Last December, for my very first post here on the blog, I shared my goals for 2020. At that time, I was feeling really positive and motivated for the year ahead. I had some exciting plans, especially for this blog, and couldn’t wait to put them all into action.
But a couple of months in, coronavirus happened and caused a massive distress all over the world. Lockdowns were put into effect, travel bans were implemented and businesses had no choice but to shut down.
It has become, without a doubt, tough and challenging for many of us, myself included, to navigate our lives during this time. This pandemic has tremendously affected work, travel and the daily life of everyone, and we can only hope that this will be over soon.
We’re all doing our best to get through this, but below, I share how it has affected me personally and how I’m coping with life during the pandemic.
The impact of the pandemic on me
I’m gonna go ahead and say first that despite the turn of events, I’m still privileged. Compared to many, I’m fortunate enough to say that I still have it good. But, as I’m also human, it’s still not easy. Like everyone else, the situation has still affected me in many ways I did not expect. Some are about:
- TRAVEL: The first big hit. One where I was supposed to see my girlfriend again after 4 months and finally go to my dream destination, South America. But with the uncertainty up to now, it’s hard to know and even plan when we can do both of this again.
- WORK: Before it even picked up, my workload had dropped to almost none. I entered the world of freelancing at the beginning of the year and after finally getting clients, because of the situation, I quickly and sadly lost most of them.
- MOTIVATION: With travel playing a huge part in my life and where I invested a lot of my energy to (like planning for big things for the blog), it was disheartening having to reconfigure everything. I felt lost. Travel was the thing that made me genuinely happy but for now I have no choice but to find another direction for myself or focus on another passion.
- MENTAL HEALTH: Something that’s already quite tough for me to manage everyday but has now been a real challenge. The uncertainty, the helplessness, being at home, having too much time to think… Though we’re all doing our best to survive and remain positive, sometimes it’s just hard.
How I'm coping with life during the pandemic
I shared before 20 things to do at home during quarantine and these are basically how I busy myself lately so I don’t wallow in depression. But to dive more into how I cope mentally, here are some of the things that I do that I believe many should practice as well:
Although there was a time when I felt lost when it comes to this blog, I still did a lot of writing. Journaling really helps me calm down, so I make it a point to write even just a short entry for the day.
2. WORKING ON NEW PLANS
Since my plans for this year have gone out of the window, I’ve spent a lot of time working on new ones. And it’s not easy, but I’m trying to be flexible and open to what I have now and what’s possible given the current situation. I considered many other options for work, I re-thought the direction of this blog, I’m now working on EVERYKYND and I’ve made new plans with my girlfriend too. Still nothing solid, but this is already good for now.
3. ACKNOWLEDGING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
This is such an important thing during this time. Because sometimes, in our efforts to cope, we tend to push away or reject these emotions, but this only ends up just making us feel worse. So for me, I allow myself to feel these feelings when they come and later on, do something about them. By acknowledging these, I feel they won’t have much power over me too.
4. CONNECTING WITH NATURE
Being in nature affects our wellbeing. So though here in the Philippines we’re experiencing one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, I still find ways to connect with nature. We have a terrace where I spend most of my time, chilling, working, getting some sun or just listening to music. Indoors, I crack a window open to let some breeze and sunlight in. And now that the restrictions eased a bit, I can finally take walks around our area. To me, these really help the most when I’m feeling the “cabin fever” or the “quarantine fatigue”.
5. TALKING TO/SPENDING TIME WITH LOVED ONES
As social creatures, we need human interaction, so even though a few weeks of isolation may have seemed amazing, there comes a point when we’d crave social contact. And this, I find, is what I miss the most during quarantine. So especially when I feel low, I make sure to reach out to people around me. My best friend and I would talk on the phone for hours, even just to vent to each other, which actually helps! And my girlfriend too has always been there, constantly helping and assuring me that everything will be fine.
6. PRACTICING SELF-CARE
This is a time when we all need this the most. There are so many outside factors that make us feel overwhelmed or overstimulated, so for me, indulging in self-care is important. I meditate, read, put on a face mask, watch a lot of Netflix… I often do such things lately and I can’t imagine how it would be like if I don’t.
7. ALLOWING MYSELF *NOT* TO BE PRODUCTIVE
When lockdown first started, many would say that this is a great time to do the things you’ve been wanting to do – develop a new hobby, get back into fitness or work on a passion project – and this is what I said too! But then I realized, it’s hard to “make the most” of this time, because it’s such a difficult experience. For many of us, the emotional hurdles we’re going through right now are not setting us up for high productivity or performance.
Being productive is a coping mechanism, so if doing less or nothing is how you would feel better, then do so! Personally, I’ve come to accept that my mental health matters more, so especially when I feel overwhelmed, I try to not push myself. And by doing this, when motivation hits again, I’m able to do more.
It’s still a work in progress. But I’m grateful as I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at coping in this situation compared to when lockdown first started. Again, it’s still tough, and as time goes on and as we ease in to the “new normal”, there will still be more adjusting to do. But by looking inward – being kinder to myself, taking breaks and seeking help – I’m sure I’ll get through this.
How about you? How are you navigating your life during the pandemic?