LISTEN: to smart people.
The pandemic wall has this introspective effect in which we think and overthink our situations, our living conditions and our emotions. Try listening to lifestyle podcasts that are framed through interviewing experts like NPR’s Life Kit or TED Radio Hour. Or perhaps your pandemic wall is more of a creative block – try local podcast Department of Homeland Inspiration by artist and consultant Melissa Smedley. You can find it on Spotify. If you’re a visual or auditory learner, get some extra inspiration from the team behind Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival, (philipglasscenterpresents.org). They’re rolling out a steady stream of notable past performances of the 10-year presence in Monterey County.
DRESS UP: to go nowhere or somewhere.
Hey, it’s me – your closet and your clothes, your shoe rack and your shoes, your pre-pandemic haircut grown out with split ends in desperate need of a root touchup. I miss you. Stop ignoring me. Whether your day is packed with Zoom meetings or you’re finally going to eat outdoors at a restaurant, fashion choices and self-image have really taken on a mundane uniform during the pandemic. It’s usually a mixture of athleisure and professional tops and a combed pandemic beard or high pony to hide the fly-aways. Often the clothes we wear are seen as signifiers of who we are to other people. Go ahead and dress and do your hair for yourself at least once this week. Pick real pants over sweats one day. Maybe even schedule an appointment with your barber or hairstylist, many of whom are now taking appointments because they’re allowed to reopen (with precautions).
STEP: outside of yourself.
It’s easy to be stuck in our own world, but volunteering and donating opportunities are endless in the pandemic era. Volunteering gives you a boost of those feel-good hormones, but is also a reminder that we’re all going through this crappy situation together. There are hundreds of nonprofits that need help shifting their services and also many mutual aid groups that are doing on-the-ground work like Agents of Change 831 (instagram.com/agentsofchange831) and All. In. Monterey (instagram.com/all.in.monterey). If it’s too risky for you to volunteer in person, considering donating to a fundraiser. The Monterey Public Library is hosting their annual Chocolate and Wine Fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 7-8pm, for $40-$100 (investmpl.org).