It has been a while since I wrote, but I just couldn’t get myself to focus enough to write a coherent piece. As I think everyone can agree that 2020 did not turn out as expected. Who would have thought that we had to deal with one of those dystopian plot-lines, an actual global pandemic. I did not.
Once again normal life changed. Our habits had to change. Where, when and with who we go somewhere suddenly has become a lot more complicated. Now I for one am glad that we don’t have those obligatory polite kiss-on-the-cheek greetings with acquaintances, but I do miss hugs. But I digress.
For me, a lot of the restrictions that came from being in lockdown, felt less restricting compared to my friends. I mean, going out for dinner or going to parties was something I already almost never did. In a way I felt that I had already mastered a restricted life due to my brain injury. There were even some silver linings. As it suddenly was okay to work from home all the time. Or to have video call meetings, rather than having to travel halfway across the country for a meeting. Even the restaurants would deliver to you.
However, there now was also a lot of anxiety, uncertainty and fear. For my own health and job, for friends and family and for society as a whole.
If ever there was a time to be more mindful of you own metal health, this was it. I quickly came to realize that my addiction to news was not helping me in any way. I had to be more aware of the things that were in my control and that I could change. And so I decided to follow a Coursera course ‘The science of well-being’ about what we think make us happy and what actually makes us happy. (If you have the time and mental bandwidth to focus, I can’t recommend this course enough!) The best part was that the homework put into practice what you had learned, by getting a new daily practice a week.
Over these past months I’ve learned that being physically active every day, connecting with friends throughout the week, lessen my news intake and time on social media and practice sleep meditations all help me to stay balanced and well. And more importantly, I learned the different controls I can use to try and improve my mental health.
Making a change
I also was privileged enough to do one other thing. Well, a rather big thing. I bought a used van and had it converted into a tiny house. Before the pandemic I was already struggling with feeling stuck and captured in my life. In a way the pandemic served as a final push to get me to make some decisions and changes. In this case a camper van seemed like a logical choice in order to stay safe while also being able to travel the country again.
Making such a big decision and dealing with all the resulting decision making, paperwork and things that need to be done, meant that I kept finding (and crossing) my limits a lot. But, I did get through. Also I can now say that I’ve build a composting toilet and tinted my own windows.
I don’t know what next year will bring. All I can try to do is to make conscious choices and focus on the things that I can control. So I’ll be getting my van ready for the first overnight stay and focus on that for now.
I hope that you all are safe and well.