We’re all living in a world of “instead,” as Dr. H puts it. The most obvious one being you stay home, instead of going to school, work, etc. Over the past few months we’ve all had to improvise and adjust our plans one way or another just to navigate daily life. In this mini our host explores some of the “insteads” he’s experienced lately, and asks listeners to share their “insteads” in turn.
Please share your “insteads” with us! We will feature them in a future episode! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.
Episode photo by Andrea Piacquadio
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A transcript of this episode can be found below.
Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today we have a mini episode in our series of mental health checks that we’re doing each week as the pandemic continues to roll along. And we all like it or not, roll with it. Today I want to describe a phenomenon that I call the world of instead. We’re all living in a world of instead. Each day we have to think up, dream up, discover, create, improvise insteads. The most obvious one being you stay at home instead of doing whatever you used to do. Go to work, go to school, go to the store, go to the movies, go to the restaurants, go to the hair salon, whatever you may have planned to do you have to do something else instead. And this is posing quite a challenge to our ingenuity and imagination. But ingenuity and imagination are qualities we Americans are famous for, as well as those of us who like me have ADHD, which is not a deficit and not a disorder but a trait. And an abundance of attention not a deficit of attention. The challenge is to control it.
In any case in my world, in my practice I’ve discovered Zoom. I barely ever used Zoom and now to see patients, I can’t see them in person. So we tend to use Zoom. And there is a special Zoom that is HIPAA compliant and so it’s secure and safe. That’s how I’m seeing patients instead. Some of them prefer the telephone or FaceTime, but most of them I see on Zoom and that’s my instead. It turns out there is something called Zoom fatigue. There’s something about that medium that is more tiring than in person conversations and so I’m learning how to deal with that. But then there are all the other insteads. Where do you eat instead of a restaurant? How do you get your food instead of shopping regularly as you used to? Do you order in? Do you have deliveries? And how do you get your mail? Well that still seems to be delivered.
How do you get your exercise? My wife who was an absolute gym rat can’t go to the gym. So she’s built the gym in our living room and she runs around the living room and is doing burpees and jumping jacks and squats every other day from our living room. So instead of the gym she has our living room. Maybe the most challenging instead is the question of employment. And if you don’t have an obvious instead, it’s pretty dismal for those people who can’t work and don’t have a skill that they know how to market in order to generate income. That’s pretty oppressive. And my only solution that I can offer is not to worry alone, to talk to other people, to brainstorm. Don’t hunker down in isolation. Try to reach out to other people. You don’t know what you’re reaching out for other than a connection.
And in that crucible of connection new ideas will spark. Guaranteed new ideas will spark. And you may find as a photographer client of mine found another way of generating business, it is in using your imagination that you will find a vast array of insteads. Necessity is the mother of invention. And we’re all up against it now. Necessity is asking us to really create some useful insteads. And that’s the silver lining. I know it’s sort of Pollyannaish to talk about silver linings in this difficult time. But I think that is a genuine silver lining that we are of necessity. Being asked to dig deep with our excavation tool called imagination. And the beauty of imagination is you never know what you’re going to find. It’s like Forrest Gump said about the box of chocolates, “You never know what you’re going to get when you stick your finger into one of them.”
So stick your fingers into your imaginations. Stick your fingers into that box of chocolates and see what you can come up with. See what insteads you can come up with. We’d love to hear your roster of insteads and we will absolutely devote a show to reading them and talking to you about them. So if you have some insteads send them along. Email us at [email protected]. It’ll be a wonderful show if we can collect a bunch of your favorite insteads. What do you do today instead? Well, that’s it for me for now. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the inestimable wonderful Pat Keogh. And our producer is the brilliant, delightful and extremely imaginative Sarah Guertin.