This photo is of a giant concrete frog on a playground in my neighbourhood. In normal times, it would be covered with children climbing and jumping and playing. But as we near a full year of pandemic life where I am, the frog sits alone, untouched. I noticed this, pondering this strange existence we’ve been living through and felt a profound sense of grief.
To say I was tired of it all as we headed into 2021 is an understatement, but it was the first time the tiredness had overtaken me in such a physical way. I was sleeping nearly 10 hours each night, slow to get up in the morning, and feeling a deep sadness, a fear inside me for the ongoing loss of the simple things we hold dear. Like smiling at children playing at the park as I walk the neighbourhood, waiting in line at the bakery and conspiring with other customers to obtain the best bagels, standing amongst a crowd all tapping feet or shaking hips in time with the same music.
As my body did what it needed to do to feel and flow through these emotions, my mind wasn’t quite on board. It kept up with the incessant to do list, the critique of my productivity each day. I found myself losing the argument that this is a tough time and I can only do so much. My mind wanted more, to use all of the self-care tools I have to snap myself out of it. Enough already.
When life presents a prolonged period of uncertainty and chaos like we’ve been experiencing during the pandemic, sometimes it’s too much to expect ourselves to continue all of our self-care practices. Our toolkit may be well stocked, but the best thing may be to simplify our focus — get back to basics. Choose one thing. What’s one thing that you consider most helpful to you without it adding more stress or obligation? Maybe it’s sleep. Give yourself permission to set the alarm clock for a half hour later. Rest.
For me, I sit still like a frog. It’s something I can do anywhere and for any length of time. By watching my breath, my mind, my emotions, my body, I start to relax. I recognize what I need and what I can let go of. I am reminded of my ability to respond rather than react to what’s swirling about in my head. I find peace in the moment. And slowly hope enters back into the equation. I can foresee a day in the future when this concrete frog on the playground will be hosting all sorts of children. I see them standing and feeling their new height, shouting, “I’m the queen of the castle!” And I smile.
Here’s hoping you can allow yourself one small thing for your inner peace this week. Keep going. xo