One thing COVID-19 taught me about Mental Health

So here in Boston we’ve been practicing social distancing since March 13. As an educator, I try to find the lesson in most situations because it helps me make sense of things.

Here is one thing COVID-19 has taught me. 

Self-care is an ongoing process and a habit.

I know that might sound cliche but as someone who struggles with anxiety, going through an unplanned Quarantine and literally stopping your life in its tracks can have some pretty devastating effects on your mental health. The abrupt adjustment to my life really had me messed up for a while.

This is why I’ve been MIA! 

Photo by Keenan Constance

For me, it’s always been easy to show up for others. Anyone who works in the human services field would agree. Most of the time we thrive on helping others, however there are moments where we have a hard time showing up for ourselves. 

When I was told to drop everything and start planning to teach remotely, my anxiety was at an all-time high and I was panicked that I honestly didn’t have a plan in place. I stayed up late got my plans together and tossed and turned all night. I remember waking up the first day of remote learning at 8 am and checking my email to see if any of the students had logged into Google classroom.

It was crickets for several weeks.

I was crushed. 

The more I time I spent at home the more I began to realize that my previous schedule allowed me to plan when I was going to participate in my self-care activities because my life was prioritized around work. I knew when and where I would journal or do one of my favorite yoga videos on Youtube. I literally penciled in the time in my Passion Planner and checked it off when completed. Now having a life where the structure was more flexible, flexibility became a problem for me.

Then the death of George Floyd occurred. I was devastated. Emotional. More importantly, I was TIRED. I was tired of smiling every day when I wasn’t okay. I was tired of pretending that the very same issues I have educated my students about since I became a teacher seemed to never end. The world I viewed with humanity never ceased to show me its savagery.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I stopped doing anything. I stopped blogging. I stopped posting on Instagram except for when I felt moved too. I stopped posting on Simply Fit by Bel with any type of consistency. I allowed myself to be consumed by content rather than a creator of content. I stopped providing value.

Time passed and the school year ended. During that time, I kept up with my regular telephone appointments with my therapist. One appointment in May has really stuck with me. In this session, I was complaining about how I felt like I wasn’t being productive in my business and my job was getting most of my time. I told him that I had been spending the majority of my free time doing nothing but working out twice a week. Instead of making me feel like I need to prioritize creating a schedule for my days, he said one thing that has stuck with me. 

He said: “Do you know it’s actually okay to rest your mind? Do you know It’s okay to binge-watch Netflix for hours and not feel guilty or feel like you HAVE to be productive?”

For women and in particular, for women of color, we have this desire, some might even call it a need to live up to the stereotype of being “strong”. The majority of us have always felt like we have to be the crazy glue that keeps everything together despite the fact that many days we are falling apart.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It also doesn’t help when the world consistently tells you to measure your Boss-ness by how productive you are and if you’re not in Grind mode, you aren’t really hustling. I believe this kind of thinking is actually counterproductive to acknowledging the need to understand that self-care is non-negotiable.

My version of self-care has changed many times in my life. I don’t think I ever realized that the things that I did when I was younger to self soothe aren’t necessarily the same things I need now. I never realized that it was okay, to change. It’s okay to not grind and rest. It’s okay to press pause for as long as you need to.

Contrary to popular belief, a lioness will always hunt a gazelle but the lioness will have better success at catching the gazelle if she is fully rested and hydrated.

My last post on Instagram was June 28. I’ve stepped back for a month. I needed it.

What have I done in the past month? 

Well….. I plan to show you! 

You can follow me now on Twitter!!! 

2 thoughts on “One thing COVID-19 taught me about Mental Health

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