It's Okay to Chill, Sis!
Submitted by guest writer Crystal Everett
One day, there was a schedule full of things to do and by mid-March of 2020, it was blown up. My work team had a trip scheduled to visit schools in the Houston area, but that was quickly cancelled. Rumblings of a pandemic were slowly creeping up, its impact feeling distant, until it was present in the United States, disrupting “business as usual.”
To date, more than 335,000 people in the United States have died as a result of COVID-19. It is utterly sobering to speak on and see everyday and I am saddened to know that gross incompetence on the part of the government and the current administration is partly to blame. It is even more sobering to know that this number will continue to rise, while more hopes and dreams are dashed on a daily basis.
Even in what feels like neverending despair at this time, a new sense of clarity has emerged for me, challenging me to understand what it means to be still. Pre-pandemic, I would look at a calendar filled with places to be and people to see. After a while, a calendar was kind of obsolete, while a new at home routine was established. I would certainly classify myself as one of those people that felt like I had to be doing something and would rest, kind of. With nowhere to be but inside the house, I truly struggled in the beginning. In a previous job, I had the opportunity to work from home; however, that was before a toddler was in the mix. My husband and I had to quickly adapt to work schedules and keeping a child entertained, while still trying to grasp what was going on in the world as COVID raged on and continued to expose and exacerbate inequalities.
The past several months allowed me time to think, set personal priorities and simply grant grace to myself. For a while during the summer, one of my self-care priorities was movement and intentional time alone, so I set an alarm to rise at 6:30 a.m. for a walk. I’ve also been able to do more reading for fun and journal, two hobbies that often fell to the wayside in the hustle and bustle of life. There have been days of binge watching shows mixed in with brief attempts at craft projects. There have also been days that survival until bedtime was celebrated as success.
At the beginning of the pandemic, one of the popular narratives centered around the idea that even while some of us enjoyed the privilege of staying in the house, we now had time to work on that hustle or business idea. Of course, that sounded good for a while, yet didn’t take into account that maybe the time to rest was the gift. I do miss a good happy hour and networking event myself and on the other hand, I am grateful for opportunities to connect with others, comfortably in my yoga pants and hoodie.
Personally, I’m hitting 2020 with a “Thank you, next” type of attitude, but there are a few things I’m happy to take into 2021 and a post-COVID world. One of those is the need to extend grace to others and myself often. I’m taking stock of how I spend my time and focusing on priorities, including my well-being and that of my family as well. I’m also being my own voice in my own head, saying, “It’s okay to chill, sis!”