This entry was originally written April 28, 2020 for a local women's empowerment magazine's health and wellness section. I came across it recently - over a year later - and found it still very applicable! I invite you to take a read and share your thoughts if you feel guided to.
What an experience to be living during these times.
COVID-19, a virus that has turned into a global pandemic, has affected the world in more ways than anything else in our lifetime.
The whole world has shut down.
All non-essential services have been mandated to close. Social distancing has been enforced with heavy fines and a forced quarantine. Schools have closed and most people are out of work. Borders have been shut down and people have been forced to stay inside in isolation. Confirmed cases are nearly doubling each day and the death tolls continue to rise.
It is enough to cause a lot of fear.
How do we make sense of it for ourselves or for our children? How will we make ends meet as businesses or self employed people? How do we make sure every prenatal visit, every doctor appointment and every trip to the grocery store is safe? Even if we are armed with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, gloves and face masks - will that be enough?
What if these questions are not really the questions we should be thinking about?
What if we can not control this situation? It has become clear the world has an agenda of it's own, and we have no say in it. What if all this worrying is a coping mechanism, to try and control something that we simply can not control?
This pandemic has forced our entire world to a dead stop. There is nothing we can do to stop that.
So, what can we do?
Ironically, the most powerful thing we can do is surrender.
Know that the world is going through a change - and everyone in it is changing at the same time.
How can you use this time effectively to facilitate growth?
Sit, think and reflect.
We can ask ourselves reflective questions, such as:
What were we doing before that was not working?
What could we have done to better prepare ourselves for an unexpected situation like this?
What will we do differently in the future?
What have we done right that we can continue doing?
What have we done wisely that has lessened the burden of this pandemic?
We can even challenge ourselves to dig a little deeper:
What have we been putting off?
What have we been saying we cannot do because we have no time?
Now we have all the time in the world, what will we do with it?
Who is the most vulnerable, and how can we be a beacon of hope to them, despite our own insecurities?
We should ask these questions lovingly. Let us not fall into condescending thought and speech by saying, "If you don't come out of quarantine with a new skill or hobby, you have wasted your time."
If some of us use this time for reflection, for relaxation, or simply doing nothing at all. This is our time to re-set, re-charge and do what we wish. If it is taking some of us a little longer to find the motivation to accomplish certain tasks, there is no shame in that.
A time like this could have never been predicted, and each one of us will approach it in a different way, none of which are wrong.
Some of the more important questions we can ask ourselves are:
How is our mental health today? Isolation can be very triggering for some. How have we been getting by with social distancing and staying home? A simple phone call may be all that is needed to lift the spirits. If we have a home we can stay in, we are still considered one of the lucky ones.
This is undoubtedly a difficult time, especially mentally and financially. However, it is also a time of growth, and something new and better will come out of it. Whether it is simply a different way of thinking or a different way of doing things, there are lessons to be learned and the whole world is learning at the same time. Something beautiful will come out of all this chaos. The world and all those that dwell in it will emerge anew.
In the meantime, take a moment to look around. There is a lot of positivity being shared through social media, neighbors stepping up and communities coming together. Even though we are in forced isolation, we still have food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and a good internet connection to keep us company.
We can all practice having a thankful heart through mindfulness. It can be as simple as 5 minutes in the morning, before getting up and starting our day. We can challenge ourselves to start by listing 10 things we are grateful for. We do not have to kneel, we can lay still in bed. Before our minds starts to wander, I challenge each of us to try and fill it with 10 words of thanks.
We have a lot to be thankful for, even during these times. There is always a silver lining. It simply comes down to our perspective.
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Thank you for reading!