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? 

Protect Your Energy

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Being an empath can be incredibly exhausting. I feel other people’s energy, and if the vibe isn’t right, it throws me completely off. I have been meticulous lately about who I let in my life. I don’t want to be in a situation where my energy is draining, or I feel uncomfortable around someone. I never want to make people feel uncomfortable, even if that’s my current emotion. Fast forward to recently; I started to date again. I know the dreaded dating scene. However, I’m going into it with a fresh perspective. I have a clear mindset of what I’m looking for in a mate. Previously I said I was looking for XYZ, but my potential suitors didn’t fit that match. That was my fault and not theirs.

I have an issue with saying no to people. My biggest fear is making someone feel like I don’t care for them or for them to feel useless. When it comes at the expense of your sanity, it’s hardly worth the effort. Saying no isn’t selfish, but saying yes to everything is. Think about it for a second. If you answer yes, even when you aren’t in the mood or not feeling the environment, who is hurt by this? Anything that directly impacts your mental health is not worth the effort.

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You aren’t meant to be everyone’s cup of tea and vice versa. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. You can meet someone and instantly develop a connection, and for other people, it doesn’t exist at all. That doesn’t mean that something is wrong. All it means is that the two of you didn’t hit it off. Why force something that’s not working? I have never understood that way of thinking. Protect your energy and peace. If someone doesn’t understand this, then that person shouldn’t be in your life. The worst thing to be is misunderstood, and having someone not trying to understand you is even worst.

It’s a better use of time to spend it with like-minded people or people who have your best interest. Time and energy are very sacred pieces of yourself. Share life’s experiences with people who want to understand and have a place in your heart. Don’t hold onto temporary people as you will end up hurting yourself in the end.

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What are some ways that you practice protecting your energy/peace?

One Day Mad Rule

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I recently instituted a new rule in my life called the one-day mad rule. That means that I allow myself only one day to be upset. I have that whole day to work through whatever issues I’m having. Once I wake up the next day, it’s old news. I can no longer be upset about what happened yesterday. I have to exercise, hike, or anything to get my mind off what’s bothering me. The main objective is not to carry that anger with me through the next day. I’m telling you since I forced myself to adapt to this rule it’s been a complete game-changer. I had to get used to the idea, so it was a huge struggle at first. I’ve been following this for a month, and it increased my mood drastically. I’m in a much happier place, and most importantly I stopped getting on my nerves. Yes, that’s an authentic thing!

When you learn how to manage your emotions, it makes you a more pleasant person. People want to be around you more, and you overall give out positive vibes/energy. Plus, life is too short so what’s the point of holding onto all that negative energy? If you’re upset with someone forgive them and let it go. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to allow that person to stay in your life. It just means you won’t let that person remain rent-free in your head. When you’re holding all that toxic energy, you’re the one impacted. Whoever hurt you most likely doesn’t know nor care. There’s no point in wasting precious time on things that aren’t aiding your mental health. The one-day mad rule will take getting used to, but the benefits are worthwhile.

Start small and commit yourself to make a change. Once you decide that you will make this change, it becomes easier. Also, when I see myself getting frustrated, that’s when I take a break. I go for a walk, listen to music, etc. Anything to get my mind off the anger. Putting yourself in a different mindset helps you to make decisions from a logical standpoint instead of emotions. That will keep you from having to apologize often due to hurt feelings. That’s the difference between adults and children. Adults learn when to speak, apply their emotions, and when to keep quiet. If you haven’t mastered this art it takes time and practice to perfect it. However, I committed to change my behavior. I’m going to fall short, but I’m going to keep at it until it becomes second nature. My one-day mad rule is here to stay!

What are some ways that you learned how to handle and manage your emotions?

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The Importance of Me Time

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After having over a month of running from here and there, I am exhausted. I didn’t realize it until this past weekend when my plans fall through. I realized at that point that I need to take better care of myself. It’s important to understand that at times, you need to take a break and decompress from the world. Many people have different ways of needing me time, but whatever it is, it needs to happen. Burn out from work and life is a real thing. I believe this is the reason why more people are suffering from depression. Americans are overworked and underpaid, which is a recipe for disaster. It is more critical than ever the need to recharge and refuel to be a better version of yourself. In the next paragraphs, I’m going to discuss my top 3 things I do during my me time.

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I love to meditate as it’s imperative to get centered with yourself. It helps to rid my body of those negative thoughts, and it helps me to relax as well. At first, I struggled with it because it was new and something I never did before. I thought that maybe I would never obtain the concept, but after a few practices, I finally got the hang of it. I recommend meditation as it’s a great way to help with self-soothing. Of course, in life, you will be faced with many stressful and challenging situations. Meditation is the best way to remain calm in those situations. Since adopting meditation, I have been much happier and more relaxed than usual. I would get upset about something and be able to keep myself calm quickly. Whereas in the past I would get agitated and it would take me a while to calm down. Most of it had to do with my career and my emotional intelligence not being at the same level. Maturing doesn’t end at 18 years of age, and we all continue to grow through more life experiences. The best way to start meditating is simple by starting and finding a free app to use. I enjoy Head space even though it’s not entirely free, but it has a worth of knowledge available. Whichever route you decide to take I hope that you will give it a try. It has done wonders for me, and I hope that others enjoy the same benefits.

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I started to institute a requirement that I would stay off of social media at least one day a week. I noticed that it was consuming a vast majority of my time, and it started to contribute to the negative feelings I was having about myself. I know everyone likes to think they’re secure about themselves, but now and then we all start to focus more on the flaws that we have. Social media has a way of reinforcing those negative stereotypes and body images. It’s important to unplug and step away from social media to see the real world. There is most likely something that you have been putting off that you forgot to work on and you’re using social media as a reason not to complete it. I have been guilty in the past of saying I don’t have time or I’ll come back to it later. The truth is I hardly come back to it, and I was lazy by not completing my tasks. By giving myself time away from social media, I get to readjust my focus and get back to my real life.

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The last thing that I created for myself during my me time is lazy Sundays. I don’t do this every Sunday, but depending on the week I had or coming up I would do nothing on this day. I can stay in the house all day if I want to or go outside. It’s a lazy day because I don’t demand that I full this day up with something to do. I allow my mood to determine what I would do that day if I do anything. Sunday is a no pressure type of day. I can use it as a day to catch up on my reading, my favorite TV shows, or prepare myself for the upcoming week. Allowing myself this time helps me with getting much-needed rest and will enable me to slow things down a bit. I’m guilty of not giving myself breaks as I should and setting a day aside to do just that helps tremendously.

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What are some of your me time activities that you like to partake? If you don’t have any currently, which ones would you like to implement?

Toxic Friends, Maybe It’s You

Before the start of the New Year, I see the same old rhetoric. I’m getting rid of the poisonous people in my life before the New Year. I don’t want to go into the New Year with the previous year’s drama. The thing I find most interesting is the need to do this every year. Do you have that many toxic people in your life? Is it necessary to remove these people regularly? This predicament got me to thinking about a few things. Are these people toxic or is the poisonous person you? Think about it for a few minutes. How many times did people leave your life and the first response is that person was toxic anyway. After a while, you need to start looking at the person in the mirror. Maybe you are having so many issues because you are the toxic person you are trying to remove. Self-reflection is a hard thing to do, and sometimes it’s difficult to admit destructive behavior within ourselves. Acknowledging that you might be toxic is scary at first. However, the reward for fixing yourself is very fulfilling.

It can be hard to admit, but each of us has toxic behavior. Even I have to correct the harmful habits that I have. There is nothing wrong with accepting you have an issue. The problem is never altering your behavior. I understand that looking inside yourself could be a mortifying experience, but you can’t think that everyone around you is the toxic one. If you find that you are always losing friends and people are habitually walking out your life then maybe you are the problem. You are the company that you keep. If you have to get rid of people often, it’s time to reevaluate your discernment for picking friends. You have chosen these folks to be in your life. Why would you select toxic people in the first place? Once you see that someone is displaying bad behavior, it is up to you to say something. Waiting until the New Year to remove someone from your life is problematic. It took the New Year for you to notice this behavior. Why wasn’t this person gone months ago? We are responsible for the folks we allow to stay in our lives. At some point we have to say to ourselves I wanted this to happen.

Again, think about it for a few more minutes. You like something about this person to keep them around. They are only as toxic to your life as you allow them to be. Once the toxicity has lasted long, you have to look inward as secretly you like the chaos. That’s the only explanation for all the drama to fester for so long. Once the spectacle consumes you for an extended period, you become the very thing you dislike. When this occurs, you now become a toxic friend who then causes people to run away from you. It is so important to protect your peace from outsiders. Once that is disturbed no matter how much you want that person around you must remove them out your life. Your mental state isn’t worth the headache. Before concluding I need to get rid of toxic friends determine if you have become toxic.  If so, work on that so you can be a better person for yourself and others. The energy you are getting from other people could be what you are giving out inadvertently.

What is your experience with toxic friends? And how did you conclude to remove them from your life? Did you realize that you were becoming toxic? Is so, how did you fix it?