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I am approaching my 50th year on Earth.
It has been an incredible ride so far, complete with all kinds of corkscrews and loops (and I’m certain there will be many more ups and downs ahead of me).
When the pandemic first began in March 2020, no one could possibly predict what would happen in the subsequent two years. So many things were flipped on its head; people had to pivot quickly and create a “new normal” for themselves.
Millions of people lost their jobs or were forced to be on temporary leave. The mental health of our planet became adversely affected by closures and lockdowns; it was such a catastrophic event that forced us all to take on a new existence. None of us were truly prepared.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say this: the pandemic screwed us all up. It robbed us of our humanity in so many ways. But while I was in lockdown, I did a lot of soul searching. Perhaps I wouldn’t have dug as deep had I not been “forced” into isolation like everyone else on the planet. But I uncovered some hard truths about myself, which I’d like to share with you.
Many of you may relate to my words. Some of you may not find any similarities in our stories at all. But overall, I think a large majority of you will find that my experiences resonate with you. After all, isn’t that what humanity is all about? Commonality? Bonding? Being empathetic?
Flip the switch
By trade, I’m a group fitness instructor at a state-of-the-art facility in Toronto. When the world went into its first lockdown in 2020, I knew that I had to keep myself busy and thriving during the nine months I was on temporary leave.
I didn’t make a steady income during that time, so I had to get creative. I “flipped the switch;” I took the initiative to offer live workouts on Zoom, Instagram, and Facebook. I kept myself moving during those nine months, and I made a commitment to continue striving for my goals, despite not being able to adhere to my regular training schedule.
In those nine months, I became a totally changed person. I transformed for the better. I became fitter than I’ve ever been in my 30-year career. My tolerance levels improved dramatically. I was no longer on edge. I became more sympathetic and humble.
And everyone around me noticed.
I took the proverbial “bull by the horns” and decided to make visible changes, for myself.
2020 was the year that I decided to finally “flip the switch.” I took an obviously awful situation and turned it around so that I could function at my usual pace without ever skipping a beat.
Everyone has stories to impart during lockdown that are relatable—many of which are centered around the home, new-found employment, creating activities/tasks to stay occupied and relieve boredom, and so on.
But one thing’s for sure—we were all forced to “flip the switch” for the last two years. And kudos to each and every one of you for taking on that incredible feat. It definitely wasn’t easy, but our resilience and tenacity kept us alive and thriving.
How to turn sh*t into gold
Did I get your attention with this directive?
In other words, how do we take a less-than-favorable situation and turn it into something worthwhile and great?
It’s all in our attitude. It’s all about perspective.
I know a ton of people who panicked when gyms shut down due to the pandemic. People were left flailing in the wind, without a “second home” to go to. Mental health started to suffer. People acted in ways they normally wouldn’t have. And believe it or not, that was normal.
It makes me feel sad to know that millions of folks suffered during these lengthy closures. We all felt more disconnected than ever before. Seeing people virtually was a literal lifeline for so many of us. Can you imagine if the pandemic began in the early 80s, when technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today? I think we’d all be in worse shape, and I shudder to think of the possibilities.
This is how I turned a sh*tty situation into a golden one:
>> I made a point of keeping in contact with my family and close pals several times a week by phone or video chat.
>> I exercised every day in some way to keep my mind and body active
>> I listened to music daily
>> I cooked healthy food
>> I watched a lot of comedy shows
>> I attended to household tasks that I’d put off for many months
>> I spent a lot of time in my backyard and enjoyed the simple life
>> I focused on self-care
You see? This is just a small list of the things I incorporated into my world during lockdown, and I became a more well-adjusted person because of it.
I came out of lockdown with a renewed sense of self, and I became more humble and grounded as well. To me, that’s a huge victory.