There’s one thing that we all agree on – everyone is tired of COVID.
But unfortunately, it’s not going away anytime soon. We are attempting as a community – and as a country – to lower the number of cases daily. But our definition of normal has changed, for better or for worse.
This virus took the world by storm and forced us to hide away in our homes, avoiding social interaction, and only going out for essentials.
As businesses, offices, and schools slowly start to reopen as people eagerly wait for life to go back to normal and try to put all this behind them, there are lessons that we learned during this time of self-isolation that we need to carry with us.
We’ve learned some things during the pandemic that we should keep doing, even after the pandemic has subsided:
Kindness - because of the pandemic, people were finally showing how grateful they were to healthcare workers by making signs and showing their support. There was also an abundance of signs on lawns across the city asking people to “honk” for the special birthday kid.
And let’s not forget about June 27th, Miracle Day, where Windsor-Essex donated 2 million pounds of food by placing items on a porch to be picked up later that day to help local food banks.
In a time where people are pushing back from wearing masks, it’s stories like these that show how much we can help when we work together.
Doing things for ourselves – during the pandemic, there was a spike in DIY projects. Since people had more time on their hands, what better way to pass the time then to catch up on fixing things around the house or building a fence in your backyard?
This time also saw a spike in people cooking and baking as they tried out new recipes to cook for themselves and their families. It’s this type of self-sufficiency that should continue long after the pandemic is over.
Family time – since parents and children were both stuck at home, Tik Tok saw more parents participating in Tik Tok videos with their kids. Not only were parents and kids dancing together, but parents also became substitute teachers as they tried to help their kids learn new things to keep themselves busy. Family time is always necessary and should not be forgotten, even when life becomes hectic again.
Learning to be alone – being quarantined – whether alone or with family – can put things into perspective. It was a time of forced reflection where people had to face the one person they haven’t spent time with in years – themselves. Taking the time to get back in touch with yourself, doing the things you enjoy, taking care of your mental health, and finally doing the things you’ve been putting off is something that should be brought with you, long after this is over.
And the final thing that people should take with them moving forward:
Hand washing - we should always wash our hands to help prevent the spread of germs.
Overall, we’re all in a place where we want normalcy and want to write off 2020 as a whole, but I think we should think positively. We should bring these lessons from being quarantined over into our “new normal” to be kinder and more self-aware to ourselves and others.
In every different stage of our life, you make new friends because of similar interests or simply because you both work together. When you were in high school, you became friends with people you were in classes with. In college, you became friends with people who were in the same program, went to the same parties, lived in the same dorm and shared interests with you.
At every turn, you may find a friend or two that sticks by your side and some of those friends you've made, you may outgrow and I'm here to tell you that it's totally ok if you do.
Whether it be the simple reason of outgrowing one another because your schedules are different, your interests are not in the same field as they use to be or because that friend is stuck in the same spot mentally while you're growing mentally, it's ok to move on and accept that your life isn't aligned with theirs.
Maintaining friendships throughout all the twists and turns life throws at us is pure, the strong ones will survive and the weak ones will be killed off. But here's a reminder that some friends are better left in the past. Friends that slow down your self-growth, that are potentially poisonous to your growth and the ones that remain in the same place and don't want to move forward are friends that are ok to move on from.
However, some people will come into your life that you envision them sticking around forever. While a handful of them may be, a majority of them won't and that's because life moves at the speed of light. Eventually we all all go down a path of growing up, which could mean marriage, children, a new business, moving, a jump in ones career or focusing on your daily goals, friendships can get lost during the growing stages of life.
If you have ever sat down and wrote in your journal when you were mad or upset, you know how therapeutic it can be. It is the same when you address a letter to yourself, your younger self.
Holding onto the past and projecting into the future can be damaging when it comes to your mental health, most of us are just trying to reach the goal of being in the present moment. With this small exercise we face the past head-on with a letter to our younger self.
Looking back at my life there is so much I wish I knew back then that I know now. I’ve dealt with so much in my short life and I often find myself longing for the childhood I couldn’t wait to grow out of.
I wish I knew that the good moments with my parents would end and eventually I would be an angsty teenager that thought I knew better than them. My parents did not make the best decisions when I was younger, and I have always held that against them but looking back they were only doing the best they knew how.
I wish I knew back then that my parents did everything they could to give me a good life but before having me they never dealt with their own personal demons. Back then I was too young to see that and now I see them for what they truly are, two individuals that are struggling to be happy, like I am.
I wish I knew that true love does exist, even if I never really saw it at home. I wish I experienced the love my parents use to have for one another. Once upon a time they had love for one another, but that flame went out long ago and left behind two empty people living under the same roof out of obligation. If I knew that true love existed earlier on in my life, maybe I wouldn’t have accepted less and stayed with a man who abused me on every level except physically. I would have realized that I deserved better in my life.
I wish I knew that I would be forced to grow up at 14 after a tragedy that flipped my entire life around. Back then I could not wait to grow up and now I long to be a kid again. I wish I would have known that I would be a parent before I ever had kids; that I would have to be a parent to my own parents because they couldn’t take care of themselves anymore.
Looking back on my life, my journey has been a hard one and I wish I knew when I was younger that one day, I would be happier. That the nightmares would stop, and I would not wake up in a cold sweat, crying, just wanting to be held by my mom. I wish I knew then that I could handle anything life threw at me and I would and have achieved amazing things.
All the things that I have gone through in my past have shaped me into the person I am today, a strong, independent, and intelligent woman that can achieve anything. My life is difficult but I wouldn't change a thing about it, I'm grateful for all that it taught me and I still find reasons to smile every day.
If toxic people were an ingestible substance, I would hope that they would come with a warning label or secure packaging to prevent us from coming in contact or overdosing on them.
Whether it's with your partner, a friend, or family member, toxic relationships can easily take a toll on a person's mental and physical health. Whether you want to admit it or not, these relationships can make you feel worthless and like you are the one at fault. Then once you leave, you feel guilty for leaving.
I know how that is. After four years of being out of my toxic relationship, I can honestly say it gets easier. The days following my breakup, I felt like I should go back because I kept telling myself that no one else would want me.
But here's what I discovered; as the years went on, the tears dried, the screams in my head telling me I was worthless turned into whispers, and now I feel free in my everyday life. I am laughing and smiling, and I am not talking about a fake smile that you put on, so others think you are okay. I am talking about a smile that fits your face, a genuine smile that comes with the realization that you do not need the affirmation that you're loved because you love yourself.
So, here is some advice I can give you that helped me during these dark times:
1) Learn About Self-Love:
Work on loving yourself, on seeing the good in the mirror and your self-worth. This may not be easy at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it will feel.
2) Accept The Journey:
It may not be a comfortable journey, but it will be worth it. You will know it is worth it when you can look into the future and see all the things you can and will achieve. Even when their's hiccups in your journey, never stop seizing the moment and creating new and fun achievements for yourself.
3) Live In The Present, Move On From The Past:
Choose to live in the present moment rather than in the past. By doing this, you're taking back your power. It may take time for you to become clear on what you want and to relight that ignition in your soul, but you will learn how to focus on the now and move on from the past.
4) Feel Every Emotion
If you want to cry, then cry, if you're going to scream, then scream. Bottling up your emotions and not expressing them will only lead to more unresolved issues in the future, and it will control your life for years to come. Ways to release these emotions are consulting a friend, a therapist, journaling out your feelings, or even taking a deep breath and realizing what is holding you back.
5) Surround Yourself With Loving People:
After feeling starved for love for so long, turn to the people that offer you love and support. Those people will lift your spirits and show you what you should have always been.
6) Treat This As A Learning Lesson:
After coming out of a toxic relationship, you learn so much. You'll learn how to truly love yourself and what you don't want or deserve in the future.
7) Regret Nothing
The relationship may have hurt you, but it was still a part of your life. It even helped shape you into who you are today, and as you grow and learn to love yourself more, you'll be thankful for that.
So can a relationship break a person? Yes, it can, but when you begin putting yourself back together with the right puzzle pieces to complete yourself, you'll become fulfilled in every aspect of yourself and learn not to use your fake smile and always to show your real, genuine one instead.
While many things are uncertain when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, things have come to the surface for many over the last couple of months. This pandemic is taking a toll on many lives, our economy, our social life and also our mental health.
During this pandemic, there is many articles, social media posts, videos and tons of news coming out daily with updates about how many cases we have locally and how we can all protect ourselves from the virus. If you're anything like me, your mind is continuously racing on how to get over the fear of potentially becoming ill with COVID, which then can lead you into a deeper hole. It's unclear when things will clear up and go back to normal, the best practice I found for myself in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was to practice self-love and to be kind to my mind during these times.
Here's some things I found useful:
Most of us are use to doing daily activities that keeps our minds moving, for me once COVID became serious and I was put on EI after being laid off from my job, I found myself completely lost on how to pass the days.
1. Keep A Constant Routine (Set An Alarm To Wake Up Early Each Morning):
I know it doesn't sound exciting to wake up early every morning but research has shown that those who wake up early set themselves up for a better sleep every night. Getting on a better sleep pattern will help you focus better throughout your days and help you stay productive. More research has shown that those who have a constant sleep pattern tend to feel more positive and more energized for the day.
2. Be Kind To Yourself:
We naturally expect the most out of ourselves daily but remember, we're all human and sometimes we have off days. Accept that some days you may be more productive than others. Try your hardest to stay off social media, reading news outlets that makes you feel anxious and connect with something else that brings you happiness.
We all have something that brings us joy, whether that be painting, baking, singing in the shower, jamming out to songs in the car and even cleaning, if you connect to those little things that bring a smile to your face, I promise you, your positivity will be bigger and better each day.
3. Pause, Take A Deep Breath And Be Present:
Sounds cliche but it really works. Taking 5 minutes out of our your day to do a small meditation or even to do some deep breathing that allows you to become present in the moment which will then begin to change your outlook on a lot of things. Remember our minds either go to two places, reflecting on our past or thinking about our future which causes anxiety or depression. Take a step back and think about the present moment and what you can do TODAY that can change your way of thinking. Notice how you're reacting, feel it fully, note it and then let that feeling go.
4. Reach Out:
Don't be shy, this was my biggest insecurity. I felt like what I was feeling was never important enough or people had bigger things happening in their lives so they wouldn't care, the best thing I did for myself was communicate to my family and friends about how I was feeling. In some cases when you communicate with others, you'll find most people are able to relate to what you're feeling and give you guidance and advice.
5. Reach Out For Help If You Need To:
Therapy is not for everybody but it can be for anyone. That's something I was told at my first therapy session, even if you think your "problems" are small that doesn't mean they shouldn't be recognized and worked on. Everybody has something they want to work on within themselves and you should never hesitate to reach out to services in your community that can help you, no matter how small, big, old or young you are.
Some services in Windsor you can reach out to, today: