Happy Saint Patrick's Day! The pubs are closed.
It’s not like I really celebrate. I didn’t even celebrate when I was in university when nearly everyone skipped classes to get raging drunk. I supposedly have some Irish heritage, so when I was in high school and a good Christian girl, I would wear orange instead of green to show my Irish, protestant history. Now I only wear the first thing I grabbed in my closet lineup.
Right now, most of us are on edge. I live in an area that hasn’t been hit yet, but the whole state has shut down, as has the rest of the country. Most of the world has too. I waver between fear that we will forever live like the apocalypse has come or blase apathy because my life really isn’t all that different and things will go back to normal in a few weeks or months.
And truly, nothing much has changed for the Wallace family. I’m still unemployed. My parents are still retired. My brother still goes to work at the bank. I just can’t buy toilet paper or spend time at the local diner or coffee shop. But at least I will have an excuse to stay inside to play Animal Crossing when it comes out.
I think about this time and wonder what history books will say. Will this be a time brushed over and not remembered. Or will this be a detailed report where future children will wonder what it would have been like to live in such a situation. Kind of like the black plague or typhoid.
I worry about other people. The people I don’t know. I worry for those in areas that have had breakouts. How scary it must be, wondering if you’ll be next, if you already have the virus and don’t know it. I’m scared for the people who work “nonessential” jobs. Will they still have some form of income? Will they be able to get through the next few weeks without pay? How many will die because they can’t afford to live any longer?
If I get sick, I will be fine. I’m young and fit enough that it’s not a concern. I have my unemployment benefits to float me. Even if I didn’t, I was able to make a savings account. My family will not worry about finances.
People talk about a cure being made… but I wonder if there could ever be one? This is not bacterial, like the previously mentioned pandemics. This is viral, strands of RNA that infect cells. And because it is RNA, a virus’s evolution is much faster than beings with cells. If a cure is made, will it matter? We have to have a flu shot every year for a reason, and even then, it’s only for a specific stand of influenza. I am no doctor nor scientist, but I still wonder.
Please don’t take my wondering as assuming that we will all die. I don’t believe that. It is just questions I have.
One thing about this though… while covid-19 has forced us to all be physically separated, it’s still brought humanity together. The solidarity that is showing up around the world through the internet warms my heart. Below, I linked a video from The Guardian that shows examples (not sponsored).
This is a scary time, a nerve wracking time, but do remember to keep out for your fellow human. Be kind and remember to wash your hands.
Before I started writing this, I said, “Nyssa, you have no children. You don’t have a full time, corporate job. You don’t have pushy family members. You don’t go to school. Your schedule is fine.”
And I said, “Well, Nyssa, you used to have all those things, minus the children, but you survived and many people might be able to use that past experience. Also, you have new things that take up all your time.”
And then I said, “Nyssa, why are you talking to yourself?”
Carry not only a Planner, but a Brain Dump Notebook
As we go about our lives, we are flooded with information. We learn things. We have randomly appearing ideas. We have thoughts and feelings. And sometimes, it can be overwhelming.
Planners are helpful. It lets you know when you are free and when you are not. I’m not going to tell you what kind of planner to use as everyone is different. It can be digital or physical. You can plan by the month, week, day, hour, etc. Whatever works. Personally, I plan by the day using a combination of an online calendar app and a bullet journal, but again, these are the things that help me stay organized, but promoting them is an article for another day. The point is, have some sort of Planner so you know what your days, weeks, and months look like.
Now that piece of advice is pretty common. Everyone is going to tell you to have a planner. Now, here is what I have to add to it: Have a place to brain dump. This is a place you aren't afraid to be messy with no urges to be pretty. Again, it doesn’t matter if this is digital or physical, but have a place to brain dump.
The point of the brain dump is to get out the clutter of the brain so you can focus on what is important.
Give Yourself A Break
If you are the kind of person who makes their schedule so stressful that they need to read a blog article to try to get their life back together, chances are that you need a break.
And that’s okay.
I’m no doctor or biologist, but from personal experience, you need to let your body and mind rest. You can only go so long before you crash. And you don’t want to crash. That’s not fun. It leads to irritability and illness.
If you have a career that will give you some holidays, take one, especially right after a large stressor event. I always took a day off of work when I’m doing community theatre. And now, I let myself rest the day after and don’t stress over my novel or blog.
If you don’t have that luxury, see where you can cut in some time just for some self love. Go to a massus or get your nails done. Maybe go to the movies with friends or have a sit in day with family. Take an evening to play video games or board games. Whatever helps you unwind and chill, do that.
And when you are living in one of your break periods that you specifically assigned to recoup, do not get mad at yourself over it. When your brian tells you things like “You are wasting time,” “This isn’t productive,” “You don’t deserve this,” and so on, ignore those thoughts. Tell those thoughts to shove off. You don’t need that negativity and you aren’t wasting time taking care of yourself. You are being productive by getting some self-care, and you do deserve this.
My Number 1 Advice. Say “No.”
Seriously. Say “No.”
And it can be difficult. Someone you like asks for help and you don’t want to disappoint them. Or you need to suck up to an authority figure, so you have to help them. Or someone asks you to your face to do something and you don’t want to start a conflict.
But you will alleviate so much stress when you learn to tell people “No.”
And you don’t have to find an excuse. “I have a family reunion.” “My aunt passed away.” “I have to shampoo my hair.” “I’m repainting the bedroom.” You don’t need any of that. Your “excuse” can literally be “I don’t want to.”
It is a scenario by scenario basis, but saying “no” to things that you don’t want or need to do will make you feel so much better and will free up your schedule more than you would think.
There are some things everyone carries everywhere, usually a cell phone, keys, and a wallet. Many people have some sort of bag or purse to hold more than just the essentials. A common everyday carry item is a writing utensil, but those who enjoy the act of writing know that there is more to a pencil than a stick of graphite or a pen a tube of ink. It isn’t just what you write but what you are writing with that enhances the experience. A good pen makes me want to find an excuse to write something just to use it more.
I’ve been carrying all of these items for a half-year now and love them. Maybe you can get inspiration from that and can have a more enjoyable everyday writing experience.
First, let’s look at the case itself. You need something to hold all of those writing utensils so that the bottom of your purse isn’t cluttered with cylindrical objects rolling around so you can never find what you are looking for. My pencil case has a cute kitty cat!
The cat is definitely the best part, but it has another nifty feature: when you unzip the top of the bag and pull the tabs, the bag becomes a cup! It is the most convenient pencil case I have ever owned, and I’ve gotten so many compliments on it.
You can find it here.
For quite a long time, my father insisted I invest in a pencil that wasn’t a BiC #2 0.7mm mechanical pencil. I used that BiC brand all through college, dealing with stuck erasers and snapped clips. But this was much better than the wooden yellow #2 that I was required to use through primary school. When I entered the workforce, I finally craved and purchased a 3 pack of Pentel P205m 0.5mm pencils. I fell in love, and I’ve never looked back.
The eraser is like many other metal pencils where the eraser comes out of a metal barrel, easy to remove from the pencil and easy to replace, also protected by a metal cap. An unexpected bonus with this feature is watching friends who have borrowed your pencil get frustrated over the lack of an eraser and their look of astonishment when you pull off the cap.
You can find it here.
I also always carry a retractable stick eraser, just in case I need something a bit more heavy duty.
I discovered the beauty of rollerball pens when I was working for corporate America. They were a rare find in the office supply cabinet, but when I spotted one, I snatched it. I’m someone who has issues gripping too tightly and pressing my pen to paper too forcefully. When you write for long periods of time, this can damage the wrist. A rollerball helps me be less severe with my pen pressure, saving me the pain.
My favorite is the Pilot Precise V5. I usually have all three available colors, black, blue, and red, even if I tend to stick to black. The pen doesn’t look fancy or aesthetic, but it does have a cool window that you can see the ink splashing around the barrel. A downside to this pen is something you will find in a lot of rollerballs, and that is that the ink may bleed through normal printer quality paper. It does just fine on thicker stock, but be aware that if you work with cheap paper, you may have bleeding.
A V7 is also available. You can find them here.
As someone who’s been cartooning since I was a child, I am very familiar with Sakura Pigma Micron pens, and I have yet to find a fineliner that writes as smoothly and has such a rich black. Not only is this a great pen to outline doodles with, but it makes my writing look tidy as I can choose the proper pen thickness for my script size, as there are many size options available. I tend to carry the older ones I have (I can tell the age because the printed labels wear with use). I carry an 03, 05, and 1.
You can find them here.
I like having a good highlighter around. Not only for note taking and color coordinating, but it’s like a marker that I can use on my doodles. But I’m going to be honest… neon colors stopped being of interest to me when I was 9-years-old. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t like neon colors, but as a very boring person who enjoys the color gray more than she should, I don’t prefer that bright light in my face.
So I was thrilled when I found Zebra Mildliners. These pens have become extremely popular, so if you are into stationary, you are probably already familiar with them. If not, Mildliners work like highlighters but the colors are much more subdued so it’s easier to look at. They come in packs or in open stock. I started with the “cool pack” and have slowly grown my collection with open stock and that’s also how I replaced my dried out colors. Side note, I’ve seen people on the internet say that they have gone years without needing to replace their mildliners, and all I can think is how they much not use their supplies very often, cause I have to replace my most used colors about every 9 months (which is still impressive).
I always carry these colors: Red, Vermilion, Gold, Green, Dark Blue, Violet, and Gray.
If you like pastels or even neon, they have those colors too!
You can find them here.
Now, what works for me might not work for you, and if you asked me what my EDC is in a year, it will probably be totally different. But perhaps this gives you some ideas of your own.