLA, where she received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in art and art history. Later she went back to school to study education and started teaching at Beverly Hills High in the 1980s. In her 31-year career, she won awards for teaching but when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, she retired.)