There’s no doubt that this year goes down in history for many of us. Personally, if you asked me at the beginning of the year what I thought this year would bring for me, I would say it was going to be a year filled with new adventures, travel, and possibly growing our family further. But none of that was in the cards as we soon found out. Looking back, what I have realized is the range of emotions this year brought and how I had to learn to cope with it all.
First up is anger. This is the one word I’d use to describe the first few weeks/months of the pandemic. I was angry at the world for being so careless. I was angry at our leadership for being full of sh*t. I was angry for my own personal and selfish reasons that everything was turned upside down. But quickly that anger, evolved to fear.
If you met me 4 years ago and asked me what all I feared, there would be very few things that I probably could count on my fingers. Death was not one of them. Fear of the unknown also wasn’t one of them. Roaches, yes. Rats, yes.
But as many moms could probably agree, after I had my own child is when fear truly took over me. So when it became apparent that this pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon, I was terrified. Watching the news and reading new updates on the death toll wasn’t helping either. Hearing of family members and relatives who also got infected and some whom later died, it became even worse.
This whole year has undoubtedly been stressful, but for me it’s mainly been because of increased work stress. I was extremely fortunate and blessed to not lose my job during this pandemic, but one thing that did get worse was my work load. Several companies including the one I work for found themselves trying to find cost-cutting techniques, like halting any talent acquisition. And so lots of people found themselves working longer hours throughout the work week, often with no breaks. Zoom fatigue quickly became part of our terminology and studies started to show how the work day became nonstop and mental health among employees started deteriorating. Well, no sh*t Sherlock. So, we started becoming anxious and sometimes even depressed.
I’m sure depression has hit every single person that has experienced lockdown or quarantine. In January, for the first time ever my husband and I had created vision boards for the year. We each made our own individual board and put all our goals or what we hoped to manifest in the year on it — travel, fitness goals, family goals, upgrades to things we had, etc. But quickly we realized that majority of which we had on the vision board wasn’t going to manifest. Not knowing when the world will be able to return to normalcy filled me with depression. Many of us have been hit with loneliness or feeling of isolation. Celebrations changed or simply didn’t happen. There was no longer anything to look forward to. Thank God for social media, Netflix, and Zoom otherwise if I was living during the 1918 pandemic I would have had a much worse bout of depression.
Gratitude & Acceptance
This is where coping comes in. Faith reminds me that I needed to be grateful for so many things I still have that people have lost during this year. I was also extremely grateful to not only still have my job, but to have one that allowed me to work from home full-time. Being able to do so has only given me more time with my daughter, even if it’s a few sneaks in the middle of a busy meeting filled day, which I otherwise would not have had going into the office. I was even more grateful to have my parents and siblings nearby within a few minutes drive, unlike so many families that have not been able to see each other since the start of this pandemic.
I quickly realized this is the way it’s going to be and I should stop setting expectations in my mind that this time next year we’ll be back to normal, because nothing is guaranteed. There’s so much we are still learning about this virus and while we now have promising vaccines in place time will tell how and if this pandemic turns around.
While I’m hopeful going into next year, I have learned how to cope with all these emotions and allow them to be. Even more than ever now, I truly embrace and understand “go with the flow.” We’re not always going to be able to control every aspect of our lives. For me, as long as I have my family, health, wellbeing, and financial means to support ourselves that’s all I need. Everything else is secondary.