Finding stillness in a pandemic

interior of apartment with potted plants on cupboard near sofa

Before the pandemic, life was lived at 100 miles an hour. With five children, a home to run, my own business, no partner to share the workload and four of those kid’s home school – my days were full. I hadn’t had child free time in around 5 years. That was the way I liked it.

Keeping every second of my day busy was what I thought I needed so that I didn’t have to be present with my thoughts. I’d fought anxiety and depression for as long as I could remember, and I felt as thought I were forever trying to outrun them. I told myself if I kept busy enough, they wouldn’t catch back up to me.

Then the world stopped, and I was forced to slow down too.

At first, I resisted. I filled our long days at home with activity after activity. Crafting, baking, projects. Anything to fill the hours.

As the days rolled into weeks, I slowly began to see that in slowing down, I was still OK. I wasn’t an anxious mess, I wasn’t depressed and hiding in a corner. In the empty hours we suddenly found, in the spaces that were filled with groups and friends and activities – was peace.

In that peace, I found a stillness that was soothing. I realised that all along, I’d been running but anxiety and depression had been running along with me. When I stopped, they vanished. For the first time in years, I felt calm.

I could breathe easily. I could smile. I didn’t feel like I was having to pretend to be someone I am not. I learned that what I needed most was space, not a double-booked calendar.

As life begins to go back to normal here, I refuse to go back to the way I was living. Life won’t always be a slow as it was in the midst of a pandemic, but I will ensure that there is space and stillness in my life. I’ve let go of the need to be busy – realising that it is allowed and essential sometimes to just be.

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