Finding Peace within a Pandemic
Okay, time to address the elephant in the room, quarantine. There have definitely been parts of quarantine that have challenged me. Loneliness, boredom, isolation. Feelings we have all become very accustomed to while practicing social distancing. To my surprise though, I’ve been okay, maybe even better than I was doing before.
This semester I had a tough course load, a part-time job, and an internship. I tried to go to the gym 5 days a week and go out whenever any of my friends wanted to. I was managing, I guess. I did accomplish most of those things, my grades didn’t slip. I wasn’t really sleeping though. I was anxious and felt like I always had something else I needed to be accomplishing. I found ways to cram even more things into my schedule, like doing homework between workout sets. I was on overdrive. And then... we were sent home.
I stopped working and interning. I couldn’t go to the gym or see my friends. So amidst the chaos of living through a pandemic, I felt peace. I’ve been sleeping eight hours almost every night now. I still do my schoolwork and exercise. I try to call my friends and family regularly. And the pressure I felt has subsided. Social distancing gave me the gift of time.
Covid-19 has been really hard for a lot of people. People are losing loved ones or are scared for their families. People are struggling without their normal support systems. This is why I am not writing to discount any of that, nor advise that you should. I am instead saying that this experience forced me to learn about myself. I learned that I was truly overworking myself this semester, and it was not sustainable. I learned the power of free-time and how impactful it is on mental health.
Although I will return to school in the Fall, I will need to be easier on my expectations for myself. Whether that means working less hours, going to the gym fewer days, even just saying no to plans with friends once in a while to catch up on sleep. I learned that I need to restructure my priorities. I can only think of describing this feeling as the first time where time is abundant. I am not cramming tasks into my schedule at the cost of an hour of sleep. I can do what I need to do, both in terms of productivity and for myself.I really did not know what I was missing. I have learned to be comfortable spending time with myself, which is something I used to fear and avoid. So I guess my advice, amongst the pain and hardship of Covid-19, try to learn about yourself. See what you like and what you don’t. What your strengths are and where you want to grow. For now maybe just be aware of them. One day, we will return to life as we knew it, so try to find some self-reflection to bring back with you.
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