We’ve all seen the memes, the posts and the headlines about this stay-at-home time being a time to reassess and take stock of our lives. We have taken an unprecedented pause as a society and there are significant things we can learn from that.
Many many people are experiencing unimaginable stress during this time, and that can run the gamut of scenarios — single people feeling immense loneliness, mothers mothering 24/7 a houseful of cabin-fever crazed kids with no break in sight, women trapped with an emotionally or physically abusive partner without the relief of a shift at work, unemployed workers and business owners scrambling to figure out how to survive financially, not to mention those who are immune-compromised and scared for their lives, those sick or struggling with a hospitalized loved one they can’t visit.
This is of course no spa retreat where we can take the time to be at peace and self-reflect. It’s essential to place any positive message and talk of the good to come out of our quarantine time within the context of honoring all of these struggles.
But we also shouldn’t feel bad for enjoying moments during our stay-at-home life. Quite to the contrary, we can celebrate these joys as revelations of what truly matters. Those moments I’ve heard described as our truest selves shining through.
So here, I come to you with a challenge to think about the past few weeks and what self-revelations you’ve experienced. What has made you want to cry tears of joy and what has made you feel like you’re about to pull your hair out? The time will come sooner than we may think when life is back to a new normal. How do you want your life to look then and how differently will it look from today’s life or the one you lived six months ago?
For me, I realized that some of the things I thought I needed to maintain happiness, I didn’t really need — in fact I didn’t even miss. Fast food, browsing trips that turn into shopping trips, constant stops at the grocery store for that missing ingredient — they were all just habits that my brain went to on autopilot, the paths of least resistance. Other things I thought I would miss, became transformed: breakfast with my bestie turned into FaceTime chats and long intimate text strings, chaotic family dinners out that usually cost double what I had planned turned into family time around the dinner table, Scrabble, and movie nights. People didn’t go away; settings just changed a bit. My schedule also became more routine and consistent and I realized so many times I was motivated to go out and do things out of FOMO rather than because I really wanted to do them.
So are you ready for a quiz? Well, let’s call it a self survey? Jot down your answers or print this page out and write in the spaces. Don’t overthink either – usually the truest answers are right at the surface of your thoughts!
If you could name five of your happiest moments from the stay-at-home time, what would they be?
Would those times have happened a few months ago the same way? If not, how would they have differed? Would they have been better, the same or worse back then?
What have you experienced as some of your biggest stressors during the stay-at-home time? When have you felt the most anxiety?
What new hobbies or interests have you found during this time?
What parts are you genuinely looking forward to having back in your life?
What things have you found you don’t need? What parts of your life seem simpler now?
What people/places/things will you allow back once you are not staying at home? What parts can you dismiss?
Are there things you’ve always put off trying or learning that you could do while at home? What would they be? How would you feel if you accomplished them?
After you answer these questions, share this survey with a friend and if you feel comfortable share your revelations with them. You might start a great conversation about your new perspective on things.
Each day, whether we are inside our homes or returning to life Post-COVID-19, we have the choice to approach it with gratitude. By taking stock of what we have experienced and reflecting on those moments, we can gain a better understanding of what truly matters to us.