My Pandemic Shift - From Strong and Surviving to Real and Prioritizing

I have been strong through this whole pandemic. I obeyed the rules, took care of my children, gained a few pounds, kept the bills paid and food on the table, and maintained my mental health. I have supported friends by being a listening ear and visiting when the rules allowed. I continued with my masters degree and am only two months from graduating. I've even applied for my next educational adventure. I didn't miss any work, unless it was mandatory, I continued to volunteer with Celebrate Recovery, and attended church every Sunday, either virtual or in-person. I did whatever I needed to do to "make it through."

Well, I am so tired of that. I am tired of simply surviving. I have reached my maximum capacity of being strong for everyone else without any regard for how I am feeling, how I am handling the pandemic, and what I need to do to genuinely take care of myself - emotionally, mentally, and physically.

It's time I put myself on my priority list. Because, if I don't, I will have a break down which will make me no good for myself or anyone else. My cup is nearly empty and I need to spend some time doing what I need to fill my cup. What does that look like? I'm glad you asked :)

First, it means no more tv. I've been using tv and movies as a way to bury emotion and push down my feelings instead of acknowledging and addressing them. I used it as a way to remain between a 4-6 on a 1-10 emotional scale.

Second is games on my phone such as Scrabble and Wordscapes. These keep my brain active, which is exactly what I wanted so I could escape. When I was busy with mind-engaging games, I couldn't think about the reality and emotion I was hiding from.

Taking out time-wasters, procrastination-helpers, and emotion-hiders means I need to replace them with things that will fill me up - things that make me, me, things I enjoy, and things that tell me I am a priority; that I matter. Even when I feel like I don't matter to anyone else, I need to undoubtedly know that I matter to myself, and I matter to God. And, even more than that, I need to learn that my feelings matter. That is one area I have struggled with my whole life.

So, for the next couple of months, I am putting myself as a priority. I am going to say "no" to others when I need to, I am going to focus on things that replenish and rejuvenate me, and I am going to express my feelings. How? Let's see.

  1. Blogging and journalling. This will be the primary way I share my thoughts and feelings since I really don't have a person to share deeply with. A minister in his sermon yesterday talked about talking about it. I needed to hear that message and it's time I start talking.

  2. Tidying up around the house helps with mental clarity. Instead of games on my phone, I will rearrange, sort, and organize things - kinesthetics.

  3. A focus I set for myself for 2021 is to use the stuff I have, and if I don't use it, get rid of it. I've stopped saving things "just in case" and I now ship out what I have no current use for.

  4. Bible reading and prayer stay on my list, but have moved to the top. I have decided to be more intentional about inviting God into everything I do. Since I started this, I have been amazed at how many times I eat without evening thanking God for the food. Doing life with Him is an absolute must.

  5. Taking quiet time when I need it instead of turning on a show. This could mean complete silence or having music in my ears, but doing nothing else - this is a resetting activity for me. This could also be in the form of playing a song or two on the piano, which I have severely neglected lately, or cuddling up with Brave for a bear nap.

  6. Using my gifts for others is a major thing that fills me up. Yesterday my pastor talked about using our gifts, and that is something I need to keep doing.

  7. Basically, I need to replace life-sucking, useless, time-wasters with things that build me up, fill me up, and contribute positively to my life.

Am I going to do this perfectly right out of the gate? No, of course not. However, I know that the benefits of getting back up after a fall are going to be extremely worth it.