Emotionally Navigating Through a Pandemic

"I'm not doing enough."


Sound familiar? Ever had that thought, or just thought that you're not enough, period?


Well, I certainly have. This line of thinking has been an underlying belief through much of my life. As I grow older and wiser, I've come to realize that voice is a lie. Even if I (or you, for that matter) still have room to improve and grow, my faults don't make me "less than." They make me human.


I had come to this realization a while back, and before this whole COVID mess, I had gotten much better at ignoring those thoughts. I have actively practiced self-kindness and self-compassion, because through those practices I have seen real change in myself and my life. Let me tell you, it's definitely been a practice, but in these last couple years, the voice that tells me I'm not enough has been much, much quieter.


And then this pandemic happened.


Sometimes I think the universe does this stuff on purpose. As if it's saying, "Oh so you think you've healed...well let's test that theory out then!" Because it turns out all those thoughts are still back there, and through this pandemic the muted whispers have returned to a loud roar.


You see, much of my identity has been tied to my career. Healer, therapist, yoga teacher. Those titles are more than titles to me, they are a part of who I am. To not only have my massage career stripped from me, but also to be labeled as "non-essential" has admittedly caused moments of pain, confusion, and has most certainly has bruised my ego.


All the sudden I had all this free time (which has been disconcerting in itself since I'm a notorious "busy-bee"), where I have been forced to question and evaluate who I am and what I do.



As I sat in my home, with more time on my hands than ever, trying to adjust and continue to be of service in this new, strange world where I can't provide physical healing touch, my thoughts have run in circles.


"You're never gonna have this much time again. You should use this time to get everything done around the house. You should learn new massage techniques. You should start your YouTube channel. You should be better at social media. You should create a subscription site. You're not doing enough, you need to do more."


That is way too much criticism wrapped up in the form of "should" language. And more so, that is not near enough recognition and appreciation of all that I have done during quarantine to show up, to be of service, to adapt, and to take care of my own mental health.


I'm tempted here to list all the ways in which I have done "well" but that's the thing...I don't need to justify what I am or am not doing right now. This is a freaking global pandemic! We are all being affected in some way or another and these are unprecedented times.


I know deep down that there is no right way to go through this and there is no right way to handle this. And yet, that voice persists.

I write this in hopes that sharing my struggle may resonate with you. If you're anything like me (super Type A, perfectionist, over-achiever), you've probably experienced similar "not enough" thoughts throughout your life, and they may be magnified during this time.


I want you to know that I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I am right there with you.


The worst part is, I get frustrated with myself for having such thoughts, because I thought I did the work already. I thought I had healed that part of myself.


So this is my reminder, both to me and to you, that healing is not linear. Don't be hard on yourself when things resurface. Don't kick yourself when you're already down. The best thing we can do when these things arise is to give ourselves the space to feel it and experience it.


When this quarantine first started happening, I fought myself on the days I felt bad or sad. I would tell myself that I shouldn't be lazy and that I should make use of all this time. I would try to push myself to do things, but then I'd end up feeling more exhausted and that one bad day would turn into multiple days.


Now, what I've learned is that if I'm having one of those days, I go with it. I give myself permission to lay in bed, or watch Netflix, or read a book and do nothing else. Maybe I'll do a child's pose or move through some cat and cows. Because while I may never have this much time to do all these productive things again, I will also probably never have this much time to rest again.


So I rest when I feel the call to rest, and then in the next day or two my energy has returned. I use that energy to do the things I want to get done. I ride the wave of motivation and productivity for as long as it lasts, but I don't force it. When it inevitably fizzles out, I give myself permission to fizzle out with it, too.


I also make time for self-care practices like journaling, doing DIY face masks, giving myself coconut oil massages, practicing yoga, having solo dance parties in my living room, cuddling with my puppies, and deep cleaning my home. These practices serve as physical reminders to stay loving and stay kind to myself.


I hope that you, too, can give yourself permission and space to rest when you need it, enjoy the waves of energy when you feel it, and through it all remember to practice self-kindness, self-care, and self-love in whatever form you can find it.

You're doing enough,

You are enough.

I love you.

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Adrienne Johnson

Massage Therapist.

Yoga Instructor.

HHP. CST-1.

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