Quarantine Life Part 3: Embracing Change

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I understand that people need things to return to normal. Keep in mind our previous way of life wasn’t all that glamorous. We worked long hours, hardly spent time with family, gave away our dreams, and for some trying to keep up with the Joneses. This quarantine time has been very reflective for me, reflecting on my life pre-COVID to now. I don’t want things to go back to how they were. Yes, I’m looking forward to getting back outside, but I want things to be different. In the coming paragraphs, I’m going to discuss why change after the COVID pandemic is a good thing and what I expect to change. With the current reset, we’ve now is the perfect time to examine our lives to see what changes we can make for the better. 

Family Time

I’m close to my family, but if I’m honest, we could be spending more time together. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spoken to my family this much. We’ve been reaching out more via phone calls and video chats. We even made plans to do more traveling and spend more time together very soon. This ordeal made us realize now more than ever the importance of family. Having loved ones who genuinely care for you is so amazing. You have to embrace and cherish those moments. Anytime that we get to spend together is a blessing that we mustn’t take for granted. Life is fleeting, and this quarantine is proving that every day. Live in the moment for as long as you can and let go of unnecessary baggage. Move forward in love is the best option and provides a more fulfilling life. 

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Work/Life Balance

Before COVID, I was working a lot. Not as much as I’ve been in the past but enough to interfere with my life. Cue in traveling, which helped to break up the tedious daily routine. I would have fun while enjoying a break from work. Now during this quarantine, I’ve had time to reflect on the things that matter in this world. Honestly, work is not as important as your life. Anyone working until oblivion makes no sense, especially since these companies will replace you in a heartbeat. Supporting yourself and your family is critical, but there needs to be a balance. Take those vacations, sick, and personal days. Work will be there once you return. Burning yourself out will only cause resentment, depression, and anger into your life. You don’t want to look back on what you should’ve done. There are no do-overs in life, so it’s best to live it to the fullest. 

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Dream Chaser

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my heart as I believed that I could never make a living doing what I loved. Instead, I took up a more practical skill to make an honest living. The projections that others put on you is more of a reflection of themselves than you. I wish I would’ve listened and followed my gut instinct years ago. My regret as far as writing goes is that I should’ve started sooner. Anyway, it’s better late than never. I’m telling you that narrative as an example to chase your dreams. Sure, people will think you’re out of your mind, but so what? Do you want to look back on your life and wish, or do you want to live for you now? That’s your only option as you can’t go after your dreams and please people. If people are going to be mad, at least be winning at your goals. During this quarantine, you see how quickly things can change in a matter of minutes. Chase your dreams with the highest amount of urgency and give people something to discuss. 

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Love Unapologetically

One thing that saddens me during this time is the lack of empathy for others. I hear people say I don’t know anyone impacted, so the virus isn’t that serious. That is beyond disrespectful to the men and women who risk their lives daily as essential employees. I know four people who suffered from COVID, and one person still battling it. I never thought I would live in a world where this would be the norm. As a human being, you need to show compassion to others. You are blessed not to know anyone personally, but don’t be miserable about it to others. Also, let’s please learn to celebrate someone else’s successes. The number of negative responses I see regarding someone saying they purchased a new home, a new promotion, etc. is unwarranted. Have some of you lost your humanity? That’s why things aren’t going right for you because you can’t be happy for others. When someone is in their winning season, cheer them on. I’m sure you want the same thing when it’s your turn. Learn to be happy for others and watch how you become blessed—being mean spirited blocks your happiness every time. Don’t be afraid to give and spread love. Love is something that we all can’t get enough of, and it’s best when shared among many people. 

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That concludes the last part of my quarantine life series. I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I had fun writing it. I understand how easy it is to look at this from a negative vantage point. My intention with creating this series was to show the positive aspects during the quarantine life. This reset button, as I like to call it, allows us to reevaluate our lives for the better. I understand the difficulties many are facing, and I pray that things turn around very soon. I hope that this series gave you some solace of better days ahead. If I learned anything, it’s that perception is everything. If I perceive it isn’t good, then it is. However, if I believe things are lovely, then they are. As the old saying goes, perception is reality. It’s up to you which reality you want to represent you. 

Don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go, and I’ll see you next time!

What do you want to change or stay the same after quarantine? Why or why not? 

Quarantine Life Part 2: Glow Up

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With all the time we have to think and focus on what’s to come. Now is the best time to work on the things you’ve been putting off. There’s only so much television, social media, and phone conversations you can have. At some point, you have to take action. While everyone else is focusing on mundane things, you can be working on your glow up. Yes, there is no time like the present. I was moping around complaining about what I’m going to do? There’s only so much working and Netflix I can take. Besides the fact of being alive (Thank God), I have too much free time to waste. I’m not bashing anyone who may feel that surviving is good enough for them. I hope nobody feels slighted or ridiculed in any way. This post is for those people who want to glow up and need an extra incentive to do so.

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Fitness

I’ve been talking about wanting to work out again for a while. I felt the pounds coming on, and I was over it! Through the power of the Internet (via Facebook), my former boot camp coach contacted me after reading my comment about exercising. It started as a 21-day calorie quarantine crusher challenge. I’m currently on the 21-day 2.0 version, and this week I started the healthy living portion of the program. I’m addicted to working out again in a short amount of time. I’ve continuously been exercising since April 6th. I lost 4 inches so far, and I can’t believe how strong I’m becoming. I’m pushing myself like I never have before. I have more motivation behind why I’m taking this fitness journey seriously this time around. I may or may not share some time in the future. My main point is to set a realistic goal of getting into shape, and you’ll become addicted as well. Fitness has helped to improve my mood, which brings me to my next point of self-care.

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Self-Care

I speak about therapy often on this blog, so there’s no surprise why it’s apart of this post. Mental health issues are skyrocketing during this time. The self-isolation alone is enough to drive anyone crazy. Be sure to check in with yourself daily. Whether you decide to seek therapy or not, you need to have an outlet. The self-isolation isn’t the time to hold your emotions in as it can have dire consequences. You can journal as well if you don’t feel comfortable sharing with others. Anything to express how you feel will do wonders. The main point is to get rid of those negative thoughts in your head. Be careful how you speak to yourself and what you allow yourself to hear. Negative talk can seep into your brain and get into your sub-conscience. Then ultimately, it will manifest into disruptive behaviors. Now is a perfect time to work on self-care if that’s an area that needs improvement. You have loads of time to practice, so get to it!

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Career

I wrote a few posts back about my plans to get a new job this year. I started the process, but so far it hasn’t panned out. Rejection is redirection into an area I need to be. I began to look inward at my network for a job as I would like to have a regression proof career. That regardless of what’s going on in the world, I would still be able to support myself. I had two informational interviews so far, and I’m currently working on the third. I struggled to try to secure these networking opportunities before coronavirus, but now it’s happening—the exact definition of a blessing in disguise. Based on the feedback I received, I need to get additional training under my belt to aid in securing a new job. It will show future employers that I’m capable and ready for the new role. I know which training I need to take because it’s what’s required/most requested. This information is critical because, without these informational interviews, I wouldn’t have known. When the next job prospects come along, I’ll be more prepared. My biggest takeaway was if I want to get to the next level, then utilize my network. You never know who someone knows or how that one interaction can bring you closer to your dreams.

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Finances

It is sad to hear on the news about the unemployment numbers. I’m grateful I can work from home and still receive a paycheck. The quarantine shed light for me about how I need to create a better financial safety net for myself. As the old saying goes, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. I recently checked my 401(k) to see when the last time I re-balanced it. (If you aren’t familiar with the term, research it.) That is something that you should check periodically. You have to change your elections to receive the maximum benefit. Any safety net you create has to be under constant review. The safety nets include (in addition to 401(k)) Roth IRA, savings account, CD, stocks and bonds, 529 plans, Simple IRA, SEP IRA, traditional IRA, and Roth 401(k) to name a few. I’m not trying to provide any financial advice. This information is provided strictly as informational, and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you and your family. Having these safety nets removes the worry about what will happen in the event of an economic downturn. Even if you aren’t in a position to participate now, you can still learn for later use. The more you know, the more informed financial decisions you can make in the future.

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Your idea of glowing up can be completely different from mine, but you get the picture. It is a blessing to have this much free time on your heads. You can concentrate on all the things that you swept under the rug. Glowing up isn’t limited to clothing/appearance (I have purchased new clothes, so stay tuned world) but about what you’re feeding your mind and soul. I’m going to leave you with a quote my fitness coach told me. “If you don’t feel like doing something, then now is the best time to start.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Now go out there and glow up like a diamond!

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Don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go, and I’ll see you in the next post.

How do you plan on glowing up during this quarantine?

Quarantine Life Part 1: Relationships

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It’s been a lot trying to get through the current stay at home order. I’ve observed something about relationships during this quarantine life. I’m going to write a three-part series, including this post about my direct and indirect experiences that the quarantine life has impacted. I was in a relationship before this coronavirus changed our lives drastically. Once the stay at home order started my relationship eventually changed. I let him stay with me (in hindsight, that was a bad idea)for three weeks. Honestly, I learned an infinite amount about myself into two categories, what I did well and what needs improvement. I realized within those three weeks how incompatible we were. He was happy as he got everything he wanted, but my needs not so much.

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There were red flags that kept coming up that I tried to look past. Let’s say something came up that I couldn’t ignore anymore. With the help of the quarantine, it allowed us to speed things up and notice that we weren’t right for each other. No love lost as you live and learn. The pro to this situation is that it saved me heartache later on. I discovered this information in less than two months as opposed to four/five months down the line. That sounds like a blessing to me. I’ve never lived with a man before, so that was a significant growing pain for me. I have to be with someone I’m compatible with, as it will be much easier to compromise within a relationship. When you’re with someone, you have a deep connection with compromising will come naturally. Unfortunately, my newfound relationship was short lived. I gained knowledge that now I know the changes I’m making are in the right direction. Now I need to find someone I’m more connected with, and that will be my last relationship (God willing!).

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I notice that relationships are taking a toll during this time as well. I heard my neighbors arguing across the hall the other week. I never want to be in a relationship like that. The way the woman was yelling at her boyfriend, I thought I was in trouble. Sorry not sorry, but if someone can yell at you, then it’s time to go. I always believed that if someone could yell, then they can raise their hand to you. I don’t have time for either situation, so I’m out, no, thank you. I can see why domestic violence is going up if this is the situation folks are experiencing. I know a few people who’s relationships have ended due to the quarantine. I guess their relationship couldn’t handle the proximity to each other. That’s something I don’t understand either. If you’re with someone you can’t stand, then how did the relationship occur? The new criteria to add to your dating questionnaire is, can you be quarantine with this person? If the answer is no, then keep it moving. You’re going to be spending massive amounts of time with this person, so you should want to be around them.

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Stop getting into relationships with people you only spent limited amount of time getting to know. I have a few coworkers who were complaining about not being back at work. I asked them why, and the response was they couldn’t stand their spouse. Again I’m confused as to why a person would marry someone they don’t like. The quarantine life is going to show different aspects of a relationship. Either it’s stable, and this situation will only make things healthier, or the relationship will be coming apart at the seams. Of course, this time will be difficult on everyone, and it’s essential to be with someone who will help you through this event. I suffer from anxiety, and while I was still in my relationship, it took a beating. It was something about that relationship that was bothering my spirit. God has a way of telling us things if we would only listen. It took me going through that rough patch to realize it was time to move on. Better late than never as it could’ve been worst.

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Being in the home 24/7 is an emotional blow to anyone, particularly those who suffer from mental health issues. My anxiety was through the roof for the first few weeks of the stay at home order. I would have panic attacks, and I had trouble sleeping. What has been a tremendous help to me is exercising, yoga, meditation, reading, writing, virtual happy hours, and my all-time favorite therapy. There are so many other things you could be doing during this time. I’m sure there is something you want to do that you’ve been putting off. Now is the perfect time as any to focus on those goals that have been on the back burner. The bright side of this is that it will give you something else to discuss. Talking about the same thing over and over becomes tedious, especially during this time. Bringing something else to the table will break up the monotony. Let’s try something different since you don’t have anything better to do. You mind as well be more constructive with your time. I saw someone who made a dress and put braids in her hair, thanks to YouTube University. Be creative and Glow Up! By the way, that’s the title of the second part of this series.

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Don’t forget to get involved in the discussion questions below:

Has the quarantine impacted your relationships in a positive or negative light?
What steps are you taking to help keep yourself sane during this time?

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