I haven’t had COVID, but like many people I sure have felt it’s side effects. Some people lost their sense of taste while others lost loved ones and all of us lost out on meaningful moments in our lives. And most certainly, we have all lost a part of ourselves.
I can’t remember the last time I laughed till I cried out of happiness, or the last time I felt carefree when being in public. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t fear a crowd or wonder how someone’s vaccination status might effect me and my loved ones. I have lost a big chunk of myself and my personality.
To just say it’s COVID related may be oversimplifying. You may argue I’m suffering from some mild form of depression. I don’t think I could dispute that. Depression has many shapes and is almost as unique as every individual. And yet, some common themes prevail. Like this feeling of having a constant gray (COVID) cloud above my head. So what can you do about it?
Here are three things you can do:
1. Accept You Can’t Do Anything
One of the hardest things to learn in life that a lot of things can’t be fixed and there is nothing we do about it. We just have to learn to sit with them. Learning to be in the present when it is unpleasant just seems like the most unnatural thing to do. It sounds like sitting in your own urine. But rather, it’s more like going for a long run to enjoy arriving at the end. Endurance is a part of life and we tend to forget that life can’t be positive all the time. Living through hardship is a big part of it. There is a reason we have so many words for negative feelings from guilt, frustration, anger, grief, dispair, to sadness but few for positive ones like happy, content, joyful. Finding peace in where you are will bring you a lot of comfort and peace. It’s hard enough to deal with the situation – you don’t also need to fight against how you are feeling.
2. Fill Your Time With Little Good Things
You won’t get to be able to get around this period of hardship so it’s time to figure out how you will get through it. The best advice I have is to fill it with things that cost you no effort but fill you with joy. So what if that means you spend hours watching TV or start eating chocolate every day. Keep the things small (because small rewards continuously work better towards our happiness than a big reward at once). So what if you gain weight or don’t pursue a hobby anymore or don’t see your friends for a couple of weeks. As the amazing musician Jose Gonzales says: Do what ever just to stay alive. Do what you need to get through today. Don’t worry about tomorrow, or even the next few hours focus on what will get you through right now. Nothing else matters. Here are some of my favourites for inspiration: A cup of tea & a cookie. Ted Lasso. Cookies & cream ice cream. Lazy 10-15min walks in the late evening. Only murderers in the building. Take away coffee with a friend. Keep it small, simple and frequent.
3. Learn To Love Napping
Whatever you are going through – it costs you a lot of energy. It wouldn’t be consuming you so much if that weren’t the case. Put some extra time aside to rest. You will feel your best once you rest. The healing powers sleep has are immense. It is not lazy to rest, on the contrary it is highly productive. Because in this time your body and mind are restoring themselves. They are dedicating their energy to fixing what’s inside instead of you taking the energy and putting it in other things such as work and chores. Instead you are dedicating the energy to yourself. The best thing we can do in life for ourselves and others is to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. If you are draing of your own energy- you will not put your best self out into the world. Learn to rest to tank up on your energy.
I know this sucks. But remember- you’ve been through the hardest day of your life already. You can do it again. Everything has an expiry date, even the bad things. Focus on what you can do to make it to the expiry date.