5 Changes I Made During Quarantine to Shift My Mindset
Hey! I know it's been a minute, there have been so many things going on since my last post. Life has really been happening. I've had many moments of not feeling motivated, hopeless, helpless, overwhelmed, and afraid for what the future may bring. To sum it all up, I didn't feel like I had anything important to say. From trying to navigate this new norm of working from home to dealing with the effects of the pandemic; On top of trying to understand and process the continuous injustices against blacks in America and how greatly this issue has impacted me and my community. It took me all this time to figure out what I wanted to write about for my next post. I didn't want to speak about something that wasn't relevant or didn't seem important. I wanted to be transparent and share all the emotions, feelings, and insights I have gained. I want to encourage others to be open about their thoughts and feelings. Also, to spark a thought-provoking conversation about the changes I've made during quarantine that helped me to shift my mindset.
At the very beginning of quarantine, I thought the idea of working from home would be amazing. I no longer had to pay for public transportation, I would avoid an hour-long daily commute into Manhattan, I would be saving money by not eating out, and I finally had the luxury of working from my living room; With all these perks came drawbacks; it seemed like the longer I worked from home the more difficult it became each day. From having more distractions to trying to be the ultimate “multitasker”. Like I was really trying to convince myself that I could clean my house, run errands, and work remotely all at the same time. It was all becoming a bit overwhelming, to say the least. The worst part was watching another senseless killing of a black person in America and still be expected to work at a normal capacity. I've never worked from home for this extended period of time. I don't think I even understood what the word pandemic meant until March, this was all new to me. Some days when I didn't have the energy mentally, emotionally, and physically I had to push myself to continue to meet deadlines, attend pointless meetings, and be forced to interact with my colleagues. After weeks of taking time to self-reflect as well as receiving insight from my amazing therapist. I realized that I needed to extend grace to myself. I needed to remind myself that it was ok to work at a slower pace and that I couldn't get everything done in a day, that waking up every day was a blessing. Also, that everything I was currently experiencing was normal and I wasn't the only person struggling. I shouldn't make myself feel worst by beating myself up for not wanting to attend meetings, not having the energy to speak to certain people, or even just laying in bed for a bit longer before starting the day. Not feeling bad about taking a longer than usual lunch break or even taking the day off. Even extending grace to myself when it came to putting out content for my blog. I didn't have the energy or passion to write because of how frustrated and heartbroken I was watching black people die at the hands of the police yet again. I became really angry and resentful and didn't want that to reflect in my writing at a time when people needed to be uplifted and encouraged. So, I made the conscious decision not to write until I had something worth saying that would have a positive impact. I’ve learned to treat myself kinder and to forgive myself for those moments that I didn’t practice extending grace.
Lead with Intention
I don't think I understood the importance of living with intention until now, I never really thought much of that word unless I was describing my dating life lol. But this word means so much more to me now than ever. It’s something about sitting at home with yourself for three months that makes you think and question what you're doing with your life and why. The who, what, where, when, and why became important to me. Do I feel fulfilled? If not, am I taking the necessary steps I need to live a more fulfilling life? Do I have any regrets? If so, what are some things I wish I could change and why? Was I living my life with purpose and passion? If I wasn't, what does that look like? The more I started to think the more I realized I wasn't doing anything in my life with intention. For the past serval years, I've been running in circles going nowhere. I was allowing societal, generational, social-economic, and peer pressure to dictate my decision-making regarding my life. I wasn't living my life with any intention; I was living my life according to my circumstances and thinking practical and logical about everything instead of taking a moment to think about what I truly wanted. Having some much time on my hands forced me to consider my new reality and how I wanted to map out my future. Now that I'm more self-aware, I want to be more intentional about all aspects of my life from my friendships, relationships, career, goals, and most importantly my legacy.
A bad habit I developed over time my therapist actually brought to my attention is I would consciously break myself down before building myself up. I would speak negatively about myself and would question if I was capable, reliable, or worthy of receiving certain acknowledgments. I began to question why would I speak so ill of myself. Why would I pick out all the negatives and never focus on the positives? I should be affirming and speaking life into myself, reminding myself that no matter the situation, if I truly wanted to make a change, I had the power to do it. I just needed to believe I could, even if I didn't have all the tools. Once I became aware of these habits, I started waking up each morning reciting positive affirmations, praying, and meditating about the changes I wanted to make and what was needed for it to happen. I experienced a time where I felt like I didn't have anyone around to help encourage me. To be honest, it wasn't that I didn't have anyone around, I wasn't willing to be open enough to share so I suffered in silence. In those moments when I chose to suffer in silence, I had to lean on myself; empower, and encourage myself. I began to dig deeper by trying to understand and how to identify my strengths and weaknesses, so I could take control and responsibility for my life and its direction. This helped me to embrace the parts about myself that I love and wanted to improve. Putting this into practice allowed me to shift my mindset about my weaknesses and change my perspective and view them as opportunities to grow. I am actively rebuilding my confidence and drowning out thoughts of inadequacy or self-doubt.
Experiencing the worst of times makes you appreciate the best of times. I think I can speak for everyone and say that our previous struggles don’t compare to our new reality. I remember at the end of February getting on a plane to visit my best friend in Atlanta and coming back still not thinking much of the virus. Little did I know that would be the last flight in 2020. If I knew then what I know now, I would have appreciated that flight so much more. Watching the news every day seeing people dying at alarming rates, lose their jobs, and not be able to afford the basic necessitates was heartbreaking. I began to appreciate and thank God for how grateful I was, grateful I still had a job, and that everyone in my mediate family was safe and healthy. One of my family members is an essential worker at a local funeral home, I remember her coming home some days feeling overworked and defeated because of the influx of deaths, they were unable to accommodate some of their potential customers because of the lack of resources and employees. Some days I would bring her lunch just to let her know she was appreciated and that I know her job wasn’t getting any easier. I made it my mission to reach out to all my friends especially those who were essential workers to check-in. Whether it was a phone call, picking up lunch, or sending an encouraging text message. We all needed a little light during this time. Moments like these allowed me to take a step back and express gratitude.
Utilize My Support System
Having a reliable support system during this time meant everything! I even had to incorporate more frequent therapy sessions throughout the month to make sure I didn’t go off the deep end. Don’t get me wrong, I also had my fair share of moments of being too afraid to reach out to my support system to talk about my struggles and be comfortable enough to check in to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. I couldn’t seem to come up with the right words to say or even figure out how to articulate myself so I wasn’t misunderstood. When I was able to acknowledge that I was suffering in silence; I decided to become more transparent. To my surprise, there were a lot of people that felt the same way as me. I remember having a conversation with a friend explaining how irritable and relentless I was feeling, and her explaining to me that I was probably suffering from cabin fever. I had no idea what it meant, and that it was a thing. Speaking to her helped me realize that so I began to try and figure out ways to overcome this. I started face timing my friends and family more often, I picked up reading and journaling more so that I could have a release. Knowing my support system was readily available whenever I needed them made this journey a lot easier and also taught me not to be afraid to reach out and ask for help. I feel like for some reason in the black community sometimes we view asking for help as a handout, which is not true. Asking for help or support is acknowledging that you can’t do it alone, and realizing the value of having a reliable support system or assistance to get through it. I think asking and seeking support should be normalized. Overall, if quarantine didn’t teach us anything, I think it reminded us about the value of a support system.
2020 was supposed to be my year, I had this whole vision of what I thought my year would look like and God was like sike lol. I set all these goals for myself and specifically when I wanted to accomplish them. Then Corona came, and a whole lot of other things happened in between that threw me off unexpectedly. Although I was completely thrown off by Corona, I feel like I gained more than I lost, I was given more time. When has our society ever been given the opportunity of more time? We were all forced to slow down and develop a new-found appreciation for life as we know it. I want to celebrate the fact that we were all still here and were able to adjust, adapt, and overcome. Life as we know it will never be the same again, I believe it will be better!
The Southern New Yorker