Schrodinger, Hygge and Mindfulness — My Survival Bag for Stressful Times

Sara Karnoscak
8 min readApr 18, 2020

I came into this strange season of pandemic and isolation at the tail end of what has already been the strangest and most difficult time of my life, making it a bit like the final quarter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland… are all of the oddities encountered at that stage in the story really that odd anymore?

You see, we’re in the midst of a home renovation. My husband and I bought an old historic house and what was at first scheduled to be a four month renovation has just stretched into its second year. It goes without saying that this has been the most stressful and overwhelming two years of my life. I won’t bore you with all the details here — just think of every renovation horror story you’ve ever heard and know that it’s probably some godawful Frankenstorm of them all. I’ve experienced more stress during this period than I would have thought a person could survive. Yet here I am, still standing, and I owe it all (or at least in large part) to mindfulness and its cousin hygge. And now these two methods of slowing down, calming down, and living in the moment are helping to keep me sane during isolation, as well.

I used to have a hard time understanding the concept of mindfulness. People would describe mindfulness as living in the moment, but when I heard the phrase “living in the moment” I would usually think of the people who use it to justify their reckless decisions made without regard for the consequences to themselves or others. However I’ve learned that living in the moment has nothing to do with recklessness or carelessness, but is something entirely different. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment, and to do that means letting go of two things — the past and the future.

The Past is History

I’ve always hated sappy platitudes about the past being in the past — it’s a part of us, and a part of how we got to where we are. A lot can also be learned by examining the past, but over my lifetime I have also come to realize that 20/20 hindsight does not exist. The idea behind 20/20 hindsight is that we have clarity because we…