My Morning Do . . . Creative Minds

~~ by tkbrown

I have read a number of posts recently on the topics of hope and gratitude. During times like the world has been experiencing through the Covid19 pandemic, it is important to keep fueling both. It may take some effort to do, but the end result is worth far more than any wrangling we may encounter during our endeavor. Making a daily effort to review our sources of hope and the things we have to be grateful for helps too. Faith, too, helps give the strength and resolve needed during times of trial and adversity. My faith in God and Jesus Christ has pulled me through much in the past; so, I can and do always pull strength from the spiritual resources and values in my life.

It is difficult when jobs are lost, income is non-existent or mostly so. Oftentimes, we do not think to be grateful for our work, but it provides much hope in our lives. Subconsciously, we know, so long as we are able to work or have a job to go to, we can get through most anything. When the monetary needs are met in our lives, it reduces the stress level astronomically.

Sometimes school is our main activity. When this is the case, it is important to view it as our job. Our attendance and learning are fuel for our future work lives. School attendance helps one to be in the habit of getting up and getting out–typically on a daily basis. This prepares one for the daily attendance required in work schedules. Lack of attendance in either results in failure.

Even though the need for some required classes cannot be seen, each has a reason for its inclusion. The most prevalent example I saw during my college years was a lack of understanding for the need to take Algebra. Oftentimes, I heard classmates say it would never be used, but its value is in day to day activities. Most never relate the two, but: 2(a+b) = 2ab is nothing more than, (a = the cost of a can of corn, b= the price of a loaf of bread). When these are added together then multiplied by 2, perhaps we are looking at the cost of our weekly need for these items. Algebra is utilized in budgeting among other things. So, it is important to realize that even though school can be humdrum, it is necessary to future needs.

Hobbies are also a source of strength during times of trial. I love to knit and crochet. The idea of taking a straight piece of string and creating something beautiful and lasting has always been intriguing to me. Sewing has a similar effect. Taking a flat piece of cloth and creating a beautiful dress, blouse, shirt, pants, or suit–even something for the home–is a skill to be extolled. Creativity has no bounds in the needlework hobbies. This also rings true of playing a musical instrument, reading, researching, cooking, painting, photography, and the list goes on.

Having something one values in life makes times like these bearable because the voids can be filled with something vital and useful via our hobbies, work, school, faith, family, etc. If one does not stay busy doing something, the desire to live slowly drains from us. This is seen in severe depression. The hopefulness and helpfulness has been lost and must be found again if the desire to live is to be regained.

If you, or someone you love has lost hope due to the downside of the lockdowns and shelter at home orders, seek help from a professional who is trained to help you through this. Above all, do not lose gratitude for what you have. Most cannot honestly say they have nothing for which they can be grateful. If this is one’s view of things, it is time to make a conscious effort to regain gratitude for what is in our grasp. Make it a part of the daily routine to name things for which you can be grateful. Then, it is important to reach out and engage whatever is within your grasp to fuel a new hope for the future. Don’t give up, keep putting one foot in front of the other until you are through the swamp and can see the other side.

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Photo Above: by Sebastien Gabriel on Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Grief and Proactivity

~~ by tkbrown

26 September 2020 — As I mentioned in my previous post, depression associated with grieving is a normal reaction to loss. There are myriad possibilities as to what the loss may be, and one will be dealt with a bit differently from another. If addressed proactively as the grieving process progresses, oftentimes serious depression can be avoided. However, if one does begin finding it difficult to engage normal daily living activities, it may be necessary to schedule a few days to work on specific areas of concern. This can be accomplished alone or with the help of a person who has already proven to be a trustworthy support person in the grieving process.

Depression slows one down during the grieving to aid the introspective work necessary to move past it and into some level of acceptance. Taking some time for inner exploration will speed the path to recovery. There are ways to address the depression on your own, without any outside help if these activities are begun before recognizable impairment develops.

One way to move into and through depressive thoughts is to journal. Set aside a time each day to record thoughts in a composition notebook. Sitting in a quiet place, away from any possible interruptions, begin writing–whatever you are thinking at the time. If what you write does not make sense, this is ok.

The purpose of this portion of the journaling activity is to see the organization of your thoughts. Try not to miss any words — stream of thought is important. Write quickly; slow transcription of thought to paper can cause thoughts to wander due to distraction which causes inaccurate reflection. Recording of thoughts should continue for five to ten minutes. Set a timer or an alarm so concerns about the time do not interrupt the flow of thought.

When time has elapsed, take five minutes to free your mind. Then, read over what has been written. Try to note any patterns or specific lines of thought. Note topics and related concerns on a clean sheet of paper. Then take fifteen minutes to write about worries–concerns noted since your last journaling exercise. Elaborate a bit on each. Discuss specific thoughts noted to be interrupting normal activity.

Now, list some enjoyable activities. Hobbies of a creative nature are often helpful in overcome disruptive depression. If drawing or painting are enjoyable options, express feelings in the art. Draw or paint feelings onto paper or canvas. There are no right or wrong approaches. Just draw, sketch, or paint using charcoal, coloring pencils, pastels, or paints as mediums.

Other creative activities to consider include writing (i.e., poetry or prose), needlecrafts such as sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitch. Cooking, (i.e., making breads–rolls, loaf breads, even cookies) anything that allows complete distraction from the loss. These activities will assist the process of moving through the depression to beginning life again after the loss. Acceptance involves learning to live with the loss. Fill time, previously engaged by the loss, with activities and people you enjoy.

As enjoyable activities continue, begin taking ten or fifteen minutes of daily journaling time to discuss the previous day’s activities. Describe your perceptions of the creative activities and endeavors being pursued. Write anything coming to mind. The goal is to slowly notice movement back into a normal activity level.

The loss will always be a part of the person you become. As you remember positive aspects previously brought to life by the loss, begin to focus on ways related memories are transitioning into strengths and creating the “you of tomorrow.” Proactive approaches, such as journaling and conscious activation of hobbies can be very helpful to resuming normal daily living.

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