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Summer is here and I honestly couldn’t be happier to be shifting into a more relaxed, spacious mood. Despite the fact that my stress levels remain unchanged, I feel less reactive and more responsive. Even as COVID continues to turn life upside-down, life at home seems to have settled into a rhythm.
As I continue to adapt to this strange and challenging time, I have a little more bandwidth to think beyond survival. This is a privilege I don’t take for granted. What has helped me feel the most at ease are the small steps I’ve taken to reorient my perspective and ground myself.
As I’m sure many of you can attest, shelter-in-place has brought to light that which I’d rather ignore. The literal turning inward has forced me to look at the ways in which I make my life more difficult and has called into question my tendency to identify as a victim. I’ve become painfully aware of the fact that I alone am responsible for my own happiness. I’ve always known this but have never fully accepted it until now. It has been a sobering process, and it has changed me.
Taking responsibility for myself has inspired action. For example, one of my biggest struggles has been time management. Truth be told, if you had asked me about time management even a few weeks ago, I would’ve launched into a defense citing a million legitimate reasons why the issue wasn’t about my mismanagement of time but rather the lack of it. The problem with this argument was that it hid the real truth: I couldn’t bring myself to sacrifice the time I spent devoted to rituals that gave me the comfort I thought I needed.
As it turns out, what I need more than comfort is to feel like I’m in control of my own life. To achieve that, I had to make some changes. I’ve since committed to waking up at 5:30AM every morning. Having two uninterrupted hours by myself to work has made a dramatic difference in my attitude and overall outlook.
My commitment to myself has resulted in a genuine desire to seek enjoyment in my life. I’m happier, even though nothing has changed. Obviously, this is all relative #pandemic. This is not to say I’m not still anxious and fearful—these are scary times—but prioritizing my needs is helping me tap into an inner calm. I have more energy than I’ve had in I can’t remember how long. It has inspired me to do other things I’ve been avoiding, like cardio. All on less sleep. And I feel good.
I think my mood board reflects this calm. Like summer itself, I feel open, playful, and spacious. There are moments when it feels like time is standing still.
Even my everyday uniform feels more relaxed. I had to put my foot down a few weeks ago and reinstitute the #nostretchypants rule. It was getting out of control. Now all I wear are summer dresses. I’m not joking when I say I’m living in this one; something about the silhouette feels elegant, even if it’s just a house dress. Throw on a hat and some sunscreen and I’m ready to go. This LemLem dress is on my wishlist—it would be perfect for any occasion.
I’ll leave you with my big summer takeaway: Ease of being is the result of discipline. To be disciplined is to be a disciple of something. It’s devotion in action. Ask yourself, “What’s important to me?” More importantly, “What am I willing to sacrifice to defend it?”