COVID-19 has shifted our equilibrium and forced us to reassess our priorities. It seemed like only yesterday that I rushed to get to the gym for my hour workout, rushed to respond to emails, rushed to drop off my son Joshua at school and rushed to make it in time to the office so I could have a little quiet moment to pray and meditate. The first few weeks of the quarantine were scary, especially being a small business owner. I was not sure how I could survive the major changes. What has COVID-19 not done to me? It has robbed me of interacting directly with my clients on a daily basis, robbed me of watching my first born receive her bachelor’s degree with distinguished honors. It has robbed me of my summer camp, planned trips, and much more. However, it has not robbed me of my life. I am still here strong and ready for what lies ahead.
On one hand COVID-19 has created so many disasters, but it has also forced many of us to shift our thinking of constantly running towards endless goals. During the first week of the shelter in place, I would grab my coffee, put in a little home exercise, try to wake my son to get ready for his zoom school sessions. I was trying to make something that is abnormal appear normal. Yes, you can imagine how that worked out. I panicked, I could barely sleep from worrying. What could I control? I had to regain my footing, not sure how to control the chaos around me, I let myself cry. Gradually I began to shift my mental focus to little things I could control.
I shifted my morning routine from getting up and trying to pretend that things were still the same, to focusing my energy on staying safe and healthy. With my mental shift, I was able to create simple goals of going for walks and gradually deciding to run. I would wake up at 4 and by 4:45 am I was on the road running. The reason I choose to run that early is to avoid being with people, since I am a heart patient. I put on music that inspires and calms my spirit as I run. It has calmed my overanxious brain. During these unprecedented times, why prioritize the areas of your life that you cannot control? Make decisions based on things that are within your control. When I attempted to hold on to what was, I was not allowing myself the mental shift needed to learn new things.
We are now forced to make decisions that may be in direct conflict with what we had originally planned. As painful as that may be, choose to accept the changes and free your mind for new opportunities. Start your day with something that focuses your energy on you, and not on the things that have to get done. Whether you do a few easy exercises to wake up or jump right into a tough workout is up to you. The important thing is to give yourself something to focus on and something you can control and look forward to.
Uduak (Udie) Osom holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from San Jose State University. Udie has served students of all ability levels from preschool through grade 12, for over 20 years. She is very passionate about neuro-developmental disabilities and social-cognitive disabilities. She is the owner/director of Innovative Therapy Services, a pediatric speech, language and social skills clinic in Santa Clara, CA. She can be reached at http://www.pediatricspeech.com