A year into COVID-19 – an introspection


Almost a year ago now, I published an article called : How to feel at your best wherein uncertainty.  As we were seeing the world around us changing and adapting to the rules related to coronavirus, which is still the case now, I shared with you all how we can make the best out of it and change the struggles for some into a success story. Everyone couldn’t suddenly change everything they were used to doing in a clap of hands. Let me just remind you, if you haven’t read my first post – which you should right away before coming back to this one – I was part of those people complaining I would never make it. But here I am now! Almost a year later and tons of realization and great things to share again.

My previous post about quarantine was all about my tips and the way  I was facing the same challenges as all of you did, and obviously understood that it wasn’t easy, but also that there would be great things that could come up out of it. Today, I wanted to take back my tips and turned them into an introspection of what really happened for me and how it worked out or not.

So let’s be real, when lockdown first hit us all, everyone was taking on fitness challenges, picking up all these new hobbies, starting new projects, being all around social media sharing their smoothies and coffees, daily plans and trying to boost their youtube views. Basically living their best lives as we would imagine when just sitting down. At least this is what I thought after scrolling through my Insta feed for too much time and watching youtube videos for endless hours. Just because others seem to be doing all these activities during their lockdown doesn’t mean I had to be doing them too. And as I mentioned in my previous post, it felt absolutely devastating for me to stay home that much and scroll through social media during infinite hours. I felt useless and bored. Which in a sense was good cause it made me realize pretty soon, that I don’t like it and it had to change. First thing I fully acknowledge is that  Instagram and youtube is not real life. Also, everyone is (and was) dealing with the lockdown in their own way, and that’s respectable and enough. Stop comparing yourself to endless stories and videos that were edited and touched up a hundred times before you can like it. Repeat after me: they were meant for you to like it, it’s not real life.

Anyhow, here are my lessons based on the tips I gave you before, after all this time in lock down: 

Tip number one was to take a look back over your life.

I guess I shall not repeat that it’s not a pretty time in our world right now, but I mean we are fighting an invisible enemy, and it makes us look at things differently. It is worth acknowledging it more than once. It makes us think of new rules and it has forced us to change so much of our way of life. But as humans, we have the ability to adapt to any obstacle and we have to understand and accept that too much of life is out of our control. I believe that we all are control freaks and overthinkers. Each in our own way as we all want to be in the driver’s seat — at least for most of the time, but clearly there are just too many variables controlling human existence.  Which makes it literally impossible to be in control of all the time.

Within this uncertain period, I had no choice but to rethink my strategies, my goals, my relationships, my purposes. This period, help me so much with my introspection because I had no choice but to do it and facing different truths. I did look over my life, but it wasn’t a constant thing. It was more a realization day by day and now that time has passed I can testify about it.  Without getting into the details of all my introspection, here is what I can say to resume the idea of it all:  you will miss almost all the opportunities in life if you are not ready to disrupt yourself. When you disrupt yourself, you are looking for personal growth. Which I did and embraced.  To put it differently, my life was never going to change until I changed something I did daily.

You will not see big changes from staying inside your comfort zone until you do things differently or at least until you take a risk to level up your game, you will find your growth limited.
From my last article “ true growth, especially self-development will come when you stop waiting. It will happen when you take action and those small steps to pull yourself together. It will be hard and even sometimes painful, but you will soon realize how much it’s worth the fight and even the detour”.

Tip number two was to flush away negative energies and thoughts. 

Boy oh boy! Where do I start? Positive emotions, positive vibes and thoughts are for me the key to my happiness and my calmness. I have seriously attempted to accept that I am not weak, I have nothing to be ashamed of and that difficult moments are just a reminder that nothing should be taken for granted and that growth and happiness are in constant progress. During this year in lockdown for most of the time, I had to acknowledge my full well-being, my needs, my emotions and the state of my mind to fully be able to pass through it.  It also showed me that empathy and kindness really is a strength. I kept my faith and love for others and for things way more important to me than fears and doubts.  I only did what felt right and what was aligned with my goals and values. Speak kindly, think positively, eat healthy, sleep comfortably and please me before others are the solution for me. Stay away from toxic relationships or situations. Ignore any opinion that is not enhancing my life for the better and be grateful for any good around me. 

Tip number three was to create a routine.

Alright, this one is funny –  I don’t know how to tell you this – but let’s just say that I desperately failed at creating a proper routine worth sharing with you on the reels, but at the same time, I did realize what is a good routine for me. I am no youtuber or instababe with a killer morning routine, face care routine and night sleep routine, oh no! But, in all honesty, I think I am not good for any of those. I dislike not having room for spontaneity and creativity.  

I still have my way of doing things that suits me perfectly such as working with the same soundtrack, which is classical music. I wake up around eight to nine max. every day, going over nine bothers me later in the day and makes me feel a bit guilty. Waking up before 7:30 AM is honestly killing me so far, what can I say I’m not much of an early bird. I can’t deal with it. And that’s ok, it does not mean I get any less done in a day, I just do it on a time frame and on a schedule that suits my needs.  I start my day with a cup of water and around 9h, after being lazy in my bed – no phone, no social media- thinking about life and vizualizing my future, I then proceed to clean, make breakfast and around 9:30 is my coffee date with myself. After that I work, I study, whatever has to be done – I do. Although I recognize that some could think of this as a routine but for me the fact that I could call it this way gets through me and then I want to stop doing it. I am a dreamer, a believer and sometimes very much an artist in the way I tend to do things. I have learned that the way I would spend the first few hours of my morning can make or break the rest of my day. Indeed, a solid foundation will never fail you. Thus, to quote Stephen King – the cumulative purpose of doing these things my way every day seems to be a way of saying to my mind when I am about to sit down and work, you’re going to be dreaming soon. 

Tip number four was to take care of yourself.

To me, this one is very important. During the year, not only have I embraced my physical health because it is essential, but I also spent a generous amount of time working on my mental health. A second lockdown is what made me realize how inevitable it is at this point to be secure in your mind and have a strong mental ability to keep you sane.  It was important for me to take a minute to understand the impact the first lockdown had on me and be prepared for whatever could hit again. Honestly, during this pandemic, there has never been more of a reason for my own sake to embrace my emotions, understand how I’m feeling, and be more mindful. It was and it’s still a difficult time to get through. 

This global pandemic, it is a historical moment we are all facing.  It’s absolutely normal not to understand at first what we are feeling but taking the time to listen to our thoughts and to our emotions, make sense of them, helps afterwards to find ways to deal with it. It is so important to be close to your feelings and to understand them. It was also the time for me to realise it was OK not to always feel at my best. I also learned to know when to stop. Whether that was from work, studying, watching or reading the news, or simply scrolling through any social media. Little by little, I started embracing the moments to myself, not doing anything “important”, just enjoying being present and mindful of the instant. 

So you guys are so much stronger than you think. Yes, we’re all going through a tough time right now, but let’s not forget about how we’ve been through months and months of lockdown already. Let’s all be grateful for the good things, cause it’s so important to remember them.  What I’ve been repeating myself and telling you today is: You’ve got this!

Tip number five was to keep yourself busy.

Along with this pandemic, we obviously gained more time back for ourselves. All those things I want to have in life, I realized will only be dreams if I am pursuing the wrong things. Or perhaps if my perception about success is wrong in the first place. I recommend you read this previous post I wrote about success: The truth behind the art of dreaming bigger, to help you figure out your vision and your purpose too. For me, before lockdown, there was always some kind of option to socialize. Whether it was planned with a friend, going for a drink or a coffee, going to a dinner party on the weekends, to a concert, to a movie, to do shopping at least,  there was always something to be doing, and many must have felt very depressed when none of it was possible anymore. I know I was and I have no shame to say it because it was inevitable. I was used to a certain life pace and everything suddenly all changed, with no warnings ahead and nothing to discuss. 

But on the brighter side of things, with the socializing options being limited, I personally have gained time to do what I always wanted to do with myself without anyone watching or asking questions. Rather than feeling the pressure to be out with others and have some sort of good story to tell and share and an amazing photo to post, I actually enjoyed doing things from another perspective. 

We all miss seeing our friends and going out on the weekends, but since we can’t, making the most of our time with ourselves isn’t as bad as it would seem. In my case, it was very much beneficial and I learned so many things, starting with the fact that being “busy” and being “productive” are fundamentally different. I learned to set boundaries, to prioritize and most importantly, to stop doing shallow tasks and give my attention to worthless things and situations. I actually focus on more important things and projects now and I feel like I have actually evolved and did something worth my time and energy within this period. I don’t say it often enough, but I am actually proud of myself so far. With that in mind, I still have a long ride to go to get where I want to be, don’t get me wrong. Although, I also learned that where you spend your attention is where you spend your life, and so far, I think I am on the right path to the life I truly want for myself.

Tip number six was to set goals.

For this final tip, what I have learned, and mostly due to my boldest friend advice’ is that there is no point setting goals for yourself if you won’t also love the path you have to take to achieve them. Also, she taught me a lot about setting my goals properly and smartly. She made me notice that before you set any goal for your life or business before you download apps to mark your progress before you give up everything for what you actually want, ask yourself if you deeply care about that goal.  With that in mind, I realized that it is very important to be clear about what you want, but mostly honest with yourself. I’ve found myself being very specific about my goals and very picky about how to get there.

So my final word for you today, is whatever it is you want, there is a path from where you are to where you want to go. At this present moment, while reading this piece, you probably don’t know what that path is. But it does exist. Be patient and mindful. Luck may be involved, but it’s not necessary and you shall not depend on it. What is necessary, though, is:

  • knowing where you want to go;
  • knowing how to get there;
  • knowing you can do it.

Of course, the effects of this pandemic and the lockdowns have impacted everyone across the world, and although this deadly virus is in no way wished for, many have found silver-linings in the lockdowns. I know I did, I know I don’t say it often, yet it is very true. Finally, I hope you are safe where you are and if not, please seek the help you need. . Your life doesn’t have to be dull and boring. I know I have found some ways not to make it boring during this period. Your life should be filled with excitement and surprise. You become more spontaneous and flexible as a person by pursuing the right things for you. Be safe, be careful, be patient. Everything will be fine!

  • with all my love, B.
Photo by Matheus Bertelli

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