For me, as with most people, coronavirus has been dominated by a sense of isolation and loss. I was already living overseas far away from my friends and family in a country where I don’t speak the language, at least not fluently. The restrictions are stricter here, we aren’t allowed to leave our property apart from one person per household going to the shops per day. So the isolation and homesickness has been heightened. There is a loss of control, loss of normality, loss of certainty. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this. I have felt strangely removed from the fear of my loved ones getting sick now that they are all isolating. There was a period at the start where my parents weren’t taking it as seriously as I’d like but now I feel (maybe naively) safe. So the main thing for me has been the isolation.
We are all facing different struggles, some more dramatic than others but all just as important. There seem to be two extremes. Some people are facing more to juggle with kids at home and work that perhaps also needs to be done from home. And then there are the people with too little to do, too much time to think, too much solitude. Probably everyone is experiencing more stress in different ways. Each might long for the other’s circumstances, but it just proves that too much of anything is a bad thing.
The challenges that are present in everyone’s life are magnified now. I have been thinking that for better or for worse coronavirus has highlighted things that were already present but now seem to be magnified. Whether that is relationship issues, mental health issues or broader sociopolitical issues. It seems there is nowhere to hide.
Your question “How will you choose to write this part of your story in time?” struck me. As someone with who has battled depression in the past, I can see the potential to go downhill again which is scary. I have been using every self care tool I know. Exercising, staying busy, journaling, meditating, sleeping, calling friends and family. My goal is to use this time to practice becoming more resilient. Because what better circumstances to learn from than these. I am having to learn to let go of control, to accept uncertainty and most importantly to take one day at a time. Some days are just about getting through, with tears and phone calls home and that’s ok too. But my hope is that one day I will be thankful for the lessons that I learnt in this season.
Something that Brene Brown said recently that stuck with me was that because this crisis is lasting longer than average, for example such as a natural disaster, people are getting burnt out. In the first week or so we run on adrenaline as we all jump into our various styles of coping. But as the weeks wear on, we may burn through our reserves and become more and more tired. If there was one thing that I wish I could tell everyone it is to prioritize your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing now more than ever, especially if you are in a helping role of caring for others. It can be easy to let it slip and prioritize the needs of others over our own but if we are going to get through this with love and grace then we need to respectfully put ourselves first, whatever that looks like for you. Then we will have more love and energy to give to others.
We will get through this, I hope without too many lives lost. I hope also we will perhaps emerge with a greater sense of appreciation for how much we all need each other and how great ‘normal’ can be.
Thank you Ella, Mind Balance Cafe https://mindbalancecafe.com/