I wanted to write about some important things I learned through reflection this summer. Since this summer wasn’t like ones in the past due to the novel COVID-19, I had a lot of time to spend with myself. I had to find new ways to socialize with strangers, friends, family, and even myself. Normally change was a trigger for my anxiety and the idea of excessive changes would cause me to shrivel inside. Usually I am someone who has to be doing things 24/7 and who has to be entertained. Being left with my own thoughts and too much free time is a nightmare for me. I know this sounds dramatic, but being stranded on an island alone is what it feels like for me to be alone for more than 24 hours. In the beginning of quarantine when I was away from school, family, and friends, I was anxious and consistently FaceTiming people in order to occupy my time. As quarantine extended, I learned many coping methods and found new habits that helped time pass in a much quicker and healthier way.
With that being said, let me share some of the things I learned about being alone. Sometimes alone time is very healthy for individuals and it can grow connections with yourself, and oddly enough, the people you aren’t with in the moment. I stopped calling people every second of the day and that helped me appreciate the conversations I had when I actually called people for a purpose. With my free time I was able to make lists of all sorts of goals and wishes that I have. I found it fun to create lists of things I want, and made budgets to make certain things like “retail therapy” possible. I started reading more books which used to be a hobby of mine when I was younger. The books taught me a lot, the stillness taught me even more, and the change in my overall confidence and happiness taught me the most. Being content with one's own company is not something that most people practice or are taught. At least I wasn’t. Through reading, watching TV, exercising, and other random activities that I sometimes don’t appreciate or get to do because I’m trying to coordinate doing it with someone else, I grew as a person mentally and emotionally. To put this in perspective, think about all the times you wanted to go to the gym or beach, but didn’t because you couldn’t find someone to go with. In those situations you end up stressing out to find plans and contact people. You end up missing out because you don’t go and you end up missing the chance to hear the sound of the ocean, or release endorphins. In the end you are inevitably adding more stress to yourself and losing opportunities to have positive experiences that will improve your overall wellness. So hopefully you read this quick little experience of mine and put some things into perspective. Make a list of things you want to do, things you do not want to do, things that make you upset, things that make you happy, and go from there. Happiness and health are not easy achievements, but are very possible and should be prioritized. Simply put, one cannot cannot grow or change if one does not give themselves the resources, or make the efforts.