These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for all of us.
So much has changed. For me personally, I was interning and living in New York City while going to school. Now, I’m back at home with my family. I haven’t been able to see friends. Any semblance of normalcy I got from having a regular routine is gone. But as I witness these things leaving my mind and entering this blog post, I’m reminded that things could be so much worse.
I am lucky.
I’m also human. I can’t help but feel a little helpless in my inability to influence my own life, no less the lives of those who have it so much worse than me.
In normal times, it’s comforting to know that even when I can’t control what’s happening around me or what other people are doing, I can still control the plans I make for myself and how I spend my time. But right now, I have little influence over those things. Everything I had planned for the summer has been canceled--or likely will be soon.
While there’s a lot of positivity in the trending idea that we’re all “alone, together,” I still feel isolated and like real human connection is so far away.
But then, it occurred to me: One thing I can control, if nothing else, is my thoughts about everything happening right now; how I interpret things and make sense of them.
How I feel is up to me.
I’ve started looking for different inspirational and comforting quotes. I try to share one on my Instagram story each day in order to remind myself and others that better times are coming and we are ok.
A quote that started circulating pretty early on and really stood out to me is:
“You’re not stuck at home. You’re safe at home.”
This was some much-needed real talk. Yes, I feel trapped. Yes, I want nothing more than to be able to go outside.
But I am safe.
I have a warm home and access to food and water. I have my health and my family surrounding me. I have a laptop and an iPhone.
Meanwhile, so many people don’t even have access to basic necessities. They’re putting their health at risk to help others. They’re risking their lives to feed their families. Being safe shouldn’t be something I take for granted, or look at as a bare minimum or a burden. It’s a privilege. I’m at home. I’m not stuck. I’m lucky.
A really good quote doesn’t need to be long, alliterative or particularly clever. It’s more about the feeling it evokes or the truth it embodies. Sometimes, the simpler, the better. One of my go-tos right now is:
“Taking it one day at a time.”
Having so much time to sit around all day, I find it easy to let my mind wander off, far into the future. Instead of worrying about how long this will last or what next week, month, or year will bring, I remind myself to focus on what the day brings. It makes me enjoy every moment a lot more. I’m guessing that’s because today’s moments aren’t overshadowed by my anxiety about moments that haven’t even happened yet.
I’ve probably felt more emotions in these past few weeks than I have in the past few years. I’ve felt sad, scared, anxious and dreadful, just to name a few. The next quote really resonates with me:
“Feel your emotions, but do not feed them.”
Fortune & Frame has a similar quote: “You can feel however you want, but must you always act on it?” Both point to the same lesson: It’s okay to feel whatever I feel, but I cannot let these feelings consume my life--or worse, start controlling it.
The more I feed into them, adopt their narrative or give a voice to their version of events, the worse I feel. And the more likely they are to take on a life of their own. No thank you.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve also been feeling so much pressure to be productive while social distancing. I’m seeing a lot of people on social media sharing the different things they’re doing right now--whether the five mile run they got up at six in the morning to do or the book they’re writing and planning to publish. It seems like everyone is doing something. If you’re like me and feel like you’re doing nothing good right now, then this next quote is here to save the day!
“It’s okay if productivity looks different this season.”
Working from home in your pajamas? Had last night’s pizza for dinner? Woke up at noon? That’s okay! My comfortable sweatpants are suddenly my work pants. I’m lucky if I roll out of bed by noon most days. My hobbies aren’t necessarily things that I can do at home or without other people, and I haven’t been lucky enough to be inspired to pick up new skills like some of my friends who have seemingly become Michelin star chefs through all this. But here’s the thing I’ve realized: There’s no need to be extremely productive. We’re being urged, even required, to stay at home. Is it really so bad if we use this time to relax and get caught up on sleep? When else in my life will I realistically be able to do nothing and not have to feel bad about it? I’ve decided to be less productive than others, and to feel good about it. Be nice to yourself. Wear those comfy pants. Give yourself permission to sleep in. And enjoy that pizza.
I think this last quote may be my favorite of all because it doubles as my personal mantra:
“Treat people with kindness.”
While we are going through such a tough time, this is so important . Just like me, you’ve probably been cooped up in a house with the same people for the past month. My sister and I have fought more than I can count. But at the end of the day, we need to be kind to each other. We are all on edge. We’re worried about ourselves, our friends, our family members, and the world in general.
By remembering to treat each other with kindness each day, we are sending out positivity into the world and encouraging others so do the same. I know, when someone is on your nerves and you are already stressed out, it is easy to scream or let something mean slip out. But before doing that, take a deep breath and respond in a kind way. A little kindness can go a long way, especially when the world is at its worst. And it’s not just something you do to make other people’s lives better; being kind to others makes you feel better too.
I hope these quotes bring you that “feel good” warm and fuzzy feeling, even on your worst days. I know they do for me. I’m sending you all well wishes, health, and love. We will get through this together, even if we’re also alone in our thoughts!