If there is one thing that we have learned during the pandemic is that mental health is extremely important for everyone. One could get overwhelmed with all of the expectations that a person would have to do on a daily basis: be a hard working employee at the 9-5 job, be a good spouse for your significant other, be a good parent for your children and/or animals, be a good person for your friends and extended family. The list can go on and on.
Add into the mix of running your business in the midst of a pandemic and having everything shut down within the few weeks of operations and life can be quite depressing to say the least. You are trying to navigate your way around working from home full-time with all of the added pressure of performing at your best or else be at the risk of being sent back into the workplace. You are trying to be supporting and understanding to your spouse while dealing with your problems and insecurities. It's not an easy thing to do on a daily basis: expecting yourself to show up to be the best version of yourself and not talk about the daily stresses that one has to deal with and overcome on a daily basis.
Yet the beauty of the pandemic taking place is this: it literally gave everyone an opportunity to hit the reset button to get our priorities back in order. For us to stop doing everything that we are doing and think about the things that are really important in life and why. As a result, we implemented some permanent changes that we felt like it was necessary for us to be successful not only for our 9-5 jobs, the business itself, but everything else outside of our working life.
The world had an opportunity to stop doing everything that we were doing and stay still for the time being. Some families grew stronger while others grew apart. We get stronger and one of the reasons why was because we practice mindfulness in the form of gratitude. It's not every day that one would have the opportunity to see your loved ones 24 hours a day, 7 hours a week. There are some people that want to spend more time with their spouses but when they have the opportunity to do so, they realize they're not the person that they thought they were. When you live with someone and you're force to interact with them 24/7 hours, you have to deal with them on every single problem on a continuous basis.
Conflict has a beautiful way of showing us who a person really is when their backs are against the wall. We couldn't run away from our problems anymore. Some people took this time period to make a lot of excuses on why we couldn't travel overseas or see our friends; we took this time to for personal and professional development both for ourselves as individuals and as an unit. As a result, we are more grateful towards one another and towards other people that are authentic people in our lives.
In the midst of the pandemic, the police brutality that were occurring in Richmond, Virginia, the numerous Confederate flags that we saw in various places throughout the Mid-Atlantic, we really had to stop and take some deep breaths. There were numerous times that I didn't work full 40 hours work weeks because I realize the money that I was making wasn't worth the anxiety and fear that I was dealing on a daily basis. It doesn't make sense to work for money and have your mental health decline. I had to understand that this is was an unusual situation and this wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. So I had to stop thinking about the future and instead focus on the present for what it is. I had to make a mental shift within my mindset and stop having this belief system that I had all of the time in the world (even though we did) and appreciate the moments today.
One of the things that really helped out a lot early one was walking. The YMCA was closed and other gyms around the city were closed as well. Due to the fact that the world has slowed down a lot changed the quality of air to changed; it was much cleaner and easier to breathe outside. A single 30 minutes walk reduce the anxiety that I was feeling in my body. Going a 7 mile hike on the weekend literally exhausted my fear and anxiety throughout my body. It made it easier for me to cope with the day to day interactions with my life and easier to go to sleep. Plus I felt more productive because I was doing something that was good for my body.