Pandemic Fatigue and the Power of Music, Dancing, and a Mind at Rest

Guess what I did yesterday and how I feel now?

  1. Finished a book, turned it in, and took a shower. I feel clean now. That’s something, right?
  2. Fell asleep in a bath. I feel groggy now. I hate naps because I always wake up feeling slow.
  3. Listened to music and danced around my office. Boy was that fun! I’m going to do it again!
  4. Read a good book. It was wonderful but I’m not talking to anyone because I’m not done with it!

Answer: 3. Yup, I did something that I would normally think is a complete waste of time, and yet…I feel great today! Go figure! Let me explain…

Self-discipline was burned into me from my first days. My mother had a master’s degree in child development, and in those years, even babies were taught that the child had to accommodate the world, not the other way around. Even as an infant, I was fed on a schedule whether I was hungry or not. I was put in a crib on a schedule whether I wanted to sleep or not. As I grew, I was given homework every day by my mother whether or not the school gave me anything. And also, I practiced piano every day whether I had any love (or talent) in classical music or not. (I didn’t.)

Then yesterday, a spiritual teacher I follow named Matt Kahn said in his newsletter that the mind needs to rest. If the mind hasn’t rested, then the universe will slow opportunities down until the body and mind are ready for more. Usually, he says, a person feels stuck or like s/he’s on a treadmill going nowhere because s/he is. Until there is rest, there will be no progress.

Well gee, I do feel stuck. Part of it is the pandemic, part of it is I just don’t feel like much is moving in my career. So how should I rest? I get enough sleep every night. (Thank you empty nesting!) But I’m always working. Even my leisure reading is framed as work because I’m checking out the market, seeing what other people write, and expanding my exposure to different story-telling styles. Matt suggested listening to music, not playing video games, or just listening in silence to whatever comes up in the world. I chose music. And boy was that fun! Oldies, Disney hits, my favorite artists. I danced about my office, and even when I got tired, I danced in my office chair. And this morning, I got up early, did some housework, and am about to leave to be a poll worker. I don’t know if there will be movement in my career, but I certainly feel good about life. So go figure.

What do you do to help your mind rest?

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