Before social distancing started, I had been hitting my stride in my job hunt, during recruiting cycles with some of the top PR agencies in North America. I was looking forward to my 2020 travel plans. I had finally signed up for a dance class to fix my two left feet. I was excited because this was the year I was going to reach another level of growth and tackle some of the things on my bucket list like, camping, learning to dance, and starting a social media account dedicated to Indian cooking.
Then Coronavirus hit Canada and at first it felt like a dream. The problem that had felt so far away across the world suddenly hit home. Initially I went into quarantine mode throwing myself into my hobbies thinking I could treat it like a staycation. Then two weeks passed, and I felt dread creep up. A new reality set in, this was not going to last just two weeks or a couple of months. Governments started hinting at life not going back to normal for much longer, in some news articles they even said two to three years. My stomach sank, “Should I just write off this year?” My goals and growth would be halted, but it’s okay, maybe 2020 is a write off for everyone.
Then thoughts started creeping in, my mood started to fluctuate, one day I felt fine, maybe even happy. The next day I didn’t feel like getting out of bed and my appetite became unstable. Some days I couldn’t stop eating and other days I barely ate. Certain things that did not normally bother me started irritating me. I felt annoyed at the pretty influencers with perfect makeup, the spring cleaners, the skill builders, and people working out at home. Everyone seemed to be handling this better, still managing to be productive. I felt inadequate.
I was not accustomed to having so much free time. I always had something going on whether that was school, work, or personal goals. I couldn’t recall a time when I had to sit alone with my thoughts for so long. I consulted my friends and found some of them were struggling with similar emotions, one even confessing she started crying while watching a YouTube video during a scene showing wind chimes. I realized the problem is that many of us have never stopped to sit with our thoughts, to gain a deeper understanding of our emotions. We seek control through external factors, filling our schedules with a long to-do list, rather than turning inwards.
We often use travel, physical health goals, or career goals as ways to achieve our next level up. We continue to search for the next place or experience to help us feel happier and fulfilled. All these experiences are amazing and should not be discounted in helping our growth; however, we often neglect to travel the depths of our minds which I believe has the greatest potential to help us achieve our best selves.
Once I acknowledged a lot of my emotional turmoil had existed before quarantine started, though quarantine has amplified it, I made it my goal to work on building a stable, healthy mind.
Here are three tips I have found helpful in getting comfortable internally:
- Recognize reoccurring thoughts
- Do you still think about certain past experiences as a child, in school, during work, or past relationships?
- Write down these thoughts and be honest in what emotions you are feelingCounter negativity with a positive
- For every negative thought you have, write down an experience when you have felt particularly powerful or happy. Be specific in what thoughts you had during that time and what your routine looked like that day.
- Find a pattern
- Look for a pattern to better understand when you feel the weakest and when you feel the strongest.
Build an understanding of your mind’s thought processes and how your insecurities impact your ability to achieve a happier, healthier version of you. Then look for the resources to help you overcome those internal fears. It may mean investing time in finding a therapist that meets your needs, continuing to journal, reassessing who you follow on social media, or identifying if any friends or family members are a trigger for anxiety. Get comfortable inside your mind because that is where you will be spending most of your time for the rest of the year. It’s also where you will become the most fulfilled.
Why wait for life to become normal again when you can make it better?
About Arvind Bining
Arvind recently graduated from Humber College’s Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations. She is an emerging storyteller and brand strategist. As a first-generation Indian immigrant Arvind aims to become an exceptional brand strategist specializing in diverse and inclusive storytelling. Follow Arvind on LinkedIn and Twitter.