Deep Breaths

By Anonymous

2020 as it is today is definitely not what I imagined it to be on New Year’s Eve. Even as I made the same New Year’s Resolutions I always did, I knew this year was going to be different. Like everyone else, this was going to be my year! The “New Year New Me” trope definitely resonated with me. I started off pretty well, too! I was going to the gym, I made time for myself, I worked hard, and I also tried to let loose… a little. Then came COVID, and we’re back to the drawing board. All my plans for this year had to be adjusted. A little, or maybe even a lot.

I’m an international student and I haven’t seen my family since January. I had planned to go back home at the end of November, but as expected, my flight got cancelled. I knew it was going to happen and I knew that going home may not have been the most realistic and wise decision in the midst of a pandemic. However, when the cancellation was confirmed, I may not have admitted it at the time, but I was disheartened. I felt emotional, helpless and worried about when I’d be able to see my family next. 

However, I’m a firm believer that it’s all about perspective and what we do with the opportunities we get and the challenges that we face. In hindsight, I’ve grown a lot during this pandemic, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what is truly important. One of the most important things I learned, is that my health, encompassing physical, emotional and mental domains, is of utmost priority, especially during this pandemic. I also learned that I could either focus on all the problems and the negatives, or I could focus on the solutions and be more positive. 

This is definitely easier said than done. 

Some ways I dealt with all my emotions during the pandemic was by reflecting on things I am thankful for. I’m thankful for the friends I have here, I’m thankful for being in a safe country. I’m thankful for having access to food and water, living in a home that is warm and comfortable. I’m thankful that I still have the opportunity to continue my education. I’m thankful that I have more time on my hands to have long video chats with my family. 

Another thing I did was I tried to still achieve the goals I wanted to achieve, but by changing the means with which they’ll be achieved. I’ll be honest, when the gyms shut down, I was really sad. I loved the adrenaline rush from lifting weights, I was excited about strength training, and I found it to be a great mental break from studying. But I realised I could do the same thing outside the gym as well. I could go for regular morning walks/runs, play sports with my housemate at the park near my house, go bike riding, or even watch YouTube videos for at-home workouts. 

The moral of the story is, I learned that a lot of the times, it’s not what opportunities we get that are important or determine our success, but it’s also what we make of those opportunities. This may well be an opportunity for more self-growth, to attend to things we didn’t have time to attend to, and really re-centre our attention to the things that really matter to us!

Find that passion and make the most of the time we got with this Pandemic and let’s come out at survivors! And remember to get your daily water intake and vitamin D 🙂

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