Dealing With Despair: Staying Grateful And Grounded

Journal Thoughts

I miss being able to hug my family members. I miss smiling at familiar, unmasked faces on my college campus. I miss screaming at concerts until I have no voice left, as I move in sync with sweaty bodies around me. I miss cozy sleepovers filled with hysterical laughing fits. I miss being able to spontaneously leave my house, without needing a real reason why. I miss sitting in classrooms with my peers. I miss seeing others in person. I miss browsing at the grocery store without worrying about bringing a deadly sickness back home to my loved ones. I miss not having to live in constant fear about the state of the world around us.

It’s no secret, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Schools and work places have gone online, people are confined to their homes, and everyone seems to be on edge. Though, if you read my last blog post, you’ll know I am not one to sulk in sadness. Rather, I try to look on the bright side of every (and I mean every) situation. Do I regret all of the little things that I had taken for granted in the months leading up to this crisis? Absolutely. Have I been continuously thinking about what life would be like right now if we weren’t in quarantine? Without a doubt. Have I let these thoughts consume my mind in its entirety? Some days it feels this way.

However, if I have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that no aspect of life should taken for granted. (Not once did I expect to yearn for the opportunity to put away my groceries without having to wipe them down first.) Thus, I’ve been trying to be more appreciative of all of the little things around me.

And, to push this one step further and counter these feelings of despair, I have given myself a task.

A How-To Guide On Staying Sane While Staying Isolated

Journal Thoughts

It seems like the world has come to a temporary halt. I’m not sure about all of you, but these past few months have felt like I’ve been living in a dream that I can’t seem to wake up from. (Though, not the good kind of dream, of course.) Even with things slowly starting to open back up, these feelings haven’t lessened any.

Wherever you’re from, whatever your current living situation may be, please know my heart goes out to you. I am thinking of all of those who have gotten sick/know someone who has, those who don’t have a good home life and are stuck in a toxic environment, those surviving off of what little food is left in the house, those who have lost their source of income and are unsure of how to pay their bills now, those whose mental health feeds off of social interactions, those whose major plans have been drastically changed or cancelled, and those who are just struggling to cope during these weirdly terrifying times.

I’ll be honest– waking up everyday, I am hit with a feeling of helplessness. The things I’ve been looking forward to for months– concerts, vacations, my summer job– all have become a source of sadness as each and every one became cancelled. And yes, I am completely aware that these “hindrances” that I’ve listed may seem like shallow, first-world problems, but everyone deserves a right to their feelings.

However, as with everything, I always push to look on the positive side of any situation. Although the current state of the world is worrisome, exhausting, and simply scary, there are still things we can do to help our mental states. If you’re sick of everyone being overly optimistic in times like these, then feel free to hop off. I am not saying everything is going to be okay and disregarding all of the damage being done to practically every aspect of life. However, I also am not going to sit here and let it get the best of me.

So, if you’re having trouble finding ways to alleviate some of your anxieties, here are few things that I’ve personally done at home that are helping me to stay as sane as one can while in quarantine.

Seeking Out Seafood: Giving Fish a Second Chance

Good Eats

Picture this. You’re seated at a rectangular table with your family, at a restaurant you’ve never been to before. A slight breeze from the swinging kitchen doors swirls around your legs as waiter after waiter brings out steaming trays of exotic-looking, colorful foods. You’re able to catch a quick glimpse of the chefs at the grill, turning over pink cuts of meat with sharp silver tongs. The stovetop sizzles as the cuts are laid to rest, with oil popping around them. Finally, a plate is placed before you. Fleshy white meat sits in neatly thinned slices, aside a vibrant lemon wedge. A citrusy armona dances in the air as you gently squeeze droplets of lemon onto the fish. After tearing off a small chunk of the juicy meat, you gingerly place it on your tongue, letting the flavor soak in. The zesty taste of the lemon blends perfectly with the peppered breading that coats the fish. This is your first time trying seafood, and you are beyond satisfied. 

If only my experiences trying seafood went exactly like that. On the contrary, I cannot name a single time where I have found any sliver of happiness while eating fish. 

We All Have Emotions, So Why Not Embrace Them?

Self-Care
This was taken at the beautiful “Path of Life Garden” in Windsor, Vermont.

I miss my mom every second of every day.

I feel it most at night, when I’m laying awake by myself. There are only so many things that can distract your mind when you’re in the silence of a darkened room.

It happens with long car rides too. Car rides can actually be the worst. I have an hour and a half drive from my university to my hometown, and doing it alone is enough to drive me mad some days. Podcasts aren’t so effective if your brain chooses to ignore them, no matter how hard you try to listen.