It’s just one month, I tell myself.
After one month, things will get better.
You’ve booked a staycation in May (with flexible cancellation dates. Just in case).
You’ll get to meet your friends again and sit in the cafes to have coffee and people watch through window seats. In the meantime, you can still journal at home. You can make art. Music. Read. You have Zoom. And Skype. You can finally do all the online courses you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. You’ll have all the downtime you’ve always dreamed off and not have to feel guilty about it! You’re not going to be bored to death. You’ve always been able to find things to do at home. It’s just the mindset of having to stay at home now that’s making you anxious and feeling trapped. And that’s understandable.
It’s ok to feel scared and anxious, AND also remember that we don’t have to panic and that this will pass. We’re in the storm now, knowing that this storm won’t last forever.
I haven’t been here for a long time.
Today is a work from home day, and I suddenly found the time and inspiration to come back to this space. Or maybe something in my body just told me that I really needed to. I really need this outlet today.
It feels so surreal, this world we are living in now.
I feel small, powerless, and so not in control.
I see everyone encouraging each other on social media and posting things about taking care of our physical and mental health. And reminding each other not to get swept up in the paranoia and anxiety of the times.
Which just makes me feel more anxious, really.
I have turned off notifications for most apps on my phone.
I am working on allowing all feelings, which can get really uncomfortable.
On the brighter side, I am enjoying the slowed down pace of life, the emphasis on meaningful connection, and the time we have to reflect on what truly matters.
I don’t think the worst is over.
I hope for strength and equanimity.
“What makes you think you can help others when you can’t even help yourself?”
Excuse me, voice in my head. I’d like to let you know that I’ve done plenty to help myself. I have asked for help. I have reached out. I have made certain changes to my lifestyle. I’ve been courageous enough to ask for more help. I’ve been working on voices like you, who may have developed at some point in time in my life for some purpose which is no longer relevant and hence does not benefit me anymore.
The fact that we are still on this journey does not mean that I have not done enough.
It might simply mean that the journey is still ongoing, that the process is continuing, that we are truly all works in progress.
Trust the process.
I accept that you’re not feeling your best right now. That there’s a nagging voice in your head telling you that you should be happy because you have nothing to be “sad” about. I accept that it’s really tough to live with that voice, and on bad days it makes the shame unbearable and you wish that you could just make it go away. I accept that it feels like a really tough journey and there are days when you feel like such a weakling for wanting to give up. I accept that your chest feels heavy and uncomfortable and tight. I accept that you also feel good at times and then wonder how long will that feeling last, and then feel guilty for wondering that instead of being mindful in that moment of feeling good. I accept that there is a compassionate voice inside that comes out when it’s most needed, even though it feels foreign and weird and even wrong at times. I accept that it’s probably not very used to being used and could probably do with more practice. I accept that there are the horrible feelings and the bad voices, as well as the helpful and kind ones. I accept that this is one heck of a journey and nobody knows what is going to happen. I accept that these things are happening to you, within you, but are also NOT you. I accept that you are a living, breathing, human being. I accept that where you are will not be where you will always be. I accept that this is difficult, and this is life, and this is all ok.
I accept that I am still learning to accept.
It is ok
Even if your days look like endless walks
through the forests of your mind.
There is still beauty –
in the walking,
in the going on,
in the moving forward,
in the seeking for something you’re not quite sure you’re going to find.
There is still beauty in all of that.
I used to think that self-care was some sort of insurance or guarantee.
As long as I practice my self-care routines, set my boundaries, have enough time for my solitude and recharge, I will be fine. I will have problems and life will be shitty from time to time, BUT I will still be be able to go to work daily, make a living doing what I enjoy, while cultivating quality relationships with people important to me – AS LONG AS I PRACTICE SELF-CARE.
The equation has somewhat shifted.
I realise self-care is not something you do in order to prevent upheavals from happening to you.
Self-care is what you fall back on when the upheaval happens.
And I am thankful for the self-care routines and habits I had formed before to fall back on over the past few months – Habits, relationships, activities I do.
And now I am learning that I can try to do more to improve what I already have, so that I can grow in resilience and strength.