Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

The pandemic changed me, and I’ll bet it has changed you too. We’ve been at it for almost two years, and it is hard to believe all of the numbers, facts, turmoil. Rising prices, food and shipping shortages, and the looming idea that the holidays may very well be canceled can leave a lot of doom and gloom.

We live in a cancel culture. Even I feel unmotivated, unchallenged in these times. I find it difficult to put pen to paper and let the words flow because my mind just doesn’t have the opportunity to wander the way it once did. I find myself too focused on the now, too involved with making the present work, scrambling from day to day to keep occupied, and to be honest, I don’t focus on the future, because there is too much uncertainty and not enough security. In doing so, I forgot that I hold the pen. I can create whatever I choose, and as a writer, I lacked the motivation to dream. It changed me a bit, because what once was an escape for me, a way to build something, became a chore to do. I lost a tiny bit of fairy dust and word weaving because my mind just couldn’t go to that place.

I began to wonder if I permanently lost my creativity, and how easy is that for us to do when we are trying to manage from work life to home life to being everything. It doesn’t really give us time to step outside of that role. Even I became a tad curmudgeonly, a hermit, content on being alone with my cat, and oh gosh, I became the meme version of a single cat lady. While curling up on the couch with my beloved furry friend watching Hallmark movies does have its perks, this gal needed to get her life back. What I realized is that I had to go back to basics. If the outside world wasn’t motivating me, I had to get up off the sofa and do it myself.

I let myself slip. All of the advice that I had been doling out about staying motivated, I failed to follow myself. I did for almost a year on end, but I failed to find new things to keep me floating along. What used to give me pleasure, I stopped doing. I fell into a routine, and for a bit that was fine until it wasn’t. A writer has to write, and I no longer had the words to do so, I could only stretch my mind so far before it came snapping back like a rubberband to nip me. It happens to all of us at some point, we just have a hard time expressing ourselves because we hold so much in, or we don’t have a vision anymore.

So, what did I do to get myself back? I took my own advice and got up an hour earlier than I did. I had a few quiet moments to eat a good breakfast, gaze out the window of my at-home office over a steaming cup of coffee and just take in the view. I got into the habit of having coffee and allowing my cat to have treats in “Mom’s office” before starting the workday. This got to be a very sweet routine with the two of us, and it was just a way to bring back normalcy to my morning. We have a little playtime before I log on to my computer and have to deal with the world.

I switched my journaling time to evenings and weekends, but now I have a little more freedom to write about the things that I learned that day. Yes, I still focus on gratefulness, but now I focus on staying steadfast in spite of my circumstances. I still enjoy the light in the evening at sunset, and I rarely miss the shades of night as they color the sky. Being content once more. There is a peacefulness that comes from knowing you’re going to be okay in spite of what might be going on around you. I still meditate and calm my mind, if you can just find a few quiet moments and control your mind, breathe, it really does help. We often race through our day, our life without taking a good, proper few moments, and that is so vital, an anxious mind is one that is never at rest. It is hard to stay motivated when our brains are constantly leaping to the next problem it must solve. Be mindful, make sure you are getting some downtime before turning off the lights at night. Sleep, rest is important. We cannot be our best mentally and physically when we do not shut off our internal clocks as well. Turn off the phone if you can, or place it away from you. Hop off the computer, listen to some music or pick up a book, turn on some ambient sounds and close your eyes.

Eventually, I was able to get back to being me again. I’m able to create, dream a bit, and the words flow once again. I now find myself watching hot air balloons from the dawn patrol float outside my window on Saturday mornings, my ideas float with them. It is hard not to be motivated as they lift from the ground to the sky and back again.

Don’t let these hard times change you. You still have it in you, you may have to reach a little deeper, and work a little harder to keep yourself going. Don’t ground yourself, let yourself fly.