Let's Quarantine Like Dolly!
Dolly Parton has much to teach us about how to quarantine well, but first: have you had a coronanightmare yet? For those of us feeling anxious about the pandemic, our fearful emotions can seep into our sleep, creating nightmares in which surroundings crumble, bugs eat away at sweaters then nibble on shoulders, and even Oprah runs amok on a murderous chainsaw rampage. Our dreams use symbolism unique to us–don't try to interpret your dreams with a dream dictionary or fancy Freudian analysis. When we dream we think in different, more visual, less logical ways about the same things we think about when we're awake, and dreams can highlight issues that we aren't consciously acknowledging in our busy lives. Mark Blagrove, a professor of psychology and sleep researcher at Swansea University in the U.K., has found through the analysis of sleep diaries that emotions are the raw material of dreams and that talking about your dreams and especially your nightmares can forge a bond of connection. When you talk about your dreams, you may not realize it, but you're sharing something intimate about yourself, what Blagrove calls a “blushing of the mind.” Blushing is welcomed here at The 5-Minute Recharge where we offer evidence-based tips, encouragement, and nothing nightmarish. Let's get started! ONE UNSOLICITED QUOTE “Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them 'Is there more?' until there is no more...” – On the occasion of his 68th birthday, Wired founder Kevin Kelly offers 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice
Dorset County Hospital in the U.K. receives its first shipment of crochet teddies with masks to make children feel less anxious about seeing staff wearing PPE THREE DREAMY IDEAS #1 THE DIDDY OF ALL BEDTIMES We know from research that when it comes to sleep, our bodies crave consistency. Going to bed at the same time and especially waking up at the same time trains the body to ease into and out of the sleep we need to support our immunity and promote good mental health. In The 5-Minute Recharge we recommend that you design a bedtime ritual that relaxes, pampers, and prepares you for sleep. As we continue to shelter in place, you might want to read One Hundred Years of Solitude to add some magical realism to your evening routine, put on your favourite jammies (or leave them on if you've been wearing them all day) and join Diddy as he gently escorts you to dreamland with a free meditation that nobody has heard right to the very end except Diddy. But before you welcome Diddy, perhaps you can take a moment to sum up your day in a one-line journal that you keep by your bedside: your single sentence could be one of the day's highlights, a funny line, a question you've been pondering or a deep thought that you want to preserve in writing. In five years, your one-line journal will have provided you with over 1,500 lines of riveting bedtime reading. Design a bedtime routine that works for you and sleep will be your sweet reward. “Rest fixed most things. Sleep was my sweet reward. I treated bedtime as both incentive and sacrament.” – Aspen Matis #2 SUN, SUN, SUN, HERE WE COME Want a free and easy way to improve your mood, sleep better, and strengthen your immune function? Walk out your front door. Exposure to sunlight has been recognized for its health-giving properties for thousands of years. During the Spanish flu pandemic, patients who were taken outside to recover in "open-air" tent hospitals due to a shortage of beds recovered faster than those confined to dark, enclosed spaces of traditional hospitals. If you can't get outdoors, even working close to a window has benefits. Working in dark spaces for extended periods of time can lead to a kind of permanent jet lag, a sad state of chronic irritation and reduced immune function. Dr. Mariana Figueiro, director of Lighting Research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., recommends a 15 to 45 minute walk, even on cloudy days, to get optimal exposure to the healing powers of the sun. “I know it’s a cliché, but the sun makes me happy. When you can feel the sunshine on you, you feel better, happier, and naturally, every human being needs the sun.” – Doetzen Kroes #3 LET'S QUARANTINE LIKE DOLLY Dolly Parton has said that we shouldn't be so busy making a living that we forget to make a life. During the pandemic, Dolly has been following her own advice with the delightful Goodnight With Dolly series of bedtime stories, and it's no surprise that the woman who wrote Jolene is also writing poetry. Dolly's quarantine poem has caused quite a sensation and reminds us of one of our favourite activities from Acts of Friendship: “I Am From” in which you write an autobiographical poem offline and share it with your friends when you get together. Doing a poetry reading is the perfect activity for a Zoom call that uses the performative aspects of video conference to its best advantage and gives everyone an opportunity to be seen, heard and understood. You can write a poem describing where you are from (Deb's poem begins, "I am from family values and family visits/Dad's work ethic/And Mom's optimism...") or you can write about your pandemic experience. Add favourite poems from other poets to round out your call. You might even want to recite Dolly... “This too shall pass, as all things will/ If the virus don't kill us, the staying home will/ The kids are bored and restless/ They scream and yell and squawk/ And the teens and tweens are just plain mean/ They'll bite your bleeping head off/ And all those little couples that were once so sweet and cozy/ Now they fight like cats and dogs, like Donald and Pelosi/ Lord, get us back to school and get us back to work/ And get us out of this dadblame house before someone gets hurt/ And Lord, please find a vaccination in the form of a shot or a pill/ Cause if the virus don't kill us, the staying at home will.” – Dolly Parton *********************************** The Fast Five 1. Psychopaths and Superheroes: what super altruists can teach us about how to be happy - The Happiness Lab Podcast (Time: 34:20) 2. What Rousseau Knew About Solitude - The Paris Review 3. Can You Be OK With Uncertainty? - Ten Percent Happier Podcast (Time 1:15:15) 4. Yoga With Adriene: how the YouTube star won lockdown - The Guardian 5. Nicoya: The Costa Rican peninsula where centenarians thrive -BBC *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE ARBITRARY STUPID GOALS “It [the arbritrary stupid goal] is just a decoy point that keeps you bobbing along, allowing you to find ecstasy in the small things, the unexpected, and the everyday.” – Tamara Shopsin, Arbitrary Stupid Goals This week's 5-Minute Recharge challenge comes to us from Austin Kleon who has been grappling with trying to navigate the pandemic with hope and without despair. According to Kleon, now is the perfect time for Arbitrary Stupid Goals, little things that kindle excitement for the future. Please take five minutes to compile a list of things you're looking forward to in the week ahead. Here's Addie's list to inspire you:
Now that it’s getting warmer, walking every morning when the sun is just coming up
Reading every evening in the backyard as the sun goes down
Finally starting that Zoom yoga class!
Your turn. Hope your list brightens your day and keeps you bobbing along. “It can be a very minor thing, and it can be a major thing, but you always have to have something you're looking forward to next.” ― Julia Louis-Dreyfus Wishing you health, happiness and much to look forward to, Lynne & Addie