I know the title might sound unreasonable and totally crazy.
I mean, what the heck are you thinking, Jennifer?
I know the past year was awful, and I know how challenging it was to each and every one of us.
But I want to turn this around and show you the way I’ve been handling it for a while now. In the first lockdown, I had my annual vacation, so I kind of lived a part of the lockdown with everyone I knew and not as a doctor in the emergency department.
The silence was so deadly, it freaked me out—it even paralyzed me for a few days.
I didn’t know how to handle it. What to do? All I was thinking about was how to be productive and how to make the best out of my time.
I wanted to keep myself preoccupied, as I always do, and live in the chaos of the moment. I wanted to be able to accommodate for everything to keep myself busy from my “self”…make sense? Sounds familiar? Totally loco?
Well, this is how I began handling my time the first couple of days: jogging in nature, working out (remotely from home, of course), reading, studying, being up-to-date medically (especially about COVID-19 management and treatment), meditation, Netflix, and of course, excessive amounts of sleeping.
Then one day, I woke up, and it hit me like a giant slap in the face, “What if this was my last chance to get things right between myself and I? What if instead of mourning, being terrified of a virus, and nagging about not being able to do what I usually do, I make better use of my time, look within, and work on myself in the meantime?”
Thus began my journey to actually understanding myself a little bit more and enjoying the little things I never got to enjoy due to my fast-paced life, my never-ending tasks, and my extremely demanding working hours.
I tried meditation, yoga, and coloring. I started writing more; I got to know myself; I set goals on paper; I started seriously thinking and searching for what did and did not make me a better version of my old self; I started deciphering what I actually want in this life; I started understanding the meaning of “YOLO.”
I took a giant pause from the rush, allowed myself to breathe and relax (this is ironic, as breathing is a privilege with this pandemic and not a given right), didn’t do major things but think, and enjoyed the moment.
Basically, I enjoyed the free time that I haven’t had for a while now with the lifestyle I had created for myself. Most importantly, I opened myself up to the idea that the way I was handling myself and my life wasn’t ideal and could have been hurting me.
I’ve become calmer and much more aware of what my soul wants. I am writing more now and spending more time alone (comfortably). I stopped feeling lonely and started enjoying my own company instead. Don’t get me wrong, I always did, but I’ve reached a new level of peace, and I am gradually decluttering the ideas and thoughts that have been overcrowding my mind.
I am understanding the importance of a well-built friendship, as it is the first time that friendships are significantly tested, due to everyone’s sadness, frustration, and inability to put a mask on if feeling unwell or in need of a break.
I am understanding more how important it is to spend time with the family, listen to the parents, and enjoy every second, every smile, every shared thought, every cry, and every shared meal, even if it was through distancing, through a screen, or if lucky enough, live with a human touch here and there.
I am understanding how crucial it is to close unwanted doors and keep toxic people away, to say no, to put myself first, and to think about my physical and mental well-being before everyone and everything else.
How did I get here? For me, the answer was so simple once I thought about the trigger.
I realized that the situation around me is getting worse, the pandemic I am in has not reached its peak yet, a huge COVID-19 wave is currently hitting my country, and everything is seriously screwed up. You might already know it, but the only thing I am able to change is my perspective of things and the way I approach them.
I no longer see myself as a victim in this pandemic. I, on the opposite, see this as an opportunity for self-development, self-love, and self-healing. It’s my opportunity to appreciate the blessings I have, to pause and release the daily stress, and to restart my journey of fighting this horrid virus on the frontlines in the emergency department.
So stay home, stay awesome, stay fresh, stay motivated, stay relaxed, stay okay, stay connected to yourself and to your roots, and stay safe, everyone!