As we all descended into the first stay at home order in early 2020, little did I expect my life and perspectives to dramatically shift. From my position of being self-employed, living alone, and healthy, navigating the challenges of life came with a range of privileges that kept me isolated in a safe place with food and the Internet to keep me "distracted". Eventually the panic and confusion of the bigger picture broke and I was able to break out slowly from my time spent on the couch crocheting. With some friends who were in similar life stages (high five to all of us who went through covid break ups), we started this huge journey of self awareness and person growth I am so beyond thankful for. Over a year later, my endlessly busy life feels in control and I have never felt more joy and fulfillment than ever before.
01/ It's essential to rest and not be productive all the time. I experienced some major burnout before the Christmas rush and it was really hard to pull through. Taking time for yourself and your mind to decompress and rest is so vital for you to be present for yourself and those around you. I find it hard to sit still, but when I can sit and breathe alone for even five minutes, I feel revived and present in my mind and body.
02/ Have morning and nightly routines that excite you. When I was (mostly not working) during the first stay home order, the days got a little boring and repetitive. I found having things that got me excited in the morning and evening were things I could look forward to as time felt it stood still. Something so simple as sitting in my favourite chair with a book, trying out a new recipe, lighting some candles, and having a glass of tea became nourishing activities for me to zone out (while being completely off technology). I also tried out some new hobbies during this time and rediscovered my inspiration to create.
03/ Segueing from there, having books around you that you're excited to read is a great escape from daily life. I love wellness and spirituality books which challenge my thoughts and allow me to learn a few new things along the way. I think as adults, it's easy to stop being curious and learning new things once you're out of school so I've tried to be proactive in the information I'm taking in.
04/ Get off toxic social media that makes you feel bad about yourself in any way. Go through who you're following and see if those accounts post content that is really adding any value into your life. We are constantly bombarded with information and it's good to be on top of what's being seen on our screens. I got super into Tiktok and all the informative videos on therapy, needle punching, ceramics, and more, allowed me to learn and expand my mind, while also enjoying some of the hilarious content people out there are creating. Something great these platforms can do is remind us that we are never alone in our struggles. The sense of community is great in that respect.
05/ Being outside is so nourishing. It's never been something I was ever drawn to, and sometimes I do find hikes a bit boring, but it feels amazing being outside in the fresh sunlight. It's easy to stay cooped up inside for me and just let the days pass but when I finally get outside it feels amazing. I discovered my love of biking this time last year and haven't been able to put it down since. It gives you the serenity to let your mind wander while also getting places and having a solid workout. I also learned that when you stop moving your body really starts to get sore - that's not so fun.
06/ If there have been things you've wanted to do, take action on them and prioritize it. We all have unique dreams and desires we want to fulfill someday. Last summer I finally decided I'd learn to skateboard and it's been such a fun journey. So out of my comfort zone, but the thrill of gliding smoothly and finding your balance feels pretty satisfying. As we have seen, the future is quite uncertain, so why not take steps to do what will bring you joy?
07/ Community is vital to humans. We thrive on connection and unfortunately it's not always available to us in the ways we want it. Being single is wonderful, being in a healthy relationship is wonderful, being with your best friends or family is wonderful. I've come to really understand how important deep friendships are to me. Society tells us our romantic partner is supposed to be the most important person in your life - when truly all we really have, single or partnered, is just ourselves. Building a group of strong platonic relationships is so rewarding and has propelled me in incredible ways. I wouldn't be where I am now without any of them.
08/ Be gentle on yourself and others. Practice a lot of empathy and compassion. We are all uniquely experiencing this world shift and are all just trying to do our best. It's okay to say no to things and practice boundary setting for ourselves. I've always been a bit of a people pleaser and have learned it's wise to only do things you're comfortable with and if people truly care about you, they will respect and uphold your boundaries.
As we continue into spring and summer 2021, looking beyond the government mixed messages, let's continue moving through our lives and doing what feels right. Wisdom comes from life experience.