Our Inner Grinch
Updated: Jun 11
Two literary images come to mind to describe how many people are feeling this week.
Some of us are experiencing our inner Grinch coming out. You know the guy who was grouchy about everything. Irritability is high this week. That is to be expected because we have been using a lot of resources to "make the best of it" for a prolonged period.
The other image is from, one of my favorite young adult books (it is totally a pleasure to read as an adult as well), The Phantom Tollbooth. The main character, Milo, finds himself in a fantasy world where he drives into the Doldrums, The Lethargarians who live there, describe it as a place "where nothing ever happens and nothing every changes" Milo finds himself getting very drowsy and dull. Many of us are hitting feelings of lethargy as the days blend into one another and options for diversion are limited.
Now that we all have some quarantine experience under our belt, this is the time to reassess your patterns to see if there needs to be some adjustments. I would suggest doing this on a week to week basis as your needs may change and the situation continues to evolve. Here are some questions that you could consider:
Do I need to change the structure of my day?
Do I need more or less contact with people?
Do I need to change the type of things I am reading or watching?
Do I need to change the amount or type of my physical activity?
So take some time this week to examine how you have been spending your time. See what types of activities are making you Grinchier or Miloier (had to keep the literary flow). How can you modify those? Can you create a different balance in your life that will make you feel more positive?
Also remember that the Grinch did not stay a Grinch. Overwhelmed by acts of kindness, his heart did not remain two sizes too small, but grew in abundance.
And for Milo in the Phantom Toll Booth, he restores Rhyme and Reason to the world and Milo acquires a new perspective where he appreciates everything around him.
I always suggest starting and ending each day with a Grateful Practice: Identifying aspects of your life for which you can be grateful.
I would suggest that if you are getting stressed by the length of days, see if you can frame being bored as something for which you can be grateful. We have to remember that there are many people who would love to be bored: our first responders, health care professionals, people who are sick or have loved ones who are sick, small business owners and the people who serve us in any capacity every day.
Since this week felt heavy for many, here are some things that I hope will lighten and inspire your day.
Every Day Adventure:
This is an exercise you can do to refresh your perspective on a walk.
If you are a musical fan this can challenge your knowledge of musicals and its fun to watch. James Corden also has a series of Carpool Karaoke which are very fun as well https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ1f3amS4y1ffYEhGZDtawaEyRQQu69Bw
If you need to workout and you have toilet paper, you're set!
This podcast has a series called Real Leaders which profiles Ernest Shackleton, Rachel Carson, Abraham Lincoln and Oprah Winfrey. The one about Ernest Shackleton has a lot of resonance for today. All of them are very interesting.
And finally, something to make you smile.
Moving through this together. Stay Well.