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How I found light during such a dark time

By: Ana Mamula, Contributor

I remember being on campus and getting an email saying school would be off for a week due to COVID-19. Little did I know we would still be close to the same circumstances to this day. The pandemic brought every individual’s nightmare to life; we couldn’t see our loved ones or family, people were dying or getting sick and it became difficult to even go out for essential supplies. I felt like I was living in constant fear every day. 

I expected the pandemic to have such a horrible effect on me. How could it not, given the rise in mental illnesses, the death rate, and the difficulty in providing for your family? Don’t get me wrong, I was scared. I was and still am so terrified of seeing the world shift overnight to a new normal that we were automatically expected to adjust to. My heart continues to go out to anyone or anyone’s family who has lost their life to this virus. 

Sometime in the months I spent at home, my mindset shifted. I wanted to create some light from all the darkness that surrounded us. As someone who enjoyed my own company, I also felt that getting accustomed to the shift in socialization wasn’t as difficult for me. 

During my days at home, I was forced to really sit with myself. I started delving into habits I didn’t previously have time for or that I had pushed aside. I began truly taking the time to take care of myself and my wellbeing by working out, journaling, doing yoga, going on walks and cooking. The pandemic even helped a few people with mental illnesses. In fact, an article by The Washington Post explains that the many stressors of life pre-COVID immensely affected one’s mental wellbeing.

When those stressors were largely removed, even in the form of losing a job surprisingly, some individuals felt relief.

Similarly, I was forced to sit with my thoughts, something I rarely had time for prior to the pandemic. I had the time to reflect on myself, my life and take stock of everything I was proud of. I started looking ahead and rethinking my goals for myself, even taking the time to create a mood board. Not only did I reflect on the present, I had time to think about what I wanted to change in my life plan.  

Although this may seem all positive, of course, the pandemic was still immensely heavy and hard. I still had difficult days and I hoped for things to go back to normal again.

At the same time, I found so much peace within myself and grew so much as an individual that it all became a little bit lighter.

All of the activities the pandemic left us with were self-love activities and I feel as though for myself as well as for others, it made us grow in a way we never knew we needed.

Additionally, an article by National Alliance on Mental Illness found that due to the lack of expectations from society during the pandemic, many people have found that they’re more at ease while having to stay at home.

While the pandemic has helped me with reconnecting with myself, my heart always will go out to those who struggled immensely. All I can hope for is that there are others like myself who have found comfort in the unique circumstances that we’ve found ourselves in.

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