I got through the first few months, mostly unscathed. I got through my workshops. Homeschool is done (Thank the Gods!) and I have “free time” again. Only I find myself struggling to enjoy my free time. Things I’ve found pleasurable aren’t satisfying. Unless I’m out in the woods, or by the fire, or doing something I’ve not done in over a year…
Wait. Say that again. Doing some things I haven’t done in over a year.
That’s the “A-ha!” moment I had. Like most people who chose to sacrifice some personal freedom in order to help reduce Covid-19 numbers, I upped my time with certain things: Internet, and gaming. Journaling, even art and writing. Staying in the same room, day in and day out. Rarely leaving the house. Life was...is stale. I was stagnant, lacking motivation and inspiration because my mind was too used to all of these negative emotions that were clouding my every day.
When I realized that’s what was going on, it made me feel better. It wasn’t just me, it was a symptom of a sort of trauma that I feel a lot of people are going through. As if on cue- NPR released this article, and I found it poignant. While it's not the be-all, end-all of the problem, and could probably use a more deeper conversation, I found the three practices mentioned to be helpful. Share some appreciation. Take an awe walk. Listen to nature.
But I also think it’s ok to change things up a little. Get off the internet more (And that’s something I never thought I’d say!), game less, go out and hike, camp, garden, enjoy nature- read more outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air. These are all things on my current “how to stay sane over summer vacation” plan, and in many ways a part of my "self-care and healing" plan. I know I need to meditate more, something that I haven't been doing as regularly as I used to, and journaling- again, something I enjoy doing but fell out of practice in the last few months.
This state also feels like a message from the divine- whatever deity you work with, or the universe as a whole, that a change is needed. This can be a change in scenery, routine and maybe even spiritual practice. I know my plan for the Autumn is to paint my meditation/office space and rearrange it because after a year of existing here, it needs a healthy change to reflect something new.
And I do wonder if what I experience is based on caution. Am I afraid that I'm diving in too fast, too recklessly and that if something happens, like another lockdown, would I come crashing down because I placed myself too high?
I feel like I’m not alone, just based on conversations I’ve had with friends. I feel so many of us are feeling the same way, as if we are stuck and stagnant and unsure why. The biggest thing I hear is “things are returning to normal, and I don’t understand why I’m feeling like this.” And the answer is because our lives were thrown out of whack the past year, and life simply doesn’t return to normal after such events, unless you are incredibly resilient or you simply never cared to begin with. You are feeling with weight of trauma and emotional baggage because you cared, and because you feared.
So take things one step at a time now, self care and find meaning in life. Stop and smell the flowers, so they say, and find joy in the simple things. Go out and listen- you might hear the answer you are looking for. And you might just begin to feel happy again, and find your new normal.
*If your thoughts or actions are self-harming or harming others, please seek help from therapist or counselor!
**If you like my articles, please consider buying me a cup of coffee! It helps keep me going and adding new resources for my readers!