Remember These 5 Words If You’re Struggling After a Year of COVID-19 Restrictions
It’s a month later.
As I write this, my last blog post was just over a month ago. It was a quick one — I wrote it almost frantically as I realized that Groundhog Day was coming up and, as it was based on Groundhog Day mirroring my journey with addiction, I needed to get it done quickly. This month has flown by. I have barely thought about this blog. Of course, it has only 28 days and that’s part of it, but that’s not the only thing. I have noticed this phenomenon of February feeling like it lasts only a week year after year.
But the more important point is that it’s a year later.
It’s now been over a year that COVID-19 has been a part of our lives. Can you believe it’s been a year?
When we first heard that we needed to stay at home as much as possible, wear masks, and that restaurants, businesses, schools and churches would temporarily close, they told us it would last only about two weeks. I don’t know about you, but I know that I can do anything for two weeks. I remember when I was in college, I would make the conscious decision at the beginning of a semester of classes that I hated that I could do anything for those few months.
I didn’t think about the other horrible classes I would have to endure to graduate. I just concentrated on getting through the current semester. Though it was more than two weeks, I knew I could make it because there was an end in sight.
You may have seen the 1986 movie, “The Money Pit,” with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. They also had to deal with the concept of “two weeks.” They realized that the house they bought for almost nothing had multiple problems after they moved in. They hired a contractor to rebuild practically the entire house. Even when it had holes in the walls, the water didn’t work, no stairs to the second floor and no electricity, he continually told them that it would only be “two weeks” until it was finished. As the work stretched out into months, he continued to say it would only be two weeks until it was done.
If we had known that a majority of the COVID-19 restrictions would last for a year, I think all of us would have panicked. It was hard enough to last those first two weeks… can you imagine if we had known it would be a year? Or even worse, that there is no definite end in sight?
I’m a recovering addict and also have some mental health issues, and one of the main principles of overcoming addiction and coping with mental illness is living “one day at a time.” It’s also a basic concept of many religions, including Christianity — taking each day as it comes and dealing with those immediate concerns instead of fretting about the past or worrying about tomorrow.
That principle is easy to talk about but difficult to do. If it was easy, there wouldn’t be numerous workshops on how to learn “mindfulness,” the concept of staying in the moment. We wouldn’t have to pay therapists nearly as often to deal with our issues from the past and our concerns for the future. We wouldn’t have sleep issues or need to take prescriptions to calm our anxiety.
But even though it wasn’t easy, we’ve made it through this past year. It’s become almost automatic to wear masks and keep six feet away from others. We have grown accustomed to meeting virtually and keeping the few get-togethers we have small in number.
We now have a vaccine that is being distributed to more and more people. There’s hope again that maybe one day we’ll be able to leave the masks at home, open restaurants, businesses, schools and churches without special restrictions, shake hands and even hug each other.
Even without that definitive end in sight, we’ve made it a year and we can make it longer if needed… one day at a time.
Photo by Benjamin Zanatta on Unsplash