Inspired to Stay Positive
It’s hard to believe that September marks the sixth month anniversary of the pandemic-prompted quarantine. And today, as wildfires rage across the west, and political unrest, systemic social injustice, economic disruption and a global health crisis continue to dominate our existence, it can feel like our world has permanently upended – without a clear end or solution in sight.
Against this backdrop, we’re all finding creative ways to keep the faith. In today’s blog, our team shares our favorite strategies to destress, revive and reignite positivity and creative energy, think and act boldly, connect in new ways and give back to the community during these times of uncertainty.
One of the best things that has come out of the quarantine for me is a renewed focus on reading. Typically, I can only get through a new book on vacation but the extra time at home in the morning has given me the ability to read multiple books each week! Unfortunately due to COVID-19, I have been unable to see my parents since last December but my mom and I have created our own book club of sorts, shipping great reads back and forth and giving us something new and fun to discuss when we talk on the phone every week.
At the start of the pandemic, I was back in Wisconsin, newly unemployed, and always worried about my family’s health. Since then, my fiancé and I have relocated to Portland, I found a job that I love, and as far as I know, my family and I have successfully avoided the Coronavirus. The time in-between has not been easy, but it’s been an eye-opening experience, and I’ve developed a new appreciation for the things and people around me. This shift in my mindset came with a little self-care, self-reflection, and learning to take one day at a time because nothing in life is guaranteed!
Interestingly, the last 6 months have ultimately been a hugely transformational time for my self-confidence. My word of the year for 2020 that I chose back in January is “intention,” meaning I wanted to slow down and focus on being intentional in everything I do. Being the funny place it is, the universe gave me a whole heap of time to do exactly that; sit with my insecurities and really process them. It’s been a long road (and I am so grateful that I haven’t had to cope with physical or financial impacts from the crises this year), and I am now in a place where I feel like I know myself better and am confident in my ability to handle whatever is thrown my way. Bettering understanding myself and working through all of that is now giving me the space to take action and focus on helping the community around me. You can’t pour from an empty cup – keep in mind that there are communities in dire need that can’t really wait for you to figure out life, but you also need to be honest about your capacity to show up. If all you can do is make a donation right now, do that – and work to get yourself in a place where you can be your best self and do more in the future. You deserve the space to be a human!
The past several months of quarantine has pushed me to focus on the basics. With so much happening that feels out of our control, I’ve been trying to put my energy into the things I can control, like exercising regularly, redecorating my apartment into a more tranquil and functional space, trying new recipes, staying in regular contact with family and friends via text/FaceTime/phone calls, and carving out space on the weekends to be unproductive so I can rest and recharge (and not feel guilty about it)!
What is most helping me cope with the current challenges is finding connection with others. We’ve been keeping virtually connected with friends and family via weekly video chats, which is more often than some of us were speaking before the pandemic! I’ve become a member of our school’s PTA board, and we’ve been working as a team on fostering connection, community, equity and inclusion while giving extra support to our school families who are most vulnerable. Contributing my time to these efforts has put more on my plate, but has given me a sense of renewed energy and hope for what we can do together as we navigate the uncertain months and years ahead.
There are two things I’ve been doing during quarantine to destress and give back. One is yoga – I do at least a few yoga poses each morning to help myself wake up, reset and get in the right mindset for the day. The other is walking and picking up trash. A pair of grabbers is very cheap on Amazon and it feels good to clean up my community on my daily walks. It’s something easy to do and has helped me connect with my neighbors as well. Highly recommend!
These past six months have made me more grateful than I thought possible for my family and friends. I have felt, as many have, that I have had very little control over life this past year – my final term of college was moved online, I had a virtual graduation, I was constantly worried someone close to me would get COVID-19, and now dealing with fire evacuations. An element of life however that has been incredibly steady, is the presence of those I love and care about. Accepting support, as well as offering support, has helped me re-center, re-energize, and see everything I have to be thankful for. Having daily sit-down dinners with my family is now something I truly look forward to and cherish. By taking a moment to slow down and spend more quality time with those close to me, I feel I have gained a new healthy perspective.
For me, the last 6 months have been a trying, yet character-defining time. It’s been an opportunity to gain new perspective on what truly matters in life and give myself grace along the way. In fact, “grace” has become my intention for thriving (and surviving) 2020. As someone that’s always on a constant quest for perfection, it’s been a reminder to let go of the incessant need for orderliness, structure and control – that not every day will be great, but there is something great in every day. This growth mindset has been a catalyst for resilience, gratitude, introspection and relentless optimism. It’s inspired me to count my blessings and to make time for the things I love – quality time with family (sometimes virtually), relationships that stand the test of time, reading two new novels a month (and joining a new book club!), writing, trying new eateries to give back to the local business community, adopting a new self-care routine, shopping online (I still need to be fashion forward from the waist up, right?! 😊), and prioritizing slowing down to unwind with a glass of wine (or sparkling rose!).