Dealing with anxiety, loneliness and creative block during a pandemic

July 01, 2020

Dealing with anxiety, loneliness and creative block during a pandemic

For many of us, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year. It started off with talks of WWIII, the unexpected passing of Kobe Bryant, and the onset of COVID-19 which has continued to have its effects on life as we know it. Today we are in the midst of civil unrest over the murder of George Floyd by the hands of police and millions around the world have joined in solidarity of the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement demanding justice, racial equality, and calls to defund the police amongst many other things. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, millions of people have lost their jobs and the idea of what "normal" looks like is being redefined every single day. 

Much like for you and the rest of the world, my 2020 started off on rocky grounds but my woes realistically began towards the end of 2019. Unfortunately, the latter part of the year didn't end the way I envisioned. For starters, a close friend of mine abruptly fell out of the picture, and shortly thereafter, I found out some life-changing news. I'm not ready to divulge into those details right now but will do so at a later time.  As a result of these unexpected life changes among other things, I became mildly depressed, stopped being physically and socially active, and spent most of my days alone and kept to myself. I abandoned all creative pursuits such as blogging, journaling, and creating artwork. Not only did my personal life suffer, but my business also took a hit. My drive to continue to grow and expand my online shop diminished and I ultimately pumped the breaks on my entrepreneurial pursuits and put my Etsy shop on vacation mode. 

All these circumstances led to starting the new year in a less than an ideal note. For once in my life, I had no goals or aspirations, no desire to accomplish anything of significance, and no milestones I was striving to conquer. My only desire was to simply be and take a step back from constantly pushing myself to fulfill one goal or another. I had lost my sense of self and felt like a constant disappointment and failure. It was easier to sit in my discomfort and do nothing as opposed to confronting my insecurities and uncertainties. Up until now, that was my reality. 

Now that we've reached the halfway mark of the year, I've realized that going on in this state will only bring me further down, further away from my life goals, and further into depression. In retrospect, taking timeout to reconnect with myself and understand who I am and what I want out of life has been beneficial. Doing "nothing" became my saving grace. This season showed me the importance of tending to my needs both physically and mentally and allowed me to show myself some grace. I was able to free myself from self-criticism, never-ending goal setting, and rediscover the parts of life that spark joy and makes me feel alive. Overall, I enjoyed most of my uninterrupted time of solace and I'm in a better state of mind because of it. 

As we all continue to deal with this ongoing pandemic and world events happening around us, I'm figuring out ways to cope with my own existence with a refreshed state of mind. I'm feeling like myself again and slowly gaining motivation to get back to doing things free from all the stress and mental baggage. I'm taking things day by day and started reintroducing simple routines into the mix such as making my bed each morning, journaling, and reading daily devotions. Since I have more time to myself than I could've dreamed of, it's best to use this opportunity to start bringing projects to life that has been on my to-do list for years. By applying the tips I learned from James Clear's Atomic Habits, I've found it helpful to break down some of these projects into actionable steps and assigning daily objectives that hold myself accountable which gives me a sense of purpose each day. 

Though 2019 ended on a sore note and the first half of this year has been less than ideal, there is still an opportune time to turn things around and live out the rest of the year on a positive note. There may be ongoing challenges facing us all which are far beyond our control but that doesn't mean we lose sight on the things we directly impact. This is the lesson I'm striving to engrain in myself moving forward. My only ambition for the second half of the year is to show up for myself every day and adapt to life changes. I am choosing to stop being a recluse and cease back control of my life. I recognize that I am in control of my actions and reactions. I am in control of the challenges I pursue, the creative work I chose to bring to life, and the mindset I entertain. 

There's no question that 2020 has been one heck of a shit show and we're all still coping with the realities of it while determining what "normal" looks like. My resolve is to do my best to embrace a new normal and not become paralyzed by the unforeseen changes that are yet to come. I obviously don’t have everything figured out but my hope is that we all find a path forward and try to make the best of what's to come.

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