COVID-19 and My Self-Esteem

This sucks. Not all of it sucks, to be fair. There are some good things that have come from this pandemic and quarantine, but there are a lot of things that suck about it too.

First, let me say that I am posting this from the perspective of a person who has not had to be on the front lines dealing with this virus, or had any person in my life significantly impacted by the virus. This post is coming from a person who is sitting at home, trying not to go nuts because this is very different than the normal life she has been living. I am in no way trying to say that my experience has been awful but I believe that a lot of people are feeling similar to me and wanted to post for them.

I’m on day 47. I came home on March 19th from a possible exposure and my extroverted life just died. Eight days later I found out that I had not in fact been exposed but I stayed home anyway. They shut down the schools and closed everything down and that was that.

The first few weeks were filled with enormous amounts of anxiety. I was glad to be home and have a home to be in. But I was afraid. I was afraid of getting sick. I was afraid of having to face death isolated from people I love, alone. I was afraid of getting someone else sick because I was carrying a virus I didn’t know I had. I was afraid we were going to run out of food. I was afraid.

One minute I’m like this…

Then I saw some good things peaking through. I was able to spend time with my husband and niece (who lived with us at the time) without having to worry about where I had to be or what I had to do. We laughed. We danced. We sang. We played the Atari and realized how far we’d come. That lasted for about 20 minutes because it was super boring. I sat in the grass. I got to sit in the sun on a Tuesday. I made new recipes. I cleaned out the closets and organized my house. There have been some good things.

But my self-esteem has been impacted in waves. I’m not sure if the shifts in the self-esteem are a result of the the waves of emotions that hit (anxious, okay, worried, happy — they just come crashing in so quickly during all this) or if it is a stand alone issue.

The next minute it be like this…

At the beginning of all of this, I asked people on Instagram how the lock down was impacting their self-esteem. Some people said they felt bad about themselves because they couldn’t control their quarantine snacking. Others said they felt bad that they saw others being productive and did not have the drive to do anything themselves. Since then, some people have been “quarantine shaming” others by telling them they have to be using this time to do something productive, but I’m here to tell you that not all of this time can be used in that way.

We are dealing with a whole host of emotions and there are going to be times and days when you can’t just get up and be a superhero. There are going to be days that if you make it out of the bed, you’ve accomplished something really big. Some days we are just going to be surviving this. And while that is okay, living like that does something to your self-esteem for sure.

Let me say this: Comparing yourself to someone else will, more often than not, cause you to feel bad about yourself or your circumstances. Do not compare your day, or your hygiene, or your diet, or your activities to what you see others doing. Set a goal for yourself and do that. Monday my goal was that I was going to be thoroughly unproductive. And so I was. Last week, I had a day where I couldn’t make it out of the bed. I couldn’t even set a goal. I just slept to avoid all the anxiety and sadness I was feeling. And then other days I have done craft projects, cleaning, organizing, homework and worked on stuff for work.

Here are some things you can do if your self-esteem has COVID-19:

  • Give yourself a break. Realize that we are experiencing that none of us have ever experienced and it is tough. You don’t have to be amazing right now. You just have to do the best you can. Stop talking so negatively to yourself and about yourself. If you wouldn’t say that about someone else, don’t say it about yourself.
  • Write yourself a note of encouragement. It doesn’t have to be something fancy. It can just be as simple as “This won’t last forever. You are doing a good job and you’re going to be okay.” Then post it somewhere you can read it each day.
  • Write someone else a note of encouragement. A lot of times, when we turn our attention from ourselves to others, we find a sense of relief. Some of this may be that we are spending too much time thinking about our own situation and our own issues.
  • Ask for help. Reach out and talk to someone. Talk to a friend or loved one. You don’t have to open up about all of it (although you could), but you can start with “I’m having a rough day” and go from there. In my experience people want to help the people they love and asking for help does not mean you are weak. If you feel like you don’t have anyone to reach out to, I’m here. Send me a message and let’s connect. I’d be happy to help encourage you!

We are in this together! Sending you all peace, love and happiness!

My Lesson from the Leaves

I typically don’t look forward to fall and winter. I am a summer kid through and through. I don’t like the cold weather, the absence of green and the shorter days. Nope. Don’t like it one bit.

But this year I had a thought: maybe there is a lesson to be learned from the leaves in the fall. So I opened up my mind and heart and allowed myself to look at the fall differently this year. What I saw was significant: Letting go can be beautiful.

So many times in my life I have struggled to let go of things. All kinds of things. I have had difficulty letting go of actual things, like clothing that was the wrong size, or shoes that are old and worn out. I have fought with letting go of anxious thoughts that play over and over in my mind. I have battled with letting go of old beliefs about myself that cause me to question my worth or value as a person. But this struggle is not found with the trees.

The trees don’t fret about letting go of their leaves every year. They accept, as much as a tree can accept anything, that it is a natural part of their existence. They do not struggle to let go. They allow the process to happen. Each year they erupt into beautiful colors and let go.

I realized that there are many things I need to let go of. One of the things I have been focusing on over the past year is letting go of those old messages I received from others years ago and those beliefs that do not make me feel like the amazing human I am. I cannot continue to hold beliefs, forged in childhood, that I am “not _____ enough.” The people who gave me those messages were not equipped at that time to identify the magnificence that is humanity and therefore should not be counted as experts on my amazingness. This is true for you too! Let’s let go of all those old beliefs that no longer serve us. Let’s let go of those beliefs that we are not good enough, thin enough, thick enough, smart enough, rich enough, pretty enough, tall enough, dark enough, light enough, enough enough! The truth is that just by being born you are more than enough. You are magnificence in human form! As am I! And this fall I am letting go of any thought that tells me otherwise!