COVID-19 Gave Me A Gift
In the midst of death and disease I found the unexpected
No one ever looks at the bright side of a pandemic. It’s indisputable — there isn’t one. People have died. Thousands were laid off. Fragile health care systems crumbled.
What’s also true is that in the wake of one of Earth’s most devastating years in history, many persons have reaped rewards. Streaming platforms, advertisers, online businesses, and delivery services are prospering. The stark contrast is that brick and mortar facilities have lost sales, small schools have lost income and numerous persons deemed dispensable have been laid off.
But, influencers and online companies are biting their tongues about how their following, views and business have sky-rocketed. As they should, this isn’t a time of celebration. Yet, content creators are churning out posts for our consumption at rapid speeds, and are reaping the benefits. Millennials are grasping at plummeting stocks, researching diversified investments and eyeing the real estate market, hoping to secure a home and future.
The reality is that many persons have benefited from this pandemic.
For me, I haven’t had any sort of financial gain yet as that coveted stimulus check has yet to make its way to me. And yes, I’ve dabbled a bit in stocks, I’ve started new ventures and hobbies which could potentially earn me income. But for the most part, the gift that the Coronavirus has given me cannot be quantified.
It’s the gift of rest.
In the midst of all of the uncertainty, death and devastation, I gained something unexpected. Rest cannot only be defined as physical rejuvenation. It is the opportunity to still one’s mind and regroup.
For the first 3 weeks of self-isolation, I slept and napped more than I usually do, or even have time for. Initially, I felt guilty for it. I wasn’t trading cryptocurrency, uploading to YouTube twice a day or taking advantage of Harvard’s free courses. I simply slept. I took naps and got 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
I had encounters with myself and my thoughts. I met myself face to face in the stillness of my mind.
You see, I really needed the rest. I had been depriving my brain and body of the downtime they deserved. Like the energizer bunny, I was forever going and going. Zipping here and there. Assisting everyone but myself.
I was on call for the majority of the day, continually fulfilling favors that would never be returned. And that’s alright. Favors should be done without expectation. But, the consequence of handing out favors so rapidly was that I never stopped to refill my cup. I was forever pouring into others while never revisiting my own reservoir.
By the time the pandemic swung I around, I was suffering from burnout. I crashed right at its onset and collapsed at its feet.
I learned a lot about myself while laying in silence and relative boredom. I discovered the ways I’d abused myself by not saying “no” quickly and often. I had to admit that there were projects that needed my attention that had long sat on the backburner. There were family members who needed my time and attention and affection. One of those family members was me.
It is currently Mental Health Awareness Month. In fact, we’re riding its coattails. Typically, I’d be churning out articles, poems, and posts catering to anyone suffering from anxiety and depression. Instead, I’ve been turning within and healing within so I could better assist others.
What this pandemic has taught me is that rest is essential. Our function and existence depend on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional rejuvenation. No doctor can prescribe us pills for what true rest can do.
When we neglect daily meditation, exercise and earnest contemplation, we set ourselves up for failure. We begin to overthink and create alternate realities where our dreams and goals remain stagnant. We also place our hope in people. When they disappoint us, we crumble. We do not know how to still our minds. We do not know how to weather the storms within and outside.
This pandemic allowed me to do that. I am a better woman and citizen of Earth because I can think clearly enough to do the task that only I can. Each of us has our own duty to the world around us. Tapping into it requires us to step away from the noise and truly focus. That’s what I have done, and I am forever changed.
This trojan horse, COVID-19, has turned lives upside down. It’s turned our world upside down. Life will never be the same and the ultimate lesson that COVID-19 taught me is: neither should we.