The COVID-19 pandemic brought about many changes over the last year. Many of us might have lost our jobs, struggled with mental health illness, experienced increased stress, mourned the loss of loved ones, and other issues. Social restrictions and limited access to preferred activities and events might have left many feeling that their lives were turned upside down. Plans for the future might have been put on hold or suspended indefinitely due to financial concerns and other worries.
For some, the pandemic forced them to put life into perspective. As time wore on, they might have realized that they did not really miss everything in their lives before the pandemic ground society to a near-halt. They might have taken notice of what truly mattered to them. When times are tough, we tend to focus on the most important and valuable things in our lives. Some realized that they had been running off in many different directions before the pandemic, spreading themselves thin and compounding their stress.
Is There a Bright Side to All of This?
Acknowledging that there might be a bright side to the pandemic can help us cope with the stress of the situation. While no one would wish for a tragic event like this to occur, we had no choice in the matter. When dealing with stressful situations that are well beyond our control, we might need to work at seeing the bright side. However, seeking the bright side of seemingly dire situations will strengthen our resiliency.
Once restrictions began, some people felt a weight being lifted off their shoulders. They might have thought, “finally, a chance to catch my breath!” Before the pandemic, we might have been overworking and overstressed. Driving our kids from one activity to the next, working long days, and maintaining our household became our lives. We might have lost sight of what was important to us. The pandemic forced us to slow down and minimize our movements to that which was essential.
What is Essential to Us?
Some of us may not have thought about what was or was not essential. We might have assumed that everything was! When the dangers of coronavirus limited our interactions to the essential, we might have realized what we can and cannot live without.
Take some time to consider coming out of this pandemic stronger than you came into it. Think about the following:
- What did you realize was most important to you?
- What did you not want to lose?
- As you took precautions for the pandemic, who were you protecting?
- Did you think about your health, feeling renewed gratitude for your wellness?
- Were you worried about your mortality?
- Did you think about your loved one’s mortality?
Understanding what is essential and nonessential to us can help us move forward from this pandemic with a healthy perspective and a renewed sense of gratitude. Knowing what is important to us is key to finding balance in our lives.
Finding Balance in Life
During a conversation with author Gerry Murphy, Fire Mountain’s Shari Simmons and her mother, Jann, discuss the impact of the pandemic and confronting one’s mortality. Some might have never considered the possibility of death. When we do not stop to think about how, one day, our loved ones might no longer be around or that we will also die, we might get stuck spinning our wheels in life.
We might start to put off our goals, thinking, “I’ll have time someday.” We might not make time for loved ones, thinking, “I’ll spend time with them later—when I have a minute.” Unless we make time for the important things, no one else will do it for us. We might find ourselves looking back with regret. It is doubtful that we will wish we could have spent more time at our offices or doing menial work tasks on our deathbeds. Yet, many live their lives as if these are the urgent priorities in life.
We Will Not Get More Time
Balance requires being mindful of how we spend our time. No, we cannot simply quit our jobs or give up all responsibilities. We might need to set limits and boundaries to prevent our lives from getting so hectic that we lose sight of what truly matters. We will never get more time—we have to make it ourselves. Learn to strike a balance between what is essential and vital with what is an obligation or unnecessary. If we take away one thing from this pandemic, remember: time is a gift to spend wisely.
The recent pandemic was challenging for everyone. Every person felt an impact from social restrictions and other safety guidelines. Some dealt with the loss of a loved one or an illness themselves due to COVID-19. When going through challenging events beyond our control, all we can do to survive is to see the good. By taking a step back to see the positive things, we can get through tragic events with a renewed appreciation for what is important and valuable in life. The pandemic imposed restrictions only to do that which was necessary and essential. What were the things that we considered essential? What did we miss the most? Knowing the answers to these kinds of questions can help us pull through this event and grow from it. This pandemic might have triggered stress or relapse for families and alumni of Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center. If you need additional support, reach out to us today. You are always considered a part of our “tribe.” Call (303) 443-3343.