Many of us out there have our attention focused on our phones or television screens monitoring the COVID-19 virus pandemic that is affecting our world. While most of us are confined to our homes, we find ourselves struggling to find meaning and find some sense of normalcy in this challenging time that we live in. Many of us are struggling to find ways to fill in the large amounts of time that we have in our day due to what has been happening. Believe it or not, the extra space on your calendar can be filled with new things that you’ve never tried before that can be challenging to you as a person. I ask you this simple question. Who do you want to be when this crisis is over? That is why I am posing this challenge to each and every one of you, myself included, to find a way to grow over through this crisis. There are five areas of personal growth that we all could tackle with this extra time that we have.
1. Physically: Have you ever wanted to do something physically, but weren’t able to? For some it’s doing ten push-ups straight without getting winded. For others, it’s being able to run that mile. While gyms may be closed, nature is not. The great outdoors can be the greatest gym we could have.
2. Mentally: We all have that book that we have said we were going to read, but never do. We all have that hobby we say we’re going to develop, but life gets in the way. Now is the time to find ways to exercise and strengthen your brain. Puzzles are often a great distraction from the mundane and are challenging in and of themselves. If you’re a fan of the outdoors, maybe gardening might be a good hobby to pick up. Any kind of activity that is stimulating to the brain and causes it to focus on a challenge can be productive in more ways than one.
3. Spiritually: This is the time more than ever to connect with our spiritual sides. We all believe in something and this is the very core of who we are. It is through our beliefs that we find meaning and purpose in life. This might be a good time for you to explore what you believe and why. It also might be helpful to read books on the subject of spirituality.
4. Emotionally: Not gonna lie, sitting in the house alone can be very depressing and lonely. For some it can even be terrifying to think that we can’t leave our own homes. I have to ask this question. What brings you joy? For some it’s looking at adorable cat videos or playing with our pets. For others, it’s having a meaningful conversation with our spouses. I always like to say that it’s okay for us to feel what we feel, but it becomes a problem when we stay there. Allow yourself to feel scared and vulnerable during this uncertain time, but then do something pleasurable that will make you smile such as listening to your favorite song or even baking.
5. Relationally: For some people, you are quarantined with your family (i.e. spouse, parents, partners, etc.) For others, it’s just me, myself, and I. People living by themselves can be faced with a whole new set of challenges to connect with others especially when we can’t be around them or touch them. Maybe a way to challenge yourself relationally, if you live with your family, is asking them a question about themselves that you’ve never asked before. If you live alone, maybe making it a point to contact a friend of yours via Skype, Facebook messenger, or through a simple phone call. Maybe setting up a book club via Facetime might be an option as well. This
is a time for us to come together as human beings in order to encourage each other and build each other up.
Times of uncertainty can either make or break us as human beings. That’s why it is so imperative to take on the mindset of victory. Sometimes, the only things we can say are sayings like, “This too shall pass,” over and over again to ourselves in order to make it through the next day. That’s why it is imperative to tackle this challenging time with a mindset that says, “I’m going to win. I’m going to make it through this. I will be better off for this.” If we don’t adopt a victory mindset, then we may sabotage ourselves out from the gate. But the amazing thing is, we are not alone. We are not alone in this journey. Let’s walk it together.
Written by Ashley Bono, LPC, LMFT – Therapist – San Antonio and New Braunfels locations