Don’t worry. I am fine. I don’t have Covid. At the beginning of September, however, I was not sure. I had some but not all of the symptoms – muscle aches, fatigue, cloudy mind. Mid-September I took the PCR test and after 48 hours it confirmed that I did not have the virus. While I was unwell and waiting for my results, I learned a few things.
It Is Not About Me
One of the most stressful things for me during this time was not my concern over my own health. I am in relatively good health and I personally know people who have had the virus and survived. What concerned me most was tracking when I could have possibly contracted it and who I had been in contact with during that time. The fear that I inadvertently hurt others consumed me. It made me hyper aware of how our lives are intermeshed and how even the smallest action on our part can impact others. In the days following my negative results, I had tried to be very present and aware not just of myself but how we as a community interact with each other.
Expectations Versus Reality
I am not good at being ill. I expect to be going 200 mph no matter the circumstances. Even when I didn’t feel well, I expected to be able to function exactly how I normally function. My expectations and the reality of the situation were extremely different. Besides having to stay out of expectations for my abilities, I also had to keep myself from creating fear-based expectations. Any 10-second Google search can bring a plethora of potential, but unlikely, outcomes. Bringing myself back to the moment and what I knew to be a fact kept me out of guilt, shame, and fear.
Know Your Limits
Slowing down is not easy for me. However, it became clear that I was incapable of doing things as I had been able before. Importantly, if I tried to do activities as I had on any normal day, I messed up big time. It took a lot of willpower, but I made myself slow down and do one thing at a time (multi-tasking was out of the question). When I accepted and worked within my limitations, activities went smoother with less mistakes and frustration.
Let Others Know You are Not 100%
Yes mom, I am not good at this one and did not handle this perfectly, but I did better than I have in the past. Throughout the week, I am the resource for job seekers. Certain days it was hard for me to concentrate or to think through appropriate advice. Instead of putting on the veneer of perfection and all-knowingness, I let my candidates know I was not working on all cylinders. Expecting to be attacked for my imperfection, I instead found that my candidates were more than willing to work with me and understand my situation. We worked more as partners than as expert and client. The vulnerability I showed, created more respect and collaboration that a false show of expertise ever could.
Take Care of Yourself
It is quite clear that the Universe is trying to teach me the lesson of taking care of myself. For the past year, I have had a few medical issues, nothing serious, but enough to bring me out of my normal routine. These challenges have forced me to take care of myself. I have been treating my body like an old hand-me-down car, not getting oil changes or washing and waxing the exterior, and it made my body ready for the junk yard. My focus is usually on others but being a martyr and not caring for myself did nothing to help anybody else. Hopefully, I have finally learned that taking care of myself is the first step to helping and loving others.
What has 2020 taught you? How are you beginning to see yourself and those around you differently? What are ways you can take care of yourself and be conscious of how you impact others?