women reflecting on life's challenges

Life has turned into one big wait. Waiting to see how COVID-19 plays out, waiting to get better, waiting for a loved one to make it through, waiting to resume our everyday lives. And tragically for so many, the wait ended abruptly.

COVID-19 is the great equalizer. It doesn’t care about social or economic status, job title, or where you live. Every human being, directly or indirectly, is experiencing the ravages of this virus.

Authenticity now at the forefront, we show up with less pretense. Roots revealed, nails unmanicured, faces bare or unshaven; vanity has taken a back seat. With less attention on the superficial, it’s easier to reassess who we are and what truly matters.

It took time for me to process, regain my balance and adjust to life with restrictions. Although prior to the outbreak, I worked from home, proudly claim to be an introverted homebody and have the company of my husband and two sons, there are moments when I find socially distanced life unsettling.

When I feel uneasy, I pay closer attention to my thoughts. The brain can only process one thought at a time. I remind myself that I can choose a positive thought or a negative one. While I acknowledge my negative thoughts, I focus on the positive ones. When I do that, questions surface. What’s the lesson? How can I grow from this experience? How can I be a better human being?

Each of us is unique and our approach to gaining our footing will vary. Having a personal blueprint for resiliency ready to support you through difficult times is important.

My blueprint includes journaling, writing, creating, exercise, remaining curious and prioritizing self-care. Being still and quiet is a must. I ask self-examining questions: How are you?  What are you feeling mentally, physically? Why are you feeling this way? What do you need to make it through this challenge?  When I check in with myself regularly, I avoid extreme highs and the lows. Instead, I create a space for contentment. In my contented space, I find gratitude. I focus my thoughts on the smallest things I am grateful for in the present moment.

When life challenges us, it is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and what we are capable of. It’s easy to be our best selves during picture-perfect moments and joyous times. But the true measure of who we are, the most accurate representation of our best self, is found in times of sorrow and hard times. Our greatest self is rooted in our ability to do what it takes to pick ourselves up and propel forward when life throws curve balls. Our ability to hunker down, regain focus and persevere is when we rise to our highest self.

COVID-19 has shaken us up. It is a huge teachable lesson. Our takeaways will vary. Nobody knows what life will look like going forward. Will we remain fearful of handshake greetings, commuting to work, working at the office, large crowds and socializing with friends? A new normal is on the horizon.

As we continue to wait, we can choose positive thoughts, re-assess and contemplate life, and hone our resilience. What matters most is that we grow from this experience, embrace our takeaways and incorporate what we learned into our lives ahead.