Aren’t you tired of reading news and articles about COVID-19? I am. I’m tired of hearing about the risks, I’m tired of the lockdowns, I’m tired of keeping my kids inside our home and not being able to take them to enjoy the outdoors, I’m tired of being afraid of catching the virus whenever we take our trips to the supermarket, I’m tired of seeing reckless people who don’t wear their masks and insist on putting themselves at risk, I’m tired of not being able to take the bus and go out of town, ….the list goes on and on!
When the lockdown started, I was okay. Being introverted, I welcomed the reason not to attend parties and meet-ups, and just be with family. We were hearing bad news after another but I was able to hold myself together somehow and even reached out to give hope and encouragement to others, whether in private or as a participant in an event.
But the beginning of 2021 was a totally different story. COVID-19 wasn’t backing down, I was disappointed with my own city’s slow vaccination process, the daunting news of Delta and new variants, it was just too much and the fatigue just started getting to me.
I struggled for air. I needed to breathe! I would wake up at ungodly hours feeling extremely anxious. I was starting to see people in bad light. And at some point, boundaries were being crossed and I was feeling falsely burdened. I was getting angry all the time and was raising hell in our tiny 21 square feet home. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
That’s when I knew I had to make changes. I knew I just can’t run things the way I used to. Something’s gotta give!
I wish I can say I was totally crying out to God but the truth is, I was in such a mess, I couldn’t even get words out to God about how I was feeling and what I was thinking. I just kept trying to read my Bible and started stalking my friend, Michelle’s IG for book recommendations. I was in trouble!
That’s when I decided I couldn’t take care of people other than my own children and my family. At least not at the level I’ve usually been doing. I know it sounds selfish, and believe me, I’ve been back and forth on it, but it was clear I have to let go and take care of myself first or everything (most specifically the relationships that matter to me) will fall apart.
I’ve felt the silent judgement from people involved, but I’m okay with it. I am accountable to the LORD and it’s my time and relationship with Him that I was primarily fighting for, so I was confident it will all fall into place when the time is right.
Nowadays, aside from the Bible, I’ve been reading books that will help me in my spiritual journey. I started reading Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton and joined Michelle’s Zoom discussions about it. The book, in a nutshell, addresses spiritual fatigue and re-alignment to what the Bible says about our Christian mindset and lifestyle, and letting go of false expectations.
I also started painting again, slowly picking up where I left off. I still have a portrait painting course I signed up for but I’m not feeling it. I did a couple of projects with The Virtual Instructor on YouTube and also been participating in a local watercolour community on Facebook called Watercolor Afficionados.
I’ve been shutting down my laptop after work hours and have only been accepting blog projects that give me ample time to think through and be creative, and the room to write freely.
Speaking of writing, I’ve started working on things I love like writing songs, and hopefully, finish my first book. We’ll see.
I have lessened time on Facebook in the evening. It’s a struggle, too, because I realised how impatient I’ve become when it comes to information. We used to wait days or even months for results, for news, for updates, but I found myself struggling to keep myself from checking my phone after I’ve put away my laptop.
When my husband and I walk to the supermarket, I try to look around and really see the world, feel the wind and the heat, just being aware of the presence of God in my everyday. I try to sit still at our balcony from time to time and just look out and watch planes pass by or the movement of the cars at the bridge across our building.
When we had the chance to run off to a safe place for children to play and enjoy the outdoors, we did. Even though it was just for one day. At this point, we’d take any chance we get.
I watch movies when I want, watch BTS videos on YouTube when I feel like it, play music, sing my lungs out when I’m bursting or spend time planting and repotting my plants in the balcony. My old vegetable garden have turned into a sanctuary filled with flowers and cheap ornamental plants.
I’ve been working out even without a workout accountability group – simply because I love the sense of accomplishment it gives me each time- I have been trying to watch my food intake, but the weight is not coming off as quickly as before. But I’m still trying.
Even our homeschooling is customised to adapt to the season. The kids are happier, we are happier.
Before I end, let me just share with you this Psalm of David:
Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16)
This is where my heart is right now. My heart has been placed in God’s hand and I’m letting Him care for me and heal me, restore me.
If you ever feel fatigued, remember this, God cares about you and how you feel. It’s not what you do for Him and for others that He cares about, but you. He cares about you. So don’t be afraid to leave everything behind for the meantime so you have your time of refreshing from Him.
As Ruth Haley Barton said in her book, “When we don’t attend to our vulnerabilities and instead try to repress it all and keep soldering on, we get weary from holding it in. Eventually it leaks out in ways that are damaging to us and to others.”
Momma, you need to take care of you, too.
Practicing self-care can help alleviate the psychological distress and anxiety caused by the pandemic and prevent lasting adverse psychological outcomes. Let’s all take care of ourselves and surely this will end soon.
PS – I am glad you started painting again. It helps reduce stress and anxiety. Make sure to have enough rest.
Self care is important not just only during pandemic. I think people nowadays usually feel the guilt if they focus on theirselves especially for us, our Fiipino culture, we always share what we have, make sacrifices for our loved ones. These are not wrong, but we also need to love ourselves by making sure we are mentally fit and happy inside
Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.
Self-care is of utmost importance these days, especially when we are under a lot of stress on a day-to-day basis. A few small breaks will go a long way.
Self-care is more important than any material in this world. We must have it so that we can also care for the people that are important to us.
I can totally relate with your experience and it’s good that you able to let it out and figure some stuff out. I think we all need a vacation asap, someplace where we can be free and not worry about anything at all! We deserve that by now.
I totally relate. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and I’ve also picked up my guitar and my make up, which can be close to painting with you I guess. After all, I’m doing a concept for watercolor makeup looks hahaha! I even joined a makeup contest, just to try and find my center once again without having to try and go travel which is what I usually did before with my kids and husband… We really deserve to be free from this disease ugh
Ang hirap mag self care kung ikaw lang nagawa sa house with minimal help ugh.. anyhoo. Im happy nakapag pa maniped at hair treatment ako before ecq.
these are all true. things are different and the way we should behave and handle ourselves are different too. so, pls take time to take a break and self check.
These lockdowns had me isolated for way too long. I’m a full-blown extrovert and staying indoors is driving me mad. I can totally understand when you said you couldn’t take care of other people other than your family. We HAVE to take care of ourselves first in order to do our best for anyone else. It’s like putting on your own oxygen mask in the airplane before assisting others.