Here we are, two years into the pandemic. And I think it is safe to say none of us are the same. I wrote my last blog post right around when the pandemic first exploded, thinking that it was going to last a couple months and also thinking that I had gotten to my lowest point during that time. Oh how was I wrong. In the 18 months that followed, I would learn so much more about myself and the world, learning hard lessons, that eventually got me to living a more authentic life.
I am going to share just a few of the lessons I've learned and changes I have made, but would love to know what everyone else has been up to, so please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment.
Lesson #1 - Ask for help
Shortly after I wrote my last post on mental health, I got on a plane to Mexico. I went thinking that a month in my hometown of Mexico City would do the trick to help me snap back to "my old self". I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't even tell my parents I needed to take the trip. I ended up leaving without giving them a heads up. Something that hurt them greatly, but I couldn't even bring myself to say the words, "I need help."
After a month in Mexico, I still didn't feel any difference, but I did feel supported by my family. So, I stayed, thinking eventually I would snap out of it. It would take me 3 months to realize, I wasn't going to snap out of it. That is when I finally got the courage to ask my family for help. I went to a psychiatrist and started taking medicine to help with my chemical imbalance that was affecting my mental health. This simple act changed my life drastically. I was finally able to get off of my ass, and think of a million possibilities that I wanted for my life. The problem was, I never felt like this before, soooooo....next came therapy. I was not new to therapy, but decided that cognitive behavioral therapy would be the best route for me this time around. Through therapy, I got the tools I needed to help categorize my thoughts and continue to fight for the life I wanted.
Lesson #2 - Open up
As I have stated multiple times before, mental health is not something I grew up talking a lot about. But now, it is something that I won't shut up about. Thanks to all my experiences, and therapy, I decided to stop making mental health taboo in my life. And as I asked for help, I talked about my experiences to everyone close to me. What I found was that almost everybody had similar experiences. Opening my mouth helped me open my eyes and my heart.
The pandemic magnified any mental disorder anyone had. Things that we could normally shake off, became full on breakdowns. This helped me look at my life and how I wanted to use my skills to contribute to society. As a yoga teacher, I finally realized I wanted to pivot from the popularized version of a yoga teacher to a yoga therapist with a base in trauma informed yoga teaching. And that I wanted to serve populations who believed yoga isn't for them. And here in Mexico, that is a lot of people. Here, yoga is still a trendy lifestyle and wellness practice that caters to the white and wealthy. Something that no longer aligns with my goals. I can no longer just grin and bear it as I once did, and thanks to the pandemic I am brave enough to make choices that are in line with my authentic self. Yes it is going to be a lot more work, but I am willing to see this challenge through and bring yoga to people that would not normally have the opportunity. Not only that, I want to help people live the lives they see themselves living, with the help of yoga.
Lesson #3 - Move your body
The pandemic has had us living in this endless cycle of anxiety. We are on the struggle bus 24/7. With so much "danger", the last thing we want to do is move our bodies. We want to relax, and engage that rest and digest reaction. Rest is very much a key component of recovering from our every day anxieties, but with less movement, we lose that mind body connection and we lose our body awareness.
But how do we move the body when we are scared to be around people thanks to Covid? There are so many great virtual programs out there. I personally discovered some exercise and yoga videos that I absolutely love. I am currently doing a 20 day 20 minutes a day exercise challenge through Barbara de Regil. Although, I might not agree with everything she says and does in her personal life, but I can't deny how I feel after doing one of her workouts...invincible.
There are also people out there working through zoom doing personalized classes, practices, etc. I too offer personalized yoga classes/yoga therapy through zoom and Instagram. Find someone you connect with, and I am sure you can re-establish a connection with your body.
Lesson #4 - Stay put
I am notorious for being a nomad. I have explored and moved more than I have ever been able to stay in one place. I still had that mindset when Covid began, hence my flight to Mexico City. I had various trips mentally planned after arriving to Mexico City, but the threat of the pandemic taught me a lesson I found almost impossible to learn. You must stay put.
If I want to grow my business, and even grow as a person, I must be willing to do something I have never done before, stay in once place, put down roots, and let them grow. I have often been praised and looked up to for being able to change and move without much fear. That is because, for me, the real fear comes from staying somewhere.
Six months into being in Mexico City, I felt it in my heart and my mind, I wanted to make Mexico City my forever home. I have written about how my true soulmate is my hometown, and I finally got the opportunity to make it my home. So as much as it is natural for me to move about, I am all about seeing things through now. And this also helps me avoid catching Covid, which is a great perk. Although for most people close to me this seems like a phase, or even a downgrade, I am excited at the possibility of having a healthy a fulfilling domestic life. Sometimes it takes a pandemic to remind us the importance of making roots and tending to our homes and families.
Lesson #5 - Leave room for surprises
I left Florida thinking I was just going to get my mind straight. What followed was a crazy rollercoaster of emotions. There were days where I didn't know if I would be able to do it. Could I make the changes necessary to live the life I wanted? Could I stick with my decisions? Would the pandemic allow me to make those changes?
The answer was, yes, just leave room. I made choices and actions towards what I wanted, if I was able to complete those dreams and tasks would be up to fate and hard work. I made every step towards the life I wanted without fear, and with the understanding not EVERYTHING is possible right now, but that didn't mean it wasn't possible ever. And with that mindset, I applied for my master's degree in yoga studies, and waited to see what would happen.
I was accepted, and even though I wasn't able to physically go to my orientation, I was grateful to start a new journey even if only through a virtual lens. And as I start my second semester, even with all the difficulties I have had I am grateful that I left room for the possibility.
And in the same token, with leaving room for surprises, I met a man, that makes me feel at peace and I started a new life with him. We recently got a puppy, which I never really thought possible. And now I feel comfortable enough to leave room for everything else to fall into place. Knowing it won't be easy, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it or possible.
I know this pandemic has been testing and traumatic for all of us. However, I hope that it has also given you lessons and blessings that you can take with you. I would love to hear what this pandemic has taught you. Sending a great big virtual hug to all of you.