There is beauty in silence, grace in stillness, and life in solitude. Even in the midst of a pandemic, life must go on. It has to go on.
This time of chaos and uncertainty has presented many difficulties to each of us. COVID-19 has drastically altered our lives these past few months. Life looks different than normal. Socializing now has a different visage. Our normal routines have been disrupted by this pandemic. We have had to make sacrifices to protect ourselves and our loved ones. It is easy for one to feel lonely and sad during this time. However, I believe each of us are able to address our challenges with resilience. COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives, and we have to adapt. Yet, there are things we can do right now to help encourage our spirits.
During my employment as news reporter for Washington State University’s newspaper, I had the honor of interviewing a Latinx feminist mental health activist named Dior Vargas. There was one specific statement she made in the interview that I still remember, which is this: mental health should not be sacrificed for the sake of the cause. This statement is something I have been pondering about these past few weeks. I have realized I let the busyness of my college education and job detract me from taking care of my mental health. Yes, the sacrifices I have made led to many accomplishments, but my responsibilities and goals should never get in the way of my duty to take care of myself, specifically my mental health.
This realization motivated me to take my time at home to nurture my roots, reevaluate my priorities, and ground myself. More importantly, I have been taking this time to declutter my mental space. Modern society is fast-paced. It seems like we barely get enough time to let our minds and bodies breathe. Our calendars are filled with “important” engagements. We are constantly doing something. However, I think this pandemic has given us time and space to be still in the midst of this busyness, and we should take advantage of this and learn from it.
I encourage all of you to take this time to be generous to yourself. Let yourself breathe. Rest. Take comfort in the silence. Enjoy the solitude, and use it to focus on your personal growth. Reflect and reconnect with your values. Most importantly, do not forget to continue loving others and yourself.
Loren C. Negron