There’s not a day that I’ve woken up in the midst of this global pandemic and not been in complete shock that this is how things are. It blows my mind that this isn’t a dream—that I can’t snap my fingers or open my eyes, and everything will fizzle into nothingness and return to normal. It’s been one of the most intensely difficult times of my life, and I’ve had an intensely difficult past couple of years. The only difference between then and now is that I’d truly hoped, prayed, and believed in this year’s ability to draw good things my way and pull me up out of this seemingly inescapable period of stagnancy and frustration.
I have no choice but to hold faith that this year can still be that for me. I’ve had to show myself a lot of grace and teach—and reteach—myself how to be kind to myself. This doesn’t mean I’m excelling or that I’m even doing this as often as I should, but it does mean that in the midst of a bad mental health day or a downward spiral, I give myself space to acknowledge the fact that it’s not necessary for me to suffer and beat myself up about it. It’s also made me remember that all the things I’ve gone through in the past remain in the past, and even though at that time my life seemed unmanageable—and, at times, unlivable—I made it through.
We will make it through this. The most humbling lesson for many of us during this period is that time doesn’t have time for our plans. What had seemed like the perfect time to do something several months ago when we planned it is now being revealed as a bad time. However, I’ve been trying to train myself to see the fact that all of these setbacks, delays, rescheduled events, etc. is actually the best possible timing.
While not all of us are being given the time and space to slow down and tend to our mental health, overall wellness, and friendships/relationships, a great deal of us who are grappling with our inability to socialize or have parties or take a trip would do well to take the time given to us and turn it into something good for us.
Are you tending to your mental health? Are you consciously breathing? Are you meditating? Are you remembering to drop your shoulders and unclench your jaw while you write work emails? Are you making an effort to laugh? Are you journaling? Are you communicating with your loved ones, checking in on them, and being transparent about how you feel? Are you being kind to our essential workers as they work hard to make sure we are taken care of and comfortable? Are you being nice to yourself?
These are all seemingly little things we can do if we are a little more introspective and present in our bodies and our current experiences. The fact of the matter is that things will never—can never—go back to the way things were, but we lead the charge in determining how things are going to be.
Do we want to live in this temporary moment as if it’s the worst time in the world? Or do we want to try to make it the best time for us as we possibly can?