The last year has been disorienting for many of us – me included. I feel like I have lost myself, bit by bit. One of the things that has vanished is motivation, so I wasn’t even able to gather the energy to hold myself together, or even regather the bits that I lost. I think I might just be ready to start rebuilding me.
I’ve noticed that when I get stressed, my self-supportive habits are the first ones to go. The first to go is usually exercise, followed quickly by eating junk food. Then I start staying up later, therefore getting less sleep. Eventually I even stop meditating (because I am trying to get more sleep).
When my world was initially shut down last year, there was a lot of stress. All the events at work (I work at a live theatre) had to be cancelled or rescheduled. Spring Mysteries Festival, and all of my church and circle events suddenly had to move online, and we had to figure out the best way to make that happen. Thank goodness we already had a lot of the tools in place.
I was numb from shock and grief. It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming, I just didn’t think it would happen that quickly. I had really been hoping we would have another month or so. As more time went on, and especially without my supportive habits, my mental health declined.
I was seeing a counselor, which helped somewhat, as did a few outdoor gatherings with (two) close friends. When water aerobics classes started, I jumped at the chance to get back in the pool – I desperately needed it. The exercise and the water helped my mental health tremendously, but it was short-lived.
Lockdown Déjà Vu
Then it all happened again, and I spiraled. I took three weeks off over the holidays, and it helped me not be quite as lost. If I’m being honest, though, I’ve been treading water for months.
I’ve had no motivation to do anything. Cross stitch has been one of the few things that has helped me keep my sanity. As grateful as I am for my large family in our small house, I miss seeing, and more importantly, hugging, my friends. Just when we thought we might be able to start seeing each other, COVID cases in BC are back on the rise, and with them the restrictions.
With the help of my naturopath and a new counselor, I think I am starting to at least see all the puzzle pieces of my life that have been scattered by pandemic fatigue.
At our most recent Full Moon ritual, we talked about the importance of having a daily spiritual practice. People at the ritual shared their practices, and it made me realize that I’d let mine fall away. So I am starting to recreate mine.
I’m starting small, because if I try to do it all at once, I’m just going to get more overwhelmed. That’s the exact opposite of what I need right now. Also, taking on too much all at once will be discouraging if I miss a day.
The first step is making sure I get enough rest. I learned that as wonderful as exercise is for your mental health, if you sacrifice sleep to exercise, you’re not really getting the full benefits of the exercise. Same goes for meditation.
The next step is writing a set of affirmations every day. These affirmations have helped lift me out of depression on more than one occasion. I even made a video of them!
I hope to add more as I establish my routines. For now, this is enough.