Not another article on pandemics! Aren’t we sick of this? Not going to lie, as an introvert I may not have minded all the quiet time and isolation at first but even for me this is dragging on.
Discussing pandemics: I read an article back in 2005 about the 1918 Influenza and it discussed scientists predictions of another pandemic, how they occur, and how lethal they can be. There were little threats here and there, aka we remember the Swine Flu, but we seemed to always come out the other side rapidly. It felt like we were invincible.
2020 has altered all of our lives greatly, no matter where we live. Of course, some of us greater than others, but we still can’t get away from it entirely. In fact, the numbers now are higher than they have ever been right now.
We know all of this now, I’m sure you’ve read and reread countless articles that say the same thing. We know so much about the word quarantine than we ever had. “Social distancing” is a new concept we’ve had to learn. How are you coping?
It may have been a shock initially, but we saw people rise to the challenge and put into practice the guidelines from health professionals. We were eager for it to end and so we were doing our best, but it’s dragged on longer than we may have initially thought. I remember reading “Summer 2020 cancelled”.
Did you have plans and dreams that were cancelled because of this pandemic? I can tell you how it has affected my life. In short, my husband and I lost out on a large contract, which ended our living arrangement put on by our workplace. I was planning a trip to Finland, where my family is from… I was also planning on using the experience from the said job (that now cancelled) to hopefully aid us in applying for construction volunteering in international locations. I really had my eyes set on these goals.
What happened instead? We had to move, we crashed with family, we had to find new work, moved provinces (equal to moving to another State), and start life all over again in the middle of a pandemic. I’ve missed family, whom it’ll be a year since I’ve seen very soon (I am glad we somehow made trips to see both sides of our family in February right before everything went sideways).
This is not my private pity party however… I had my moments, but I learned to adjust my thinking and make the best of this time and my new circumstances. How can we do that?
1. Clear your head outside. When I’m in nature, I see so much peace. The birds aren’t wearing masks or social distancing, it sounds silly but out there I’m reminded that there are still some things right in the world and it’s going to be okay. Get out and breathe the fresh air if you can, find a path, a lake, some trees and go. I don’t let the cold weather or snow stop me either.
My friend, who lives in a dense city still makes time for walks to the lake nearby and she’s been finding it really grounds her. She’s actually been doing a photo blog and including the amazing wild life she’s been seeing right in the city (a snowy owl, mink, just to name a few). If you want to see here, it may provide some inspiration and motivation to explore your area.
2. Exercise is so helpful to improve your mindset. My husband swears by exercise to improve his mental health because as he explains, during a hard workout your body is just focused on getting oxygen so all of the things you’re worrying about have to take the backseat while your body is in focus mode. I find it helps if I have some fun music because I’m not always motivated, and now after setting a routine by body craves the movement.
3. Keep a routine. I feel better when I’m showered, I do my hair and makeup and put on something besides my sweatpants. You feel more alive and ready to take on the day. Not going to lie- when the day is done those sweatpants are coming back on but it’s all the more rewarding this way.
4. Stay productive. I’m not seeing as many friends before, we have more evening and weekend time and there’s only so much Netflix and reading one can do (or is there?). There is no better time to take on a new skill like learning an instrument, a language or hobby than the present. The nights where my husband and I play music together are among my favourites even if it takes a little motivation to get it started. I’ve also enjoyed DuoLingo for making language learning entertaining and rewarding. What do you like?
5. This last point I really love, and that is looking out for others. We know there’s more happiness in giving than receiving. Taking the time to reach out to others who may be struggling or isolated takes our minds off of ourselves, and makes us feel good in the process. At the beginning I was enjoying my own pity party until a young girl I’d met before reached out to me to tell me she’d been having a tough time with her family. It was actually hard for me to call at first because I felt so low myself I didn’t know how I could muster up any encouragement for someone else but as my empathy grew listening to her it came naturally. I hung up the phone with my own situation in proper perspective realizing I’m not the only one struggling. Can you think of someone who could use a call, a card or email these days?
These are just SOME of the things that have kept me going. I’m also big on spiritual pursuits because it fuels my need to find purpose and answers. I also enjoy a good laugh, which is also good medicine. Thankfully my husband is a goof and I have some crazy friends only a video call away.
This pandemic has lasted longer than we planned and perhaps our plans or goals have had to change or wait. The amazing thing is people the world over are all experiencing this at the same time. None of us are alone, even if we feel like it in our isolation. Aren’t we thankful that this time around, we have technology to still connect us together?
I’m really proud of you for making it this far through 2020. If you have made sacrifices for the health and safety of others, thank you. If you have felt more anxiety or depression, I feel you. If you have felt like quitting and stayed, I applaud you and I’m cheering “Keep going!”. If you are disappointed your plans have changed, I hear you.
You are not alone.