Groundhog day

Does everyone remember that film starring Bill Murray? Where he plays a weatherman, Phil Connors, caught is some sort of time loop where he keeps reliving the same day? It feels like we’re all living Phil’s life lately.

Having lived with various anxiety disorders throughout my life, I tend to find comfort in some sort of regularity in schedule. And like many other people I often enjoy the sameness of things – that dish you always order at your favorite restaurant, your go-to YouTube channel when you’re procrastinating, even the hand with which you usually open a door.

These days, however, that repetition and uniformity have left the realm of comfort and become stressors unto themselves. The patterns of our days tend to remain very similar, and with little variety in our surroundings (home, park, grocery store), the days tend to meld into each other.

My brain starts to get obsessive when things become rote – if I’m not expending any energy reacting to new stimulus, it starts to get a bit impatient and looks for something to latch onto. That often sends me hurtling into a black hole of gloomy news or a spinning preoccupation with an uncertain future. Neither is healthy or helpful.

To break up the monotony I’ve become more aware of my tendency towards routine and am making more effort to break out of them, even in the very smallest of ways. Things as seemingly insignificant as sitting on the other side of the couch, or taking my coffee black instead of with my customary almond milk, spark my brain in tiny ways. More concrete novelty like trying a new running route or taking an online course on an unfamiliar topic or cooking a new dish engages my mind and forces it out of auto pilot.

Humans need stimulus for mental and physical health, and I’ve become acutely aware of that in these last few weeks.

What do you do to move you out of monotony? Have days started to melt into each other since the beginning of your time in quarantine?

My task today: taking my own advice, I wanted to switch up my running route and take Pinkerton in the opposite direction of your usual walk (done!)

City dog

6 thoughts on “Groundhog day

  1. Anando Purutama says:

    From a lecture of the I ching:
    39 – IMPEDIMENTS
    It shows man how by giving in, by going backwards, solutions are found in times of impediments. Through the calm vision of danger plus stopping, going backwards, man manages to find help and solve obstacles.

    For the Present: Time of difficulties and impediments. One must stop in the face of danger. This is external, it has not been produced by any of our acts. In detention we will find a way to overcome the danger, and thereby resolve any impediment that comes our way. Relationships are successfully sought that can help us carry out our plans. With perseverance it will come to fruition.

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  2. “What do you do to move you out of monotony? Have days started to melt into each other since the beginning of your time in quarantine?”
    Bonjour Maestra! I remember that movie. Loved it. Your posts always give me the stimulus to force myself to write down some stuff… and trying to improve my writing skill in English.
    I’m not in your music industry so for me it is like a paralell universe but a fascinating one. These days I don’t have much time to move out of monotony. Usually when I do want to move out of monotony I always go back to my 2 questions since I’m 13. (I’m almost 53):
    1- Counsciousness. Is there a counsciousness who survive us when we pass away?
    2- Life in the universe. Are we alone or is there life in this universe?
    I like to read books or watch serious videos or conferences about these two topics. About number 1, I like to follow the research of my compatriot Dr Mario Beauregard, PhD (neuroscientist). He now works and lives in usa. You can watch him on Youtube. He is specialized on counsciousness. There is also psychiatrist and philosopher Dr Raymond Moody, late psychiatrist Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (rip) and psychologist Dr Kenneth Ring. There are interesting videos on Youtube about them. About number 2, I like to follow NASA and serious ufo authors (uap or unidentified aerial phenomena is the new terminology) like mr. Jean Sider (French from France- ‘La Grande Manipulation’ in 2 volumes,…), Dr Jacques François Vallée (French from France but now lives in the states. He was Steven Spielberg’s consultant on his cult movie ‘Encounter of the third kind’ portrayed by his compatriot late cineast François Truffault (rip)), late astronaut Gordon Cooper (rip), late astronaut Edgar Mitchell (rip), Dan Aykroyd, … There are interesting videos on Youtube about these persons.
    That might sound weird but my days seems to melt into each other since the quarantine even if it moves a lot in my job’s right now. Putting the protections for covid-19 (gound, gloves, gogle, mask,..) became a second nature in a kind of short loop of time. Yesterday I took care of an actor who was my tv hero in my young age (between 4-7). He died of covid-19. I found it sad but I was glad that I could have told him he made my days when I was an infant. It was another of my surreal events.
    Again Sarah, merci for sharing your thoughts. for me it takes more than Courage and Transparency to do so. See my pm on Fb about radio host Pénélope McQuade. That would be fascinating if you could give her a radio interniew. I would also see you on the French Canadian tv show ‘Tout le monde en parle (Talk of the town)’ to talk about your industry, your profession and the mental health. You can watch some of this show on youtube (for example Taylor Swift,…-> just google Tout le monde en parle Taylor Swift). À la prochaine (See you soon) !

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  3. Wayne Zelenak says:

    I know the movie and can relate to it. Instead of 6:00 am wakeup, my body clock is set at 1:00 am. The news has become ad nauseam and causes anxiety. But YouTub allows me to research new artists, music, and behind the scene glimpses of stage performances. Recently, I did some research on Rachel Portman who is an English composer, known for her scores in “Emma”, “Cider House Rules” and “Chocolat”

    I am attracted to positive artists who create moods in music that resonate with people. Ennio Morricone and Suzanna Rigacci (soprano) toured the world with their music from “The Good The Bad and The Ugly” Morricone’s signature style of music is legendary.

    For me, there is an abundance of material that will eliminate any monotony that exists.

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  4. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Trying a new recipe for dinner, reading a new book, or perusing the internet are all great ideas while in quarantine. We need to eliminate the “What If” pervasive mentality which is open-ended and depletes positive energy from a person.

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