Question: How’s the lockdown treating you?
I know it’s been a long time, but I’m back! For those of you who don’t remember me, my name is Andrew Gavin. I wrote an article for Takes One back in 2018, and I’m happy to say I’ll be a regular contributor to Takes One now. I just wanted to thank Ronald for giving me the opportunity.
Alright, cheesiness aside, how are you guys? I know right now the world is going through an unprecedented time period and I genuinely hope each and every one of you are staying safe and positive. Now, in my opinion, it doesn’t make sense for me to talk about dating at the moment, given the circumstances. After all, here in the U.S, everything is on lockdown. I’m definitely not going on any dates at the moment (don’t judge ok?). So I wanted to check in with you all and share my lockdown experience, in the hopes that the Takes One community can grow stronger during this time.
This is a crazy time. We are confronted by a silent enemy, so imperceptible that you may not know whether you’ve come in contact by this individual. Understandably, it makes sense as to why we have to stay quarantined to keep our loved ones, ourselves, and others around us safe. However, with this important effort, staying inside and away from our friends may have affected our mental health. This is what I want to talk about with the Takes One community today.
I was doing pretty well for the first month of quarantine. I focused on each day and tried my best to be grateful that I got to spend more time with my family. It helped that my commute shortened from an hour every morning to five minutes. I had more time to do anything I wanted given all the extra time I saved from commuting. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle that we’re all used to during the weekday. But after some time, I started focusing on what I didn’t have, instead of the things I did have. I started thinking about not being able to hang out with my friends after work, or go to my favorite coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon. I thought to myself, “When is this going to be over?” I thought about all of the times I took walking outside around other people for granted. I missed normal life. I still miss it. But I was really getting absorbed with what was missing from my life. Of course, this translated over to affecting my mood and made me upset.
During this time, I did what I always do when I’m upset – I stepped back and took some time to reflect on why I was upset. Of course, this was obvious – I couldn’t spend time with my friends or do what I enjoy doing on a daily basis. I realized by focusing on what I was lacking, I was getting stuck in a negative thought loop. After all, whatever you focus on, expands. So instead, I decided to focus on all of the positives this time has brought me and made me aware of. I started a gratitude journal in which I would write three things I was grateful for. This was especially important on the mornings I felt bummed out. I’ve been doing this for the past month now, and it’s been a great way to realize how lucky I really am. Some things that I’m grateful for, but not limited to, are: my family, my health, my friends, my job that I still have, the roof over my head, spending more time with my parents, having food to eat, being able to get more sleep on a daily basis, the opportunity to learn something new with the free time that I have, the opportunity to reflect and evaluate where I’m going in life, exercise and being able to channel my energy into exercise. But I think there was one main thing I realized – how lucky I am, and we all are, to be alive. What do I mean by being alive? I mean being able to take a deep breath and know you’re healthy, or connecting with those that you love, or appreciating being outside. The point is – I’ve realized there are a lot of things we may not be able to do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what we have done in the past and will be able to do them again in the future. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
I’ve also found that maintaining some productive habits have helped me feel good. For instance, I’ve found that exercising 4x a week in addition to daily meditation as helped me keep a clear head. As I mentioned earlier, I’m also trying to start adopting new habits – whether it’s cooking together with my mom on the weekends, or trying to teach myself guitar (which I’m still not great at), this quarantine experience has showed me all of the things that I have, all the things that I will have again, all the while introducing some new things into my life.
I want to hear from YOU all:
We will get through this, I promise. We will grow stronger both as humans, but also as a community. Takes One community, comment on what your experience has been these past couple weeks. I want to hear it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But remember, no matter what, we are here for you. If you ever want someone to talk to, please know you can reach out to either myself, Ronald, or the numerous other contributors part of Takes One. We love you all.
P.S: My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Hit me there. I promise I don’t bite.