Just when I thought we were off to a good start with the new year, 2021 threw us a curve ball with the events in our Nation’s Capital on Wednesday, January 6th.

The day started off optimistic and full of promise but a few minutes into the afternoon that all changed.  I was glued to the television watching the chaos unfold. Once again, all those negative feelings bubbled up to the top. Fear, anxiety, disbelief, hostility and anger popped out of the box that I thought I had packed away in the attic along with the Christmas decorations at the end of 2020 – but there they were. Within minutes I began getting calls and texts from friends and coworkers eager to discuss the events that were unfolding and what they were feeling. I think we all needed each other right then and there. It was a very human moment.

Working from home since March of 2020 I’ve made it a priority not to watch the news in general and especially during work hours. The events of January 6th reinforced that priority. Living in the non-profit world my job currently requires fundraising outreach. It’s important to stay positive, confident and project those feelings to those I’m speaking with. What has helped get me though the past 10 months has been humor, meditation and music.

My daily routine includes setting up my work space complete with my yoga mat and favorite Pandora station on low. I don’t care if I hear the same songs on a daily basis. Those songs have become old friends and bring a smile to my face when I hear them. I take a mini break to listen, catch my breath, stretch and get back to it.

Meditation has also become a daily ritual and not just during work hours. My meditation sessions have no set rules. If I need a mental health break, I take it – whether it’s five minutes or an hour – morning, noon or night. Sometimes it’s all three!

However, most important to my mental health is humor. Maintaining my sense of humor has played a major role in feeding my soul throughout my life and is something I’m leaning on to get me through these trying times. I’ve been binging on screwball comedies from the 30s and 40s and classic TV shows – including reviving that sacred Saturday morning ritual from my childhood – cartoons to wash away the week that was. My family, friends, coworkers and social media buddies have become my tribe. Sending funny memes and videos to them makes them laugh and lighten the mood.  The magic happens when I get them in return (sometimes before I’m even out of bed in the morning) and keeps the conversation going. These little moments help me feel connected and know that I’m not alone. It’s a shared experience. One that lifts all of us up, is easy to do and brings the moments of brevity and sanity that we all so desperately need right now.

These companions of music, meditation and humor did not come together overnight. It was a mix that happened organically as the months progressed through COVID, chaos and comradery (oh my!) and I’m confident these friends will sustain me through whatever 2021 throws my way.