Post 69: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on how to handle a bad day.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 69.

Note: We don’t claim to be mental health professionals, and any advice or tips we offer are based on personal experience only.


Are bad days here to stay?

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

The good days have been fewer and fewer these past few weeks here in Lebanon. The political, economic, financial, and Covid-19 crises are playing out badly on a daily basis.

So, when I wake up in the morning, I get this heavy, sinking feeling as I wonder what the day will bring. How will it be? As the day evolves and more bad news emerges on the local and international scenes, I begin to feel this heaviness getting bigger and wider.

Unfortunately, a lot of what is going on here affects us on a daily basis: what price is the lollar at? Will we be able to get money out of the bank? How long is the wait at the bank? What rate is the bank providing today on withdrawals in US Dollars? Will we find the groceries we are used to purchasing? Will there be road closures? And last but not least, which of our ruling class will punch each other in the face during a meeting? It is endless…so one anticipates all the bad before one can see a shred of good.

My new policy is to NOT watch the news, nor read any, at the start of the day. I have removed all push notifications except for one site. I scroll through it when I have the time or feel like it. I have switched my phone to silent so I don’t get phone calls at other people’s whim. I answer text messages when it is convenient for me. I am no longer at the mercy of everyone and my device.

This has helped reduce some of the stress and anxiety that make me have a bad day.

Sadly, bad days are going to become more of the normal than we expect, at least in the short run. We might have to go through several more lockdowns until herd immunity takes over, we are going to pay a heavy price for the economic and financial depression that we are facing and we will be more on edge in general.

For now, on the really bad days I try to find humor, keep myself busy, and vent it out. Alas, oh for the days when one used to wake up in the morning and feel like it’s a new day!

Retrieved from quotereel.com. No copyright infringement intended.

Turning a bad day, sad face, or frown into a good day, smile, or a happy face

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

Whether the bad day is due to the isolation, lockdown, or just a personal bad day, there are things that can be done. I have thought of simply standing on my head to make the sad face into a happy face – but since I am 76 and don’t have as good of a balance on my feet as I used to – I’m not sure I could balance on my head, so decided not to try it.

During the Covid-19 shutdown I have found that sticking to a morning routine helps tremendously. I get up and before coffee, I do a Tai Chi warmup and the Eight Pieces of Brocade. I do other exercises, depending on what type of exercise I expect to do during the day, and how much time I have. I have breakfast and do chores around the house. My family has a FaceTime call, so I try to look halfway decent for them. I am usually dressed by then. It makes my day!!!!

Whether or not we are in lockdown – there are always ups and downs in living life. I think of the triggers that might give me a down day. For me they are the holidays, special birthdays, anniversaries, and special events I did with my husband, who passed away two years ago. I plan for those days and make sure I am busy with activities. Again, I am so fortunate for my family. They make sure that I am looked after in some way and included in their days (whether it be in person, FaceTime, a call, or chocolate-covered strawberries). I am so fortunate to have such a supportive family. My local friends also treat me like family and do something special, drop off some cookies, or give me a call. I am so grateful.

What about those unexpected bad days where everything goes wrong, what do you do? Yesterday, my afternoon started off like that. My homeowners association (HOA) sent me a notice that my fence is not up to code. I must paint my fence. Again, my neighbors and friends are helping me. However, I have to buy the stain. I went to the paint store – without the correct measurements, and worse yet, I forgot my wallet. No, money was not the problem, I could go home and get that. However, I had to drive home, knowing I didn’t have my license with me. I knew there was a policeman on every corner waiting to give me a ticket. My technique for handling “bad” day situations like this is:

  1. I am not the first person to forget my license – in the worst case, I get fined if caught.
  2. It isn’t the end of the world if I don’t have the right measurements – I can remeasure.
  3. Take a deep breath – drive carefully and do the best you can.
  4. Fix what you can in a bad situation, know what is beyond your control: STOP, BREATHE, and THINK.

Do this not that

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Having a bad day? Define bad. My days have been good and bad and interchangeable. Granted, we are all experiencing some level of anxiety at this time, but how does one get out of the funk?

A few days ago I was feeling much better about my life. Quarantine was over, the shutdown was coming to an end, and I had a new found energy about my life. So what happened? How did I go from that feeling to having a complete shit day? The type of day that leaves me with a throbbing headache and a pit in my stomach. 

I know it’s stress-related, but for some reason I cannot shake it off. I’m digging deep and tapping into all my self-affirmation resources. I may experience relief for 30 minutes and then it’s back. The more desperate I am to “fix” the issue, the worse it gets.

Does that happen to you? The time when you desperately need to deal with a bad day and you cannot find the solution? It is more common that you think.

What I have learned is that during that stressful moments, the best thing you can do for yourself is to journal and identify the source of the trigger. It is not the time to come up with a game plan. The best time to rationally deal with a bad emotion is when you are feeling good. It is then that you can see the situation and solutions more clearly.

I was attending an online class called The Neuroscience of Change and I learned that emotions are passed down to the next generation. Scientists had conducted an experiment on mice where they introduced a sound and then shocked them. These mice would respond with the same anxiety level every time they heard the sound. When the next generation of mice came along, they too responded in a similar fashion when subjected to the same sound, even though no shock was administered. It is therefore possible to inherit emotions too. So am I carrying the horrors of my ancestors? Shouldn’t the same theory apply to happiness then? The answers are yes and yes. 

In my class I also learned that “We operate on a memorized set of behaviors, emotional reactions and unconscious habits.” It is during the cognitive analysis that we can make changes and “Replace old programming.” We must remember to not berate ourselves and be kind to ourselves. Learn new ways of giving and receiving love, and always remember to acknowledge your accomplishments.  


What’s wrong with having a bad day?

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

You’re having a bad day. SO WHAT?

Let me explain my perspective before I get accused of being super-insensitive.

Of course, I have bad days just like everyone else. I find ways to get over them – a walk on the beach, a phone call with a special friend, a joke – but here’s the bottom line: bad days are good for you. How else would you recognize the good days?

Here’s a little perspective: if you’re not a refugee, in a war zone, at risk of starvation, or mourning the loss of multiple members of your family, you’re in pretty good shape.

But you don’t have to suffer calamities to have a bad day, and the old expression, “my headache is worse than yours” is relevant. It may be a good idea to think through your bad day, figure out what’s really bothering you, and acknowledge it. Like Judith Viorst’s Alexander, who had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, sometimes we just have bad days and have to learn to deal with them.

Besides exercising or a brisk walk or reaching out to a friend? I know! I could sing to you, and that would have you in tears of laughter.

Or try doing something nice for someone else. The Helper Therapy Principle applies, especially during anxiety-ridden times like, oh, a pandemic. You could pick up groceries for someone who cannot, offer a hot meal to a homeless person, or spend some Zoom time with a kid who is driving his or her parents nuts.

Sometimes, just gaining a little more perspective on how not-bad your life actually is can help you turn your bad day into a better one. And remember, today will eventually end, and tomorrow is an opportunity to have a much better day. Make it a good one!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Post 63: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Today we’re free-form writing!

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 63. 


Social policing is the new norm

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I bet many of you know about the way the grocery stores are handling their customers these days. As for me, I had no clue because during quarantine I either ordered online or had my son do the grocery shopping. That is until this week. I finally decided I was going to do the shopping myself.

The first stop was Whole Foods. I knew to expect lines with everyone obediently standing 6 feet apart. I was happy to see the attendant wiping off other people’s germs off carts (another new normal), but what I saw for the first time was the traffic directions taped to the floor, and other stickers on the floor with additional instructions like, “Stop!” “Wrong way.” “Do not enter.” “One way only!” “Maintain your distance.” These were not makeshift signs with masking tape and marker; no, these were permanent and professionally printed.

My natural instinct upon entering the store was to tackle the grocery shopping as efficiently as possible. I walked up and down aisles, turning around halfway to get other things. Then somehow I finally looked down and noticed the signs on the floor. Oops.

At first I thought, Dang! How much money did they spend to get these made and installed? Then I started to worry that I might get into trouble for not obeying the signs. Then I was struck with an even weirder thought… will they assign traffic police in grocery stores and public spaces? Will they give us citations for walking the wrong way down a one-way aisle? Or lingering too long in one place, or perhaps for standing too close to someone else?

I can just picture it. I am chased by an officer honking a hand-held horn. Everyone slows down to see what’s going on. I am pulled over and the officer says “ma’am, do you know how fast you were walking down the aisle IN THE WRONG DIRECTION?” Ugh!

Nothing is considered far-fetched anymore. When we have a crumbling economy, an armed militia, and media chaos, a police state sounds very plausible. But the ugly truth is that we are already policing each other these days. Public shaming has become “normal.” Just as beating the heck out of the person enforcing the rules has become “normal.”

I can understand why people are moving to the country, where the population is less dense. Where the air is fresh and the birds chirp. Life is always slower and more laid back. I too am planning on moving to that utopia. I plan on growing my own produce. Maybe even have some chickens and bees.

But that does not happen overnight so until I move and am self-sufficient, I guess I will have to put up with these crazy rules around me.

Wait, these policing rules don’t apply to the country, do they ?

Retrieved from thespec.com/opinion
No copyright infringement intended.

A conversation inside my head

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I am tired
I am disappointed
I am sad
I am frustrated
I am confused
I am distraught
I am helpless

These thoughts keep turning and turning in my head. Why can’t I have a clear train of thought these days? Why is my head so all over the place?

I looked at myself in the mirror and tried to set things straight. I said to my head: “there is nothing you can do about the world…you can’t fix Covid-19…stop being depressed and get your act together.”

I went back to bed, crawled under the blankets, and cried. I cried not for myself. I rarely do. I cried because my advice to myself was useless. I need to do something for the poor refugee children, for the hungry families, I need to stop this chaos, I need to shut the politicians up, I need to help the students stuck abroad with no money, I need to fix the world.

I have always been a Type A personality: over-achiever, plagued with Catholic guilt, disciplined, obedient, and law-abiding. Bah, that is not getting me anywhere these days. I cried some more.

In the morning, I got up. I inhaled smoke from my first cigarette, looking out at the beautiful Mediterranean, with the sunrise over the Sannine mountains, and convinced myself that I cannot stop the chaos we are living in. I sucked on that fag even harder…but what can I do to stop feeling so helpless?

My answer was to keep writing. This blog and my personal journal are the two things that keep me from going mad. Yes, I am depressed, angry, and frustrated. Yes, I am helpless right now, but at least when I write, I get some of it off my chest.

To those who read my posts, I am sorry if I am always lecturing and spewing anger. For those who see some of my humor, keep smiling. For those who send me encouraging messages, thank you for holding me up. I am blessed in general. I know that, and am blessed to have your support.

And a big thank you my dear friends and family for making the past two months bearable by giving me this writing outlet. Thank you.

Photo by RJD.

After all, tomorrow is another day

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Today I decided to be positive all day, just to see if that would improve my mood. It did!

It’s amazing how you can set your own tone, your own level of positivity. I guess it starts with having a good night’s sleep. But it also takes conscious effort to not be bothered by the little things. Ugh, that SO does not sound like me!

[SIDE NOTE: You can control your mood by breathing deeply, exhaling, and thinking sunny thoughts. You can also push away deep, dark thoughts that will take you down a nasty road. Sometimes denial, even temporarily, can help you see things through a different lens. I LOVE denial.]

Throughout the day, I chatted with friends and family, read some interesting articles (not Covid-related!), and contemplated my future. What do I want to do when I grow up? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to live? Why do I ask myself so many damn questions?

If the #lockdown has taught me anything, it’s to be a little more introspective and enjoy the process. Doing my what-if analyses, with a positive spin on each option, made me feel optimistic and super-productive. I sent and received good vibes. I volunteered to help a client on a project. In my positive-thinking-state, I realized that I don’t need to have answers to my questions; I just need to BE.

Now at the end of my day, I’m looking back and thinking, I can do this more often. As long as the sun rises and sets every day, virtually anything is possible.

Let’s keep those good vibes going all around.

Marbella, Spain, last February

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If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here.

Post 42: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 42. 

Today: free-form writing.


Why I’ve Come to Despise the Hypocrites Who Call Themselves the Press

Charlotte, Metro Washington, DC

As I sit here in a Gimme Cap about to hop on a Zoom call, I feel my fury toward the #press growing exponentially. Why am I “attending” a Zoom call in a Gimme Cap? Because my roots, after a month of hair salons being closed, make me look like a skunk, and I’m now starting to look like “Geezer Godiva” my hair’s so long.

Why is this setting off fury in me about the press? Because I listened to it for about a few nanoseconds a day and hear a prominent female anchor criticizing a state for opening, among other things, hair salons. She says, “Why are they opening hair salons? They are hardly essential?”

REALLY, PRESS B*TCH!!!!! You old geezer. You’re telling me no hairstylist and colorist hasn’t touched your locks in the last four weeks. You’ve got no roots showing. Your hair hasn’t grown so much as an in the last month. And no one’s styling your perfectly styled and sprayed down hair every day before you do on the air? What is YOUR secret? And besides, why is it so essential for you to look good on camera, and not important for me to look good on camera when I’m on Zoom everyday trying to make a living.

And don’t get me started on all your female and male colleagues who look equally well-styled above the neck every day on the air.

You in the broadcast press are busy lecturing us schlubs at home to stay at home for the health of nation, but you flannel-mouths are using bootleg hair folks to keep you looking good? I don’t think it’s essential for you to look “good” on camera. I think it’s essential that you truthfully report the news AND walk the talk you preach to us.

But I’ve learned not to expect much from members of the press and professional yammers broadcast from their fancy kitchens and dwelling digs while “chatting their opinions” and lecturings to us common folks. Is this where your bootleg hairstylists come to do your hair? Or do you go to them?

I’m going to close with a rambling about one doctor who’s clearly “auditioning” to be the next Sanjay Gupta. The newly shorn male anchor welcomes her to the show, and there she sits in warm lighting highlighting her magnificent head of just-styled hair. Behind her you see her fireplace ablaze and a wall festooned in truly gorgeous masks from Africa. And outside the sliding glass door near her, you see the palm trees of Los Angeles.

If the press is going to talk out of both sides of its mouth about getting your hair done, what else are they double-talking us about?


Let them drink Lysol

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Hey, Trump supporters! Your leader has offered a possible cure for the Coronavirus. Will you follow his medical advice? Have you started drinking Lysol? Taking those Clorox tablets yet?

Get yours while supplies last!

You want to liberate yourselves? You think it’s un-American to be under lockdown during a pandemic? If you think you should end social distancing because your freedoms have been curtailed, TRY THE CURE!

If you believe your First or Second Amendment rights have been violated, TRY THE CURE.

Help your country thin the herd. My family is not expendable to me, but you are. So get out there and socialize with like-minded folks! Sarcasm aside. Think of what you could accomplish: you could free up jobs; they’ll be back eventually. You could liberate hospital beds. You could save the country lots of stimulus money – maybe I’d finally even get my check.

But best of all: you can make America great again if you TRY THE CURE.

I know you’ve all seen the picture on social media. I have no idea who created it, but thought I’d share it here anyway. Definitely no copyright infringement intended, and I hope whoever designed this gets an award.

Leadership, Wherefore Art Thou?

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I, for one, am outraged and appalled – not only because the president is using the forum of the White House daily briefing to spout harmful theories. But also because no one is able to stand up to him and silence his BS.

Sarcasm or not, the president is wasting the time of reporters, his health committee, and the general public by using the podium to invent cures and ranting insane and dangerous ideas.

We need leadership! This is no longer just a coronavirus issue. People’s anxieties in the United States have shifted from the coronavirus pandemic to the lack of real viable information. Governors are handing out conflicting messages. The president is making “sarcastic” remarks. It seems our future varies, depending on which leader we choose to follow.


The positive side of #Coronoia

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I tried all day to see the positive side of the lockdowns and being stuck at home. I spoke to a few people to see how they are feeling. Here in #Beirut, the news has been very depressing this week and most of the friends I spoke to are feeling the weight of the political and financial uncertainty. Our nationwide mental well-being is on the verge of a major psychotic breakdown!

Then, it dawned on me that we need to turn our negatives into positives. When we listen to the news, all we hear about is how bad things are. We forget, in that moment, to look at the positive outcomes.

For one, when we look at #Corona numbers, we always read how many cases and how many deaths. Today, I looked up how many recovered cases there are. Worldwide, the recovered cases are over 812,000, that’s a 28% recovery rate. In small #Lebanon, with its population of 6 million (of which almost 1/3 are refugees), we only have 704 cases of #COVID-19. Of those, we have 143 recoveries; 20%! For a country that’s financially bankrupt, economically devastated with barely any public funds spent on health care in centuries, that’s a major positive.

Then, when I look at how people are working together, helping the needy, neighbors helping neighbors, I find positivity. Humanity. We are also having conversations about the new normals and not going back to hurt our environment like we used to. That’s another positive.

Are we going to be poorer than we were, worldwide? Yes, we are. Same happened in 2008 and we all recovered. Some more than others. I am sure that many businesses are going to shutter, but many new concepts, ideas, and ventures are going to fill the void and change things around. Survival of the fittest. And as Lebanese, we are endowed with the creativity to make things happen. That’s yet another positive.

And when the world re-opens and we resume the normalcy we were used to, maybe one of the positives will be less greed, fewer wants and needs, and more compassion. What we need right now is a light to begin to acknowledge that we will leave the tunnel. Watching the news, reading the articles, and staying glued to social media is not going to change what is happening. Being aware, having faith, and embracing the changes that will happen is what we should focus on.

Dealing with fragile feelings in a place like Lebanon today seems impossible. But what I know is that we, as humans, throughout history, turned the tide. And this worldwide standstill was very much needed in order for us to assess, accept, realign, and persevere.


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We often use photos we find on the Internet. No copyright infringement intended.

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Post 36: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on… anything, again.

Weekends are free-for-all for our little group. In case you’re new here, we’re sharing our uncensored experiences, thoughts, and opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 36. 


Living in a bucket of noise

Charlie, Washington, DC Metropolitan Area

My neighbors are oblivious to the fact they have neighbors who can hear every friggin’ stomp, jump, and bash they make. I am held captive in a bucket of noise. I learn too late that the condo I recently bought, where I was assured there was state-of-art soundproofing between floors, is just another contractor lie.

I’m learning many things in the Time of Corona. Like, I want to live someplace without neighbors above, below, or around me. I want trees to be my new best friends. Now, this is a major shift for me. Before ToC, I migrated to metropolises known for their hustle and bustle. Lots of elbowing down crowded sidewalks. Jostling in lines to go to the movies. Bruising battles for a taxi. (In the days before Lyft.) And retail therapy that can save you from rolling off your nut when the stress of whatever professional rodeo you’re competing in becomes too much.

No more. I want to form a life partnership with someone who wants to live in the woods, where walking in nature is our pastime. I figure this change of domicile heart is a tender mercy, because I suspect if it’s not #Covid-19 that puts us in quarantine, there will be another bug come along. One that sets every hair follicle on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s head on fire and has him yelling for me to hot-foot it to the nearest quarantine bunker immediately. I now accept that the only entertainment and human contact in heavily populated areas will be standing in line at Costco or Trader Joe’s, waiting to buy the few grocery items left available because our food supply chains have snapped.

Of course, there is a challenge in my day and night dream of spending my last days with a new-found love who also wants to escape to the woods. How am I going to meet someone in the ToC, because social distancing has put the kibosh on human intermingling? Of course, there’s always the Costco line. Bound to find a disgruntled geezer there who doesn’t want to spend life’s last days in a bucket of noise and social distancing.


Every cloud has a…

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Up and down, up and down, that’s how we roll. I know I’m not the only one on the CoronaDays rollercoaster, where we’re all doomsday and negativity one day, and trying to find that silver lining the next.

Today has been a silver lining day for me. Maybe it’s because yesterday I got a long look at the sea. The sea always lifts my spirits and reminds me that nothing is permanent.

Today, was super-productive. I spoke with friends I hadn’t been in touch with for awhile, got caught up on emails, and figured out a good work schedule for next week. I also scrolled through my social media feeds and saw a post that intrigued me.

The author asked members of an expat group if we would make the move to Spain all over again. Beyond the move, would we move to a city, sight unseen?

I thought about the question for a long time. To me, the question went far beyond the immediate “yes” or “no” answer. It wasn’t just about traveling or making a bold (or crazy) residential move. In my silver lining state, I interpreted the question to be more about our willingness to take giant leaps of faith now and then. About our ability to trust the universe. Faith that all would be right with the world, even if takes longer than we think is reasonable.

Finally, I answered: a resounding YES!

Yes, because despite all the uncertainty we’re experiencing, I can see a day After Corona when we create our new “normal.”

Yes, because my silver lining day tells me that we’ve been given time to reflect and renew. It’s up to us to use it.

Maybe it was the sea yesterday. Maybe I’m having a silver lining day because the sun was shining and I could hear birds chirping outside. Whatever the reason, I’m feeling positive. I’m thinking I will only live once, as far as I know, and I should live it to the fullest.

So! At least today, no moping. No irritation at being in lockdown (extended to May 9 in Spain). Today, I’m thinking ahead. Daydreaming about the people I’ll see and the places I’ll visit. The new business ventures I’ll launch. Today, I know that post-corona, anything is possible. Today is my silver lining day.


Coming to terms with my procrastination

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

My husband and I were planning to move out of our home this spring. But the #coronavirus has delayed everything. This was a blessing in disguise because I was happy to have more time to get my house organized and ready to sell.

I’m a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to doing things I don’t want to do. The current coronavirus “stay home” order has highlighted this slight flaw in my personality. It really doesn’t matter how much time I have; I will avoid doing certain things.

Organizing my personal items has never been my forte. I have a friend who thrives on organization and even started a business to help others like me get organized. It must be a personality trait that she was born with because she has tried to “help” me without much success.

Now I have been home for four weeks and I think I am still deliberately putting off clearing my clutter and packing. I know I am struggling with the same emotions and anxieties many of you are experiencing in the current state of affairs. I’ve heard from several friends that these uncertain times are rather overwhelming and at times crippling. Some experts equate the current Corona Blues to the feelings associated with grief.

After much analysis of my own, I have come to understand the reason for my current procrastination. Packing and moving means that I will be saying goodbye to the past 16 years of my life. 16 years of living in one place and raising my kids. This is the longest I have lived in the same house. I don’t think I’m mentally ready to make the move.

So is procrastination a crippling anxiety and a way of avoiding the truth? Is it the fear of the unknown? Or is it a hope that somehow it will take care of itself?

As Norma wrote in her blog on Saturday we will move forward after a life-changing event, but to do that, we must go through the present. This present is a double whammy for me. I feel the loss of my old life and the loss associated with an unknown future due to the Corona Blues. I need to get to the other side to be reassured that it will be OK.


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If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here.