I imagine everyone is still neck deep in their annual Christmas Comas, while I too had my own version of it as well. I committed approximately 4 weeks ago that going into our Provincial lockdown here in Alberta that I’d embrace the solitude and the chance to withdraw from the world in preparation for the new year ahead. That being said, things were very busy with my job as the weeks lead up to our annual 10 day Government shut down, so the benefits of the perceived solace I was seeking during this month has yet to be actualized. That’s not to say I haven’t been able to find and reflect on some silver linings.
It was in October that I had to take time off from work to address some of the prolonged medical complications associated with Covid, after trying to tough them out since early July. It was a tough decision, and I really had given it a good fight. I’m sure anyone in the health care, human services or in a frontline job of this pandemic can attest to the escalating varying complexities that require us to be on our “A-Game.” For myself it was significant blow to my professional ego as I struggled to work with the cognitive capacity of a drunken sailor. More so, I had not wanted to abandon my team who needed an extra body to absorb the flood of assignments as the pandemic continues to unleash its wrath beyond just the medical implications and statistics.
Needless to say I had to abandon my post. The safety and well being of the families I served deserved better and I no longer wanted to gamble the lives and safety of the youth I work with as a result of my own ego and unwillingness to admit defeat. Waving my white flag was the hardest decisions I had to make but so happy I did so. It would be through this experience that I would remind myself of something I often remind others to do.
That is Be kind to yourself.
Life is unpredictable. It will serve you with both sorrow and joy. If we beat ourselves down every time life serves us with sorrow, we are all in for a bitter ride! It’s important to acknowledge that we cannot tie our value and self-worth to external situations that are beyond our control. When faced with adversity, we cannot assume that is who we are. Using external situations as a measure of self-worth is a separate occurrence all together. Focus should be redirected in ways that will give you the courage to make wise decisions during tough times. If I had not realized this, I imagine I would have not found my way back to the level of wellness that allows me to function again in this world.
Since my return in mid November I’ve found that my brain is firing on all pistons again, and relieved that the Covid Fog has lifted. I’ve been able to dive head first into my role and reconnected with my unit who have all done such inspirational work. While away, they continued to carry heavy and complex cases minus a body there to support, yet remained resilient despite the exhausting hamster wheel of crisis they were faced with. These are some of the unspoken heroes behind the pandemic that deserve so much more credit than they are given. And despite these dark times for front liners I’m inspired by their strength to endure and help others while all still facing the same anxiety, loss, isolation and longing for the world to return to normal again as the rest of you. Like you all, they too have families, children, educators, employers and governments asking more of them each day. The weight of it all appears seemingly crushing, yet the toughness of their characters rise.
For this I am so grateful to witness.
We are all participants within a significant time in history and I have been on the frontlines to witness this profound test on the human spirit. People all around us are proving they are forces to be reckoned with. It’s a reminder that resilient people have both tapped and untapped reserves, enabling them to overcome and thrive as they face the setbacks, challenges, and fears of daily life.
Since my attention has been pulled away in other directions I have been neglecting my passion for writing and connecting with my readers. I admittedly feel like I have failed and not lived up to my own high expectations in the last month. This is one of those personality traits that I have fallen victim too in the past, specifically feeling guilty about not being there for others. Somehow after conquering that insecurity, it’s evolved and I’ve turned that toxic trait onto myself. Alas I must Be Kind to Myself! For this reason, I’ve had some stern metaphorical sit downs to remind my subconscious that I cannot be everything to everyone all the time, including myself most importantly. In my experiences, if I am not consciously cultivating a worthy mindset I’m less likely to bounce back when encountering hardships. It can delay the necessary efforts to create space for replenishing our weathered self worth that requires regular maintenance. If you value yourself and do not tie your self-worth to external factors, you will live through the greatest adversities. Joy and sorrow will disappear. You will be left with you. Love yourself.
So while my commitments to exercise daily, write, create and be an all round superhuman fell to the wayside I enjoyed my holidays all the same. You see, resilience can breed within practicing the art of Perception, and how we choose to view our experiences despite our un-actualized intentions. I may be reaching here, but my laziness allowed me to recharge my battery, spend more time sitting next to my aging mother, pretending to puzzle and enjoying Rum and Eggnog at 9 am in the morning. It’s allowed me the time to laugh at my own failed baking attempts and provided ample opportunities for others to laugh at as well. My base boards have never been cleaner, and my Akita Puppy Geisha can now shake a paw. I binge watched a bunch of series that were successful in holding my attention long enough for my boyfriend to go undisturbed for hours without my nagging. That in turn afforded me hours of uninterrupted cuddling that may have alternatively been filled with arguing or unnecessary disagreements. At the end of the day, life will always serve you with good and bad days. It’s for you to decide how you perceive it.
As this month of Provincial shutdown faces uncertainty, I remind myself that in order to avoid despair I need to view situations as temporary. I am told that psychologically resilient people learn to view situations as temporary rather than permanent. Taking each day as it comes and focusing on doing something new as opposed to thinking about what we can’t do has played a significant role in keeping my shit together. Sometimes we need to say to ourselves “You’re having a bad day, not a bad life!” This leads to less stress as you’re always looking forward to a better day. In our case it may be a bad year….or two, but let’s not give it the power to determine how we spend it. Training your mind to see tough situations as part of life and as learning experiences as opposed to traumatic ends. I feel when reflecting on the year we have had that it will be important to identify those individual moments of growth and perseverance within ourselves. There is value within the lessons we have learned within these experiences that I believe will have a lasting impact on who we are going forward.
So as I ease back into my regular programming I hope you all were able to find some light during the holidays. And if not, I encourage you to consider applying some the methods I discussed as to flush out some of those hidden achievements and glimmers of light that will work to carry you into the new year with a renewed sense of hope.