Is This Our New Normal?

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Is this the new normal?

There’s no way to know that, but there is hope in knowing that this virus will die down. One thing that is important to remember: if we want to flatten the curve, we have to listen to the guidelines given to us. There are a lot of people out of work, so this causes a lot of anxiety for the future, but especially for the present. We are in a time when we do not know what tomorrow will be like; will it be better and the curve is flattened, or will it be bad with a lot more deaths?

These thoughts can definitely cause some anxiety. That’s normal. So if you’re experiencing some anxiety, stress, depression, etc., find some positive coping mechanisms to help you get through the days. For some, that might be tending to a garden and for others, it might be playing video games. There’s a lot of hobbies or things to do. Find something you have been wanting to try and do it and remember it’s okay if you’re not good at it in the beginning. Don’t let that stop you from trying. Do what it takes to keep your mental health as balanced as possible.

Some things I do are play video games, read books, watch movies/tv shows, go for walks with my dogs, write, go for rides with the dogs, sit outside and listen to music and/or natural nature sounds, and take pictures of blooming flowers. These are my regular hobbies, but especially while quarantined, they help keep my mind off of any negative thoughts that may be trying to develop.

Practicing meditation can be extremely beneficial as well. Meditation can be anything that puts your mind at ease: mindfulness meditation, prayer, even relaxing on your front porch.

It’s okay to admit that you might be experiencing anxiety. It makes you human. But making sure to distract yourself from those anxious thoughts, taking proper precautions to help flatten the curve, and even getting help from a professional are things you can do to help reduce those anxiety levels. Also, making sure to only share accurate information regarding the virus can help reduce anxiety levels.

The CDC has a lot of great information and list of resources to help you during this difficult time. Read it here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

This way of living does not have to be our new normal. If we take those proper precautions to reducing the spread of this virus, we can get back to living our normal lives. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Mindful Meditation

I’ve been taking a class in school on stress management and it’s honestly helped me realize a few things about myself: I’m more stressed than I ever realized, I need to practice self-care more, and I need to start meditating.

The first thing I used to think when I would see the word ‘meditation’ is monks and sitting down on a pillow and ‘om’. But it’s so much more than that. Meditation can be something like listening to music with no other distractions, or praying, or even a hobby, like gardening. These things help bring us down to a level where we can relax and feel less stress from the things going on around us.

There are different kinds of meditation, but mindfulness meditation is the one I feel the closest to. I am always trying to be mindful of what I’m doing in the moment, like when I’m writing; if I’m on my laptop, I try to be mindful of how my fingers are moving, and if I’m writing in my notebook, I am mindful of the way I write my f’s and g’s. I don’t know why I am mindful of those, but I guess it’s because I write them in an unconventional way compared to the other letters.

At the risk of teaching or treating this like a school paper, I want to explain how much mindfulness can help your mind, body, and soul.

Mindfulness helps relieve stress as we all know, but it also treats heart disease, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, improves sleep, and reduces anxiety levels. There’s a technique called mindful self-inquiry. It brings awareness to any of your stressed or anxious feelings and allows them to be. That doesn’t mean to let them control you. It means to let them happen. It makes you human. It’s how you react and how little control you let it have over your other emotions. The technique allows you to learn more about those feelings, and it helps you learn more about yourself too, basically gaining a new perspective of stressful or anxious situations.

I urge you to read more into mindful meditation and consider utilizing it into your daily life. Practicing this for even ten minutes can work, even if you’re busy throughout the day. It’s worth it to slow down, take a break, and meditate.

These Shoes

These shoes have taken me to the place where I would get the diagnoses that would change my life. They have taken me to the place where I have met people that didn’t want the best for me; they wanted to take advantage of me, to see me fail.

These shoes have taken me to places I never want to go again. They have taken me to places where I’ve felt pain, where I’ve felt anxiety, where I’ve felt stuck.

These shoes have taken me to places where I would have to share my feelings with complete strangers and hope that they didn’t judge me. They have taken me to places where I’ve waited and waited to feel whole again, to feel something, anything at all.

But…

These shoes have taken me to places that I recover and try my best to feel significant. They have taken me to the place where I can speak my soul and help it to heal. They have taken me to the place where I can feel free, where I can feel whole, where I can feel human.

People can judge us. They can slander our name. They can look down on us because we’re different than them… but they can’t take our soul. They can’t take our voice. They don’t know our lives or how we live, why we do the things we do. What we have fought for up until this very moment.

These shoes are dirty, beat down, worn out… but nobody can take away what they’ve been through. What I have been through.

Keep fighting for you and I’ll keep fighting for me.

Campfire Thoughts

Campfire with my boys

I’m sitting in front of a campfire with my two dogs next to me, I’m looking up at the night sky and I see the stars, I hear the crickets, I see the fireflies… and nothing could ever beat this feeling.

I haven’t felt this happy and content, stress free, no depression, no anxiety, since 2016 when I sat on the beach literally by myself in Okinawa, Japan. It’s a feeling I didn’t think I’d ever feel again. It’s a feeling I thought was just a once in a lifetime type of thing.

I say all of this because I’ve been depressed lately. It started right around my birthday, which is right on time, because I always start getting those holiday blues around my birthday, which is in early October. I didn’t think I’d get out of it. I kept up with my homework, but that’s about it. I was able to have enough energy to hike just once since it’s cooled off. I’m behind on my chores, like cleaning the house. I’ve just been depressed.

I sat at my desk last night and stared at the sand from the beach in Japan I went to (I collect sand from all the beaches I visit), and I thought to myself, “What if I never feel that feeling again? What if I’m stuck forever in this endless cycle of depression?” I can have great days, but it never fails that the bad days happen a day or two after. I have felt stuck in that endless cycle for a long time now. But that day at the beach in Japan proved to me that I can feel like I’m floating and feel like I have no stress or worries, even if only for an hour. But I always thought I’d never feel it again.

Tonight, while I sit around this campfire, I am feeling it again. There’s no better feeling in the world. Tomorrow, maybe it goes back to normal. Or maybe I can live my life like I’m on that beach or I’m sitting in front of a campfire.

It’s time to start living, man. I have to or I’ll feel stuck in this endless cycle forever. It’s time to start traveling, hiking more, camping more, writing more! I’m feeling so inspired to just… write. Everything. No matter how real or honest it gets. I just want to write. I want to live. I want to breathe and not feel trapped. Things are changing, my friends. Keep up with me or get left behind, because I’m not slowing down.