Just like we have to rebuild a home after a storm, we also need to rebuild our bodies and minds after we withstand an emotional storm that has taken its toll on us. This is where I find myself right now. The state of the world this past year has really put me through the ringer- both emotionally and physically. The Global pandemic has affected so many of our lives, and although I am one of the lucky ones who still has my job, my empathetic personality has me feeling drained and hopeless in my desire to help those around me.
Being stuck at home for months on end, attempting to work full time, help my children with their school work, keep up on household chores, and attempt to stay on top my emotional and physical wellbeing? I found it absolutely impossible to juggle it all. If you are anything like me, something had to give. In my case, I let my personal wellbeing fall to the wayside. I began to let my body go stagnant. I sat at my desk for hours on end working, moved to the table to help my children with their school work, went back to the desk to work some more, and then eventually made it to the couch to relax and watch some tv. On nice days, we made it outside to enjoy the weather, where I found myself a comfy chair and an alcoholic beverage.
After all, during a pandemic we all deserve to relax whenever possible, right?
But the habits I was creating for myself were not serving me well. I gained the “COVID-19”, let my anxiety reach to all time high levels that required an increase in my medications, and felt the unhappiness within myself reach a new high. I was miserable.
In the last few weeks, I realized I needed to change. I needed to let go of these negative habits I had created, I needed to work on developing new ones that would serve me better to rebuild myself into a version I would be proud of. I could continue down this path of destruction and be miserable, or I could pick up the pieces and rebuild my life into one I would be proud to share with the world. One that would be filled with joy, health, and the ability to help others in a way I was not capable of before.
Right when I decided to make some changes, and start rebuilding myself, I got sick.
It has been an uphill battle because a month ago I was diagnosed with Covid. And after a month, I am still experiencing symptoms and have yet to receive a negative test. It has been so hard to try and focus on bettering myself and my mental health while dealing with the effects of this virus. Being stuck in bed isolating from my family for two weeks helped me to lose a couple of pounds, but otherwise my physical health was declining so badly that it took a huge toll on my mental health.
I ended up in the ER twice in the last month due to unrelenting chest pain and shortness of breath. Now my heart rate still skyrockets from just a short walk to the bathroom. And don’t even get me started on the racing heart that wakes me up in the middle of the night. I do know that I have had it easier than others- I was sent home both times I went to the hospital after tests showed that my lungs were fine. Somehow I managed to not spread it to anyone I was in contact with, even my husband and son that took care of me during the first two weeks (and even still today when my body can do nothing but rest). My daughter unforutnately tested positive too, but was asymptomatic luckily.
So now that the worst is behind me (hopefully), how do I get myself back to that place I am proud of? The place where I am happy, fullfilled, and a good example for my kids? On the days when my body is still tired and healing, how do I work on bettering myself?
Well, for me it has been reading and practicing my gratitude to keep myself from staying in a negative mindset. Too often we see what others have, or feel so badly for our current situation, that we fail to recognize the good around us.
This has been my list of gratitude that I am focusing on, instead of letting my poor health get the best of me.
- Getting to spend extra time at home with my family.
- Watching my kids learn to play together without fighting (as much).
- Getting to take naps and rest so that my body can heal.
- The health of my family and friends that have helped to take care of us during our quarantine.
- Getting messages and calls from family memebers I haven’t spoken to in a year to check on me.
- Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee!
- Fuzzy socks and warm blankets.
- Getting to work from home so that I didn’t have to take an entire month off of work.
Some items on my list may be small, but focusing on the little things in my life every day help to keep me in a positive mindset. If we only focus on the “big” things in life that we are thankful for, we miss so many opportnities. Seeing my kids smile, finally being able to snuggle them to sleep, big hugs that I missed while isolated for two weeks… these are all things that you don’t realize how important they are until you have to go without them for a period of time. Especially when you don’t know how long until you will get them again.
I still have a long way to go until I am where I want to be, but until my body can keep up, I will continue to focus on my mind. Our mental health is so important, especially now when the state of the world is so uncertain.
This pandemic has put so many of us in a bad place, and I pray that our communities can recover and find joy in each day, no matter what it brings.