2020 has been a lot.
It’s been a lot between the pandemic and how to cope with social isolation. And despite the huge upheaval of how we live our lives, it is important to take the time to acknowledge that this is a tremendous time of stress for everyone.
With that in mind, there have been a lot of articles and blogs about how to make use of this time by either forming some habit. Or even worse, pressuring people to push themselves. That if you’re not using this time to learn 15 languages and become a gourmet baker, you’ve failed to use this time to the fullest.
I’ve got another take on this entire situation. Which is: It is good enough that you are just alive.
That’s it. No hot take, no additional statement. It is enough that you are alive and continue to exist during this time.
I will give you 10 things to consider enriching yourself that should be an additive or something to consider loving yourself during this period.
Accept where you are
This can be a hard thing to do depending on your personality and outlook on life. For people who are used to making business deals face to face, or whether you’re an extrovert and now working from home or a parent caring full time for your children – it is tremendously difficult and you can’t expect yourself to cope the same way that you used to.
Things aren’t the same, and it’s ok to acknowledge that.
I had gotten a job and then lost it because I wasn’t able to keep up the pace that was accepted of me during this time. I and my spouse have had a sudden breaking in our communication, and he’s no longer living in our home. It started just after the pandemic struck.
People are responding to this in unusual, unpredictable and unprecedented ways to unprecedented levels of stress.
It’s important to see things for as they are and not what you want them to be. I do not understand why Mark left – they left me with a note on my bedside table and that’s all I’ve heard from him in months. And I have to be ok with the fact that it happened and that what’s going on means he’s in pain. That I’m not meant to walk with him down the road that he is on.
All I can do is believe that things will get better, that I will find gainful employment and that he will come home to me. In the meantime, all I can do is stop fighting the tide.
These are important skills to learn to love yourself after this period is over and this will end. Nothing lasts forever and the only things you can be sure of in life is Death and Taxes. This too will pass, but it is possible to love yourself amid it. I promise.
Accept your feelings
It is a complex time, with a lot of complex feelings and emotions surrounding everything.
Here is a list of emotions ok to feel:
- All of them
I mean it. All of them. All the pain, loneliness, anger, fear.
Maybe you’re going through periods where this has been great for you. You feel motivated and driven so you wouldn’t have experienced if you hadn’t had this time to yourself. But you feel guilty in sharing that because of everything else that is happening.
Letting your emotions flow is an important and healthy part of emotional and personal growth.
There is a lot to go through, especially if you suffer from any form of disability. There would be a lot of unresolved feelings about walking away from work because of a disability than when the pandemic happening, work moving towards working at home. There is a lot of pain and anger – particularly in the disability world, and it’s understandable. For people like us who have always been taught that there is so much that we couldn’t do from home or things that required office time that is now standard – really hurts.
So be kind to the people around you, we all deserve extra consideration and care with how we feel at the minute.
Connect with People
Connecting with people, regardless of who they are or where they’re at, is exceptionally important like this. This can be tremendously isolating and confusion. Reaching out and being supported by the people who care about you is essential to keeping yourself afloat.
I know how hard this can be, especially when you feel like the world has abandoned you. I’m minus family, a lot of my friends, and my husband during this period. It is the most socially unsupported I’ve felt during one of the hardest periods of my life.
If it hadn’t been for the community I found on Twitter and TikTok and a stellar medical team, I know that this journey would be impossible for me to undertake on my own.
If you feel like no one understands or that no one loves you, let me take the time to tell you I love you. I love you. We may never meet and I may never be an active part of your life, but I am here to tell you you have a purpose. You still have a lot to give to the world and this universe and you will find your way.
Self Care – and not the cheesy kind!
While self-care can come as face masks and manicures, I want to talk about the more practical side of self-care. Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” if you are on the preserving side of that self-care side – that is ok.
Here are some practical self-care methods and practices you can take:
- Getting out of bed. I’m serious, it is a colossal achievement.
- Bonus points if you can move downstairs or to an alternative place.
- Bonus points if you can put on some deodorant or other nice smelling products!
- Brushing your teeth
- Bonus points if you can floss or use mouthwash.
- Eating a piece of fruit
- Bonus points if you can do that more than once
- Stepping outside. I mean literally sticking your head out of a window or stepping outside your front door.
- Bonus points if you can walk down your road and back.
- Cuddle a pet
- If you don’t have a pet – self soothe, that’s comforting to you hugging a teddy, wrapping yourself in a blanket.
These are all things you can do to soothe your senses or preserve your health where you are at the moment, doing this – even one of them. These are all forms of self-care and you should be proud of the steps you can take to take care of yourself.
No one wants to see my house at the moment, and I mean nobody. I’ve painted my walls many colours, it’s not well blended, I’ve written profanities on the walls. All in the name of creative expression.
I’m serious. The first thing you see on my wall are the words:
“ Do not ask me if I’m gay, straight or whatever. I identify as a fucking threat.” – @lightboxgnome (https://www.tiktok.com/@lightboxgnome/video/6802270158644579590)
While it might not be possible for you to paint your walls or write profanities on your walls, it is still very important to have an outlet. It’s also important that for this process you create a space devoid of judgement.
Now, isn’t that a thing that is easier said than done right?!
I spent a lot of my time trying to create my art and things, but being too crippled by fear allowing myself the space to make mistakes. But I’ve incorporated art into my life in a way where I’m not creating art, but I’m experiencing it.
I have switched my focus from perfectionism and outcome to one of mindfulness. How will feel about how this paintbrush feels in my hands, how does the paint feel when I touch it, what does the wall feel like? Is it hot or cold? What colour do I want? What will it feel like when I put it on the wall, will it feel different?
Journaling is such a loaded term in the self-care community, isn’t it? It’s sometimes described as a cure-all to what ails you. Well, while I can’t promise that it will be a cure to what you’re going through, what I can say to you is that it can provide perspective.
There is no wrong way to journal.
You can use a guided journal that has prompts in it; such as our Pain Journal for pain management or The Happiness Planner that have more guided walkthroughs of what to expect. Paperchase also has a variety of reflecting journals available to go through depending on what you wish to focus on.
But it could be as easy as grabbing an unused notebook or journal to write in. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it can be an old school notebook or a spiral-bound jotter pad. The most important thing to do is to get down your thoughts about your day in the best and easiest way to do so. That feels right for you.
That is ultimately the most fundamental thing in all of this, is to get to a stage where things fit into place and you can love yourself the way you need to be loved. There is no time limit on it, just keep doing what you can in the most authentic way you know how to.