Remember in March when we all thought that we would be in quarantine for about two weeks, then gradually return to our normal lives? Now, we’ve been under these surreal conditions for half of the year, and despite the “new normal” narrative being touted everywhere, the days continue to feel like an eternal fever dream. The state of being in a surreal period in history has pushed many of us to:
dissociate (verb) - the act of disconnecting from your thoughts or emotions in order to cope with a disturbing or painful reality.
You might have experienced moments of dissociation without even noticing. Think about it - our bodies (and minds) are wired to do whatever it takes to protect us from any perceived threats, and what’s more threatening than the perpetual panic and uncertainty of a global pandemic? On top of that, our internal worlds are still as chaotic as they were pre-pandemic - we still have classes to attend, we still have fights with our loved ones, and we still have rent to pay. It’s easy to slip into a state of detachment, and frankly, it’s okay to give in to escapism from time to time. However, constantly running away from the frightening factors around us won’t make said factors disappear. Instead, it will leave you mentally exhausted from the mental gymnastics performed to avoid them.
Change your perspective - rather than avoiding a scary external reality, recreate your internal one.
What do you want your life to be like?
Chances are that you had big, structured ideas for things you wanted to try, places you wanted to go, and goals that you wanted to achieve. Whether or not COVID-19 affected those plans directly, it’s likely that the global shift changed the trajectory of your year in an irreversible way. While you should definitely allow yourself to mourn what should have been, ultimately, you need to get back to a place of dreaming again. The things you were most looking forward to got cancelled? Find new things to look forward to, and if you can’t find any, create them yourself.
The beauty in doing this is that your plans don’t have to be big, long-term or even fully fleshed out. It can be as simple as . What matters is the intention behind the act, which is to fulfill yourself, even if just temporarily. Continuously putting this intention to action solidifies its value in your brain, and consequently re-wires you to constantly seek fulfilment in your everyday life.
Understand the power of purpose.
This period of social isolation has forced us to get to know ourselves in a way we never had to before - or maybe, in a way that we never got the chance to do before. (Perspective: the glass is not half empty, but half full.) We are so used to doing things out of obligation: we have to take this class, we have to do this workout, we have to work at this job. This mindset is no fault of ours, because it’s simply how we’re conditioned to think in order to succeed in a transactional, fast-paced society. However, the way the world is at a standstill has given us a unique opportunity to reflect on why we do the things we do, and how much they actually benefit us. Do the things we engage in on a daily basis truly enrich our lives, or are we merely doing what we must to in order to survive the week? This place of discomfort that we’re all unwillingly living in has pushed us to be more creative, intentional and present with doing things for ourselves and our genuine enjoyment. Lean into that. Embrace that. Understand the power in that. You could very well discover something that you are so passionate about, that it becomes a fixture in your life for years to come. Create the life you want to live.
The volatile aura surrounding our world today serves as a reminder of the sanctity of every day, every second, and every breath that we are given. You can fight the urge to dissociate by purposefully curating an internal world so satisfying that it eliminates the need to find an escape. Make every single day a personal homecoming - a celebration of yourself and your ability to bounce back, even when all the odds appear to be stacked against you.