The pandemic has turned the world upside down, pushing people into situations they never before anticipated. From restrictions and lockdowns that seemed to go on forever to conflicting information, many people have experienced at least something since the pandemic began to spread. Most countries are now trying to get back to a normal, perhaps not a pre-pandemic normal but something that resembles it. Some people have seemingly gotten back into the swing of things quickly, but for others emerging out the other side of COVID is proving to be a challenge.
You may have suffered financial losses, career changes, family changes, or health problems. Indeed, there are many ways you could have been affected. The ongoing stress and anxiety with a situation that seemed beyond your control is a difficult thing to handle. You may be feeling upset or angry at the last two years and how your life was changed. So, how do we make peace with the pandemic? Here are some tricks and tips to get you started on your journey.
Embracing the shared experience
More often than not, we tend to focus on ourselves and our personal experience. This is natural since it is the one experience we know so well. However, we can get bogged down in our own experience, and overthinking can lead to anxiety. One of the most compelling thoughts can be that we have experienced the pandemic together, our families, communities, and countries.
I can guarantee that if you ask around someone will have shared an experience of something you went through during this time, good or bad. It can be comforting to know that someone else has an idea of what happened and how that made you feel. Rather than focus on what sets you apart or what made your experience worse, concentrate on what you had in common with people.
Bringing in the new
If you were like me, you jumped on board the baking train when the first lockdown came in. It didn’t last though and the novelty wore off quickly. It was a way of occupying myself when things seemed so uncertain. I quickly learned that I needed to find another hobby or focus that I really loved. So, I started doing lots of courses on all the things I had talked about wanting to do but had never gotten around to. I did the 200-hour Yoga teacher training course, a reiki master course, a meditation course, a sound healing course, and a nutritional coach course. I went quite over the top, I admit.
Not everyone went similarly berserk over occupying themselves during the pandemic though. Instead, they stuck to what they already knew, using routine and trying to maintain normality in the home. In fact, it demonstrates right there just how differently people coped with the upheaval. However, one of the ways you can signal a new, fresh chapter is by starting something new. This does not need to be anything mind-blowing. It could be as simple as starting a new hobby or side-hustle, bringing in a new good habit, or making new friends. It could be embarking on a new holiday or experience that you have wanted to do for a long time. Focus on doing the things you really have a passion for, that light you up.
Time for reflection
Just as it is important to look to the future, so is it crucial to spend time reflecting on the past. Not dwelling, but truly sitting with your feelings and embracing them. Some of us can find it difficult to just sit quietly and allow the thoughts to permeate through us, for emotions to rise up inside of us. Accepting the last two years for what they are, knowing we cannot change them is important to making peace with the situation. That time only exists now in your memories and it is up to you to accept them as they are. Know that there will be future challenges and that since you have successfully navigated this one, you have everything to need to embrace the ones still to come.
Many of us may have lost touch with people over the last two years whether it was just that life got too busy or perhaps you fell out over a difference of opinions. It can be tricky to get back in touch with someone after a long time of not speaking, but if this was a person that played an important role in your life or brought out the best in you, perhaps it is worth getting back in touch. While there has been a lot of division and separation, now is the time for coming back together.
This does not have to be limited to just people but could also be pursuits, experiences, and hobbies. Ask yourself what brought me joy before the pandemic that I no longer do. Does anything come to mind? If so, can this be incorporated back into your life today?
Cleaning out your closet
This can be taken as literally or figuratively as you wish. If you have accumulated things over the pandemic that just sit around not being used or loved, perhaps it is time to see if you need it. Sorting through things can be a relaxing experience for some, seeing everything in order by the end of the process. Of course, on the flip-side others find it difficult sorting through and evaluating what to keep and what to give away.
A good starting point would be to work through one space in the home at a time, one area. Then your garage and car. Next, look at your to-do list. Is there anything you have been putting off or procrastinating over? Set a time and date to tackle the most urgent items on your to-do list, and do it. This could be appointments, banking matters, or getting organized for birthdays. Work on the most urgent first and then set yourself one thing to do per week for the rest. Look at where the baggage lies in your life and what is holding you down.
Life is a process, not a final destination!
It can be easy to think that there should be a finishing line with things, or that there should be some tangible goal, but in most of our areas of life, there is not. So, how do you know when you have got there? For things that can’t really be easily measured, it is important to look at small, consistent efforts. Imagine you are taking an art class, look at the time and devotion you are putting in rather than focusing on not being Monet yet.
We are all constantly learning and evolving. People can often get a skewed perspective of not being far enough along in life, but this is partly due to the unrealistic expectations we can have placed upon us. From influencers and celebrities flashing their cars and lavish lifestyles, we can feel like we are not doing enough. The truth is these people present a snippet of their lives and we do not see the work and teams of people behind the scenes. Working out where you want to be and what aligns with you is key so that you can give yourself a fair assessment of where you are in life. There is always time to make changes and have new experiences.
Assessing the why
While reflection can conjure up a mixture of emotions, it is important to understand the ‘why’ in situations as it can tell you a lot about yourself. For instance, perhaps you felt upset at not being able to celebrate Christmas with family. Why did that upset you? Maybe because family is central to who you are and you value their presence. What can you do to bring more elements of the family into your life?
Another example would be frustration at the lockdown rules. Were you frustrated because you felt like you didn’t have control over the situation or was it the uncertainty of the lockdown? Was too much pressure being put on you, with maybe people relying on you to keep things going. This assessment of identifying the emotions behind your thoughts and why you reacted as you did can be critical in helping you see patterns in your life while shedding light on understanding you better.
A meditation for making peace with the pandemic
It is important to find a place where you will not be disturbed and sit quietly. I want you to think of one particular experience from the pandemic which brings up negative emotions. It could be a particular situation or just the feeling you felt. Notice where that feeling sits in your body. Now picture yourself in a room feeling that situation or emotion, as if you are a third person looking at you. Observe you, how you look and feel, paying attention to any words or images that come to mind.
Now I want you to imagine that this third person is going to give you what you needed in that situation. It could be reassuring words, somebody to listen to what you have to say, somebody who understands you, a supportive friend, or just someone to sit and give you a hug. Maybe you needed to hear that someone thinks you are doing your best and that is all you can do. Run with whatever your mind creates and don’t think too much about the detail. Imagine that what you needed at that time, in that particular situation in order to feel at peace is given and you receive it willingly. Feel the relief as you receive everything you needed.
When you feel the scenario has come to a close, you can say, “thank you for being here for me, I have everything I need now. I willingly let go of all that no longer serves me, releasing everything with a light and free heart.” When you are ready, bring yourself out of your mind’s eye and back to the present moment. Note that you might feel emotional or uplifted but know that what you needed in order to feel at peace with that situation has occurred.
Emily is a freelance writer covering spirituality and wellness, and technology. She is a regular contributor to Rechargd.com and TFiR.io. She is fascinated with the convergence of people and technology, as well as, navigating modern-day life and its stresses. Last year, she completed her 200-hour Yoga teacher training and Level 3 Reiki Master course. She hopes to put these new skills to good use. She is based in Italy.