The Gift of Pausing

Hello Swoon Reads readers—I hope this blog post finds you all healthy and well. I’m also hopeful that you’re managing through this Twilight Zone existence we all seem to collectively but also solitarily be a part of the best you’re able.

As an author who writes dystopian fiction, I’ll admit, the current state of things is hitting a little too close to my wildest story imaginings and it’s honestly unsettling. But during difficult times such as these, when optimism can be hard to come by and my already severe anxiety is heightened, it’s important to sift through all the fear to find the good… even if for a wisp of a moment.

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Here are a few small things I’m trying to do to soothe my mental health and to feed my creativity while practicing social distancing and semi-seclusion:

1.) Venturing outside once a day if possible.

I’m lucky that I live close to some trails and a bit of nature. It’s also never very populated—I usually don’t see anyone. I’ve been taking my dog out on adventures, going outside and taking my shoes off then wandering through the grass, and also walking on my own while listening to podcasts or audiobooks. Even a few minutes of some fresh air and the peace of nature can make a huge difference.

2.) Spending quality time with my family and pets.

While being at home for extended periods of time together can be… challenging, I’m really trying to see the positives within the discomfort. I’m getting to play boardgames with my husband, watching movies with my teens, and taking walks and naps with my dog. It really is lovely—something I’m frequently reminding myself, especially when my kids are arguing over the "best spot on the couch" or who ate the last fruit cup.

3.) Journaling.

These are historic and uncertain times. I’ve got a lot of emotions coming up from sadness to fear to story ideas to hopeful musings. I’m trying my best to write it all down and when I don’t feel like writing I doodle and sketch. It’s therapeutic. And, let's face it, will probably provide some amazing writing inspiration at some point.

4.) Talking on the phone.

I’m aging myself by admitting this, but I used to talk on the phone more than I texted (I mean, I was talking on the phone to friends and family BEFORE texting was even a thing)! It’s wonderful to hear the voice of a loved one and I’m checking in with family, most of whom live several states away, more often these days.

5.) Writing.

I’m still writing—of course I’m still writing. Creating, for me, is one of my best self-care tools. But I’m also reminding myself that it’s okay if I don’t feel like it. It’s okay to not be inspired to create right now. Because creating can also be draining and we need to be kind to ourselves more than ever.

6.) Pausing.

Our lives are so fast-paced and busy and go-go-go. Being forced to slow down, while inconvenient and stressful and definitely a bit scary because of various unknowns, is actually such a gift. Literally taking time to stop and smell the flowers is transporting me back to simpler times and I’m loving it.

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What are you all doing as you pause—even if momentarily—during these long, strange days we’re all living through? And how are you coping?

Be well and take care, Swoon Reads readers! <3

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Jessika Fleck

Jessika Fleck is a writer, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter—she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do …

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