By Dobijoki Emanuela
Solitude often creates the space and capacity to think, feel and understand oneself. Being in solitude with intention can lead to purposeful growth and change that can strengthen one’s self-esteem, self-love and overall behaviour. COVID 19 challenged many folks to unexpectedly dive deep into their ‘self’ through isolation. Although this was for the sake of safety for all, many people, myself included, did not know what to expect from ‘quarantining’. Being told that we must socially distance from others for the safety of those that we love had many turn to self for guidance and strength through this pandemic.
It took me about a week or two form when restrictions were enforced to realize that I was really going to be spending a long period of time by myself, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I mean I love to be alone, I’m an introvert, but usually it’s by choice and not due to government orders. In a way I felt like I was breaking a law if even for a second, I thought that I would go out to see my sisters who lived twenty minutes away from me. Being in quarantine made me realize how many hours of the day I spend outside of my home, while constantly being surrounded by others. I didn’t realize how beautiful and relaxing it would feel to work from home and actually take a nap for my break, or cook fresh food and not meal prep. I began to realize that this quarantine thing was bringing me back to myself, a part of me that I had lost within the daily capitalist mindset that I upheld, that of which focused mostly on survival rather than living.
After week three of working from home I knew that this was not going to be a short-term work from home experience and that COVID 19 was truly a deadly virus taking the lives of many. While I acknowledged how the pandemic affected me on an external level when it came to physical safety – I began to structure a routine so that I could mentally and emotionally get through this interesting time. I turned to my personal development practices. As I scrolled through social media I recognized that many people were encouraging their followers to practice self-care and to use this time to do things that they never had time for previously; whether it was starting a business; learning to drive, writing their book or just being in solitude. Many of us turned to personal development practices to help us navigate this interesting and unclear stretch.
As a personal development consultant and strategist, I recognized that I not only had to practice what I preach, but I had to solidify my practice by teaching myself how to master self-love through an unprecedented time like that of which we live today. I created a schedule and stuck with it until I needed to change it; it included meditation, morning and afternoon walks, communicating with family at least once a day, and self-care days, where I found a new weekly self-care activity to partake in. Creating a schedule helped me realize that I was in control of my sanity and capacity, therefore I have a duty to protect it through caring and treating myself.
While on one side we are fighting for the liberation of Black life through criminal, social, political and economic justice – on the contrary we seek solitude, self-care, and self-love as a fundamental practice through surviving this pandemic. While some may see these two realities as being separate, they are not – activism and self-care are intersectional. In order for us to have the mental, emotional and physical capacity to continue to fight and build with community, we must build internally. As a recommendation to those who are doing their best to survive this pandemic, here are three personal development tips to use:
- Create a list of things that you love to do, highlight 2 or three of them and intentionally find space in your calendar to practice them.
- It’s okay not to be okay – call a therapist, counsellor, coach and seek guidance from a professional who is ready to help you get through what you’re experiencing
- Check in with loved ones, those both near and far. Although in person activities seem more intimate, there is nothing more intimate during the pandemic that virtual gatherings, virtual date nights and zoom parties.
None of us have ever experienced something like this before, be gentle with yourself, embrace solitude, learn new skills and live.
A Youth’s Reflection on Lockdown
by Ms. Tenacity
This photo represents how I’ve felt about COVID-19. For me the lockdown meant freedom. Mental & emotional freedom. For the first time in a long time I felt like I had an opportunity to breathe. The lower half of this image represents the anxiety, depression & mind clutter I would grapple with on a daily basis. Before COVID-19 I felt like I was in a rat race. I was surviving, I wasn’t living. I had an endless list of goals. I kept telling myself “once I achieve these goals, then I’ll be happy”. Before COVID-19 true happiness seemed like a mirage. The upper half of this image represents the freedom & liberation I’ve found. During lock-down I noticed that I was less anxious. The lockdown gave me permission to slow down & smell the roses. I embarked on a journey of self-discovery where I’ve become more in-tune with myself, my family & my faith. Since COVID-19 I’ve been able to complete alot of the passion projects I never seemed to have enough time or energy for before. I find that I’m more well rested, at peace & zealous that I’ve ever been. I feel like I’m walking on clouds & basking in an ocean of love that I have created for myself. Through this experience I’ve learned that true happiness is created in the present moments & lasting memories with those you love. Happiness is not a destination, it is not a list of checked off tasks or accomplishments.
Podcast: COVID-19 and Survival
In this podcast Gabby and Dobijoki (hosts of You are Power Radio) discuss how COVID 19 has impacted them personally and how they have individually managed throughout these past six months. Both co-hosts touch on topics related to health, wellness, survival and being present.
You are Power Radio is a radio show and podcast that provides a platform for guests to own their power by telling their stories. With an emphasis on personal development, YAP Radio encourages guests and listeners to use their personal stories as leverage to success.