Lately I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve learned these last six months. I hate the pandemic and the loss of life, loss of jobs, and loss of stability it has brought to the world. To those it has not hurt physically or financially it has most definitely hurt mentally. Everyone is struggling in some way, some people way more than others, and I’d wish the pandemic away in a heartbeat if I could. But it’s real and it has made an impact on my life. While some of those impacts are negative, I’ve been shocked to see how many of them are positive. There’s changes I’ve made and habits I’ve developed that I hope to keep up long after the world has returned to normal. I think finding positives in the midst of hardship is a very powerful exercise, so I wanted to share my 5 unexpected positives to come from Corona with you.
1. I’ve slowed down
Those who know me know I’m always juggling six things at once, running from appointment to appointment, and just generally a busy person. I joke with Josh that I now live the life of a retiree, minus the fabulous retiree community in Florida with pool aerobics classes and walks by the ocean. I do so much less in a day. I used to call friends and family in the car on the way to places because it was my free time for the day. Now having a Zoom call with friends and family feels like a big event for the day.
As an Enneagram 3, I measure a lot of my self worth on my productivity. I used to feel like I had to do all the things to really be doing something and to be being productive. Now I find that I feel productive by doing simple everyday things. My frame of reference for busy has shrunk, and I love it.
2. I’ve prioritized my mental health
This is an area of my life where I’m actually thankful for the pandemic. Pre-pandemic I didn’t spend near enough time taking care of my mental health. I think I was in denial about how stressed I was and then was too busy to really notice. I swept a lot of anxiety under the metaphorical rug. The thing with mental health is that not addressing it usually ends up making it a lot worse. I am so thankful the pandemic forced me to really sit with my feelings, and feel the overwhelm so I could realize I needed to go back on antidepressants and prioritize meditation, time in nature, and daily acts of unwinding.
3. I’ve prioritized my physical health
This one goes hand in hand with mental health and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Pre-pandemic I was always short on time. Now I have an abundance of it. I get more sleep than I ever have in my life. Like for the first time since I was a kid I’m finally not shorting myself on sleep and it feels amazing. I also went from very inconsistent workouts to working out at least four to six times a week. I’ve needed to prioritize sleep and exercise for a long time. Those feel like two big wins to come out of all this crazy.
4. I find pleasure in simple things
This will probably sound dumb, but I get so excited to go and sit outside in my hammock every day. My husband and I love to watch the birds and bunnies in our backyard. We go for walks around our neighborhood and have fun chatting about nothing, running through sprinklers, and just being in the moment and taking in the beauty around us. Sometimes it feels like we’re living life of a bygone time (with the modern perks of the internet and Netflix to keep us from ever getting too bored, and Uber Eats and Instacart to deliver our groceries and favorite restaurant foods right to our door) and I honestly love getting to experience it.
5. I’m thankful for the past decisions I’ve made
This feels like a hard one to put into words, but I feel like the pandemic has made everyone very reflective. And while I’ve noticed a lot of areas I needed to work on and address (IE: slowing down, relaxing, sleeping, workout out, finding joy in the little things, etc.), I also realized a lot of personality traits and decisions in my life that I’m so glad happened just the way they did.
I picked the best life partner. I truly couldn’t wish for someone better to be stuck in the house all day every day with. While I wish I was near an ocean, I love our house and our neighborhood and the decisions we made in life to have us living here when the pandemic happened. I’m glad I got jaw surgery and LASIK when I did so I now can life my life without having to worry about orthodontist appointments or having to struggle with contacts or a mask fogging up my glasses during quarantine. I’m so glad I’ve done so much traveling, both domestically and around the world. It has filled me with moments and memories I can relive in my mind.
I feel like life is a mixture of loving yourself and wanting to change and improve things about yourself. While there is always room for improvement, and I have had some big things I’ve needed to tackle during quarantine, I genuinely like myself and the path in life I’m on. Having your regular life come to a standstill makes you take a hard look yourself in the mirror. I’m not surprised to find that I absolutely love my life. And I can’t wait to get back to it, just hopefully a little wiser, and live it a little more purposefully.
Questions of the Day: What have you been thankful for lately? What’s something you no longer take for granted?