Can we stop talking about the trainwreck 2020 was? No? Ok. Can we also stop trying to improve other people’s lives with useless tips? Yes, please. Alright, so let’s talk about things I started paying attention to after the pandemic. I promise this isn’t ” You should try it yourself” type of post or “I did much better than you during the pandemic.”
Not at all. I’m constantly writing my struggle to connect with people who are living through the same energy.
That’s why I write this blog.
Life was always busy, running around, planning, executing (sometimes, let’s be honest) trying to hustle and bustle. It seems that the roaring ’20s was about to start and I was ready to step on the gas and let amazing things happen to me. I lived January and February of 2020 with intensity and planning for the rest of the year.
In March, as we all know the hourglass got clogged and stopped, as we were all left wondering what was next, for God only knew how long. We didn’t know when life was going to go back to the normal, matter of fact, I don’t think it ever will. Vaccinations or not, the Pandemic changed everyone’s life. For better or for worse, we all are going to have stories to tell about those months the entire planet was stuck at home, cooking bread.
My stress levels
I listened to hours and hours of podcasts, about the pandemic and whatnots, meditate, and got myself an apple watch. Even though I think the watch harasses me, telling me what to do, like “breath” “walk more” “get you bums of the couch, lazy bitch, you’ve been in the same position for 3 hours”.
I decided to tag along and just listen to what I think matters, not the passive-aggressive notifications I receive all day long. One good feature of this watch is that it can measure your heartbeats, so if you think you are struggling to control your nerves, you can calm yourself, with breathing techniques.
I learned that your stress levels are entirely up to you. If your mind is spinning out of control, and you feel like passing out, try to manage how you are breathing. You are the only person who can do that, and no one, not a boss, not a friend, not a significant other can do it for you.
My food – Trying to eat healthier
Discovering new ways on how to eat better, without sacrificing my love for chocolate. It’s not the chocolate that makes you sick. It’s all combined. The chocolate, the pizza, the frozen lasagna, the fried chicken.
I’m not an expert on anything, but I decided to give it a try and see how my body feels. I understand that most of the time we don’t have time to eat all the food from the pyramids, green, yellow, orange, red, and so on.
It’s too hard to follow a super healthy diet, so I do what I can. Walking around TJ Maxx, I found some Superfood Green Powder that you can make smoothies with and bought some fruits. Felt like a winner immediately!
The alcohol consumption
Working in restaurants, I had to try different types of drinks and beers constantly, to be able to sell them to my table. I enjoyed it, I learned a lot, but I stopped working in restaurants in December of 2018. As I kept trying to make drinks at home, putting to practice how to mix different liquors, the pandemic hit, and what was a hobby, almost became a problem.
I come from a long line of alcoholics. My grandpa, my dad, my uncle, and some other family members that don’t assume they are, but it’s very clear for the rest of us. If they are happy, they drink, if they are sad, they drink, if it’s hot outside, they drink beer to cool it off, if it’s cold outside, they drink wine to keep warm. As I said, it becomes a problem when it’s constant.
The only stores opened during the pandemic in Austin, were, guess what? The liquor stores. It’s weird for me that a mom-and-pop food truck couldn’t be open, but a large retail alcohol store could. Anyway, so every Friday, I walked myself to the liquor store to get a different liquor to mix the drinks.
I also had some wine.
As we all lost track of what day of the week it was, it becomes more and more normal to drink wines on Monday, Cocktails on Tuesday, beers on Wednesday. After two weeks, I talked to a friend about how all this alcohol intake was coming and we decided together to stop and only drink on Fridays. It worked well until I started working again last month, in a hotel, which debunked everything I have been working towards last year.
Give me a break, I’m trying here.
Be more active
Long walks without destinations are my gem. In Chicago, I used to walk for hours and that kept me active. Living in a city where you are car dependable, makes it harder. Denver has a lot of parks, but to get to the park, you need a car.
There are days when I still walk to Walmart and around the park close to home. I only do that so I can close my exercise ring, on the apple watch. Once again, the watch harasses me if it thinks I’m not doing it enough. It is my day off watch, leave me alone.
Be thankful ( paying attention to small victories)
I learned how to count small blessings during my day and pay attention to what is working. If my remote control works without me having to it against something, it’s a beautiful day. If I can be outside, in a coffee shop, while watching people pass by, something that didn’t happen last year, I’m thankful.
Happiness is made of a fraction of moments. Victories, accomplishments, learning new things, meeting new people. What people get wrong is because they were taught that we have to be happy 100% of the time, if we are not, something is off.
Don’t take sunny days for granted
We live in Colorado. Winters are long, and there is a possibility it might snow in May. Don’t put the snow boots away yet. Wait another week. I was born and raised in Brasil, where we take sunny days for granted.
We don’t have cold seasons. In the United States, I learned that seasons exist and some of them are longer than others. So enjoy the sunny days, wherever you are.
Meditate and learn how to control my emotions
Listening to podcasts like Mindful for beginners or Headspace helped me to center whatever chaos was happening during the Pandemic. I needed to hear myself breathe and make sure I was alive.
I was getting angry with everyone and mad that I couldn’t live my life the way I intended. The internet super-achievers were also not helping. I guess getting away for a few minutes from social media, to reconnect myself, it’s a habit I want to keep forever.
Understanding that other people are struggling too, I don’t reign on the struggle.
Struggle with mental instability is not a privilege of a few. We all got derailed at some point of this lockdown, wanted to leave to a different place, start over, and all these emotions that come when you are removed from your normal daily routine.
Into to the Unknown
The Unknown is scary, unpredictable, and leaves us wondering what is next, it’s not a good feeling. For some people, this is the epicenter of craziness. How dare you act like this with me? Well, we are facing the same type of issues, some on a different level than others.
Some people like to say “we are all in the same boat”. Yes, Kylie Jenner, but your boat has 5 floors and I’m fighting the tide in a little canoe and a broken paddle.
Normal people, not the Hollywood crowd, are struggling to keep their mental health in check. What we have to do now, is have some compassion. Take a deep breath, and remember we are all trying our best. Ok, some more than others. Some people are just mean because they want to be and no pandemic will change that.
All I know is that being stuck at home for over a year, gave me the ability to reinvent myself and do whatever was missing in my life, during the busy days.
I baked, I meditated, I put on 5lbs, I started eating better and paying attention to my mind, body, and emotions. I delayed all my career plans for my writing, I’m doing what I can. One day at a time.
So, what did you change in your life during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments if you got a new hobby or restarted a new old one, you had to put it aside. How are you taking care of your body and mind after this mess?