Living through a pandemic and how a laid back attitude can take you through it

As someone living in the first world, I’m not accustomed to having my movements restricted, or my social appearance directed by the use of masks, nor am I accustomed to the sparsity of activities that I so cherished to do around my own city, Toronto. A lover of art in all it’s forms, I find my mind suffers the most at the impossibility of going to a play or a show, at the lack of festivals and generally, the lack of density of people that I simply used to experience around town.

It is an emotional toll beyond the pale.

But not being a lingering pessimist, this type of thought does not last long; so I figured that instead, I would get a little perspective and look at where some of this has been imposed in much more nefarious circumstances. That ought to perk me up!

Well, that right there, folks, is being laid-back. And that is the only attitude that can successfully get you going through challenging times such as these.

Photo courtesy of Dimitri Houtteman

A laid-back person is one that can switch with the flow easily and stress-free, that can take a step off the yellow brick road and not give it a second thought, and then be right back on the road, or some other road, being ok with it all while not even knowing they actually came off some road at some point.

A person that can enjoy the minute and not worry excessively about the past or the future. Because we almost never worry about the present – by the time we do, it’s already gone.

But as all textbook definitions, absolutes are rarely present in real life. Most people have a certain relaxed sense of self that ranks on a gradual scale as opposed to a yes/no scenario. Undoubtedly a healthy amount of “looseness” will get you through life’s stressful moments much easier.

If you consider yourself fairly low on the scale, consider this:

Photo courtesy of Ann Fosa

It is normal to constantly have a crisis on your hand and there are millions out there who have it worst

According to the New York Times,  “Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history.”

From the visible conflicts reported on the news all the time to the invisible maze of abuse and personal tragedies, we all experience a crisis in some amount. Sure we may be envious of the person next to us that seems to have it so much better, but those who have it better do not necessarily have less crisis but have better skills at sliding past them.
Crisis situations are part of our life as humans and yet, every time one comes, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the coming apart of our habits of living, security and the entangled maze of activities that we construct for ourselves.

But then… the crisis passes – always – and we’re back at it, rebuilding it all.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Park

When you’re in the thick of things, stick to the basics
Food, shelter, family and friends. That’s all that matters when a problem takes over. Focus on that, and do not think regretfully about the stable past or anxiously about the uncertain future.
What crisis events have that regular events do not is the power to spin everything else out of control. Lack of control or rather, the need for control is one of the key impediments to a laid-back attitude. The second you give up control, or excessive control, you’re on your way to a looser and most likely happier self.
Craft your life a day at the time, within the new parameters of a shifted reality.
Photo courtesy of Dochia Interior Design

A creative mind can get over crisis better
I find that what I’ve learned in architecture and interior design school helps tremendously to successfully cope with life’s changes; good or bad.
The key to designing is to constantly adapt to changing parameters. Letting go of great ideas is a must. Leaving paths that got too muddy and carving new ones that take you out of the woods is part of the process.
The more rigid you are, the more you hold off on what you think is a fabulous idea despite the fact that it does not fit the project needs, the worst designer you are.
True control: design your life the best you can.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Head

Einstein said: “Creativity is intelligence having fun”

The best fun is not the game with the strictest rules!

Stay tuned for the next chapter: how to get a laid-back mindset if you do not have one.

Photo courtesy of Alberto Castillo


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