Maria ~ Wellness

“As odd as it is to say, the pandemic helped me reset my life. And today, I'm actually in a much better place."

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“I am someone who has depression. In January of 2020, I was clawing my way out, using all kinds of modalities I have learned to help me. Then COVID hit. I, like so many people I know, became very fearful about what might happen.


But as time wore on, my life necessarily slowed down so much that I gave myself permission not to think about the future. I talk about future tripping as one of my character defects. I used to worry incessantly about the future, but actually Coronavirus and the pandemic and the restrictions on travel and on things we can do actually became a benefit to me, because there was no more FOMO.


The pandemic caused me to not make any plans for the future because there weren't that many things that were available to do and there was so much uncertainty that planning was almost futile. So I was forced to be more present. And I was forced to evaluate what I liked about my life and what was working in my life, and to focus on things for which I am grateful. As a result, my mental health actually improved during the pandemic.


And I was forced to slow down every aspect of my life. And to just be rather than to keep doing. Sometimes I joke that I'm a human doing instead of a human being. The pandemic required me to breathe more consciously and relax more. There was nothing to do at night. Nobody was having parties or outings or meetings (except online). So I had a lot more time. I wasn't commuting anymore. I could work from home. And with the extra time, my blood pressure went down because I was simply doing less. And getting by with less, and having less to organize. I'm a perpetual organizer. And traveler. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. But there was nowhere to go.


So everything seemed to slow for me, in a good way. And I gave myself permission to slow down, which is contrary to my normal disposition. I'm always on the go. People used to think there was something wrong with me because I cannot sit and watch a television show without doing something else. At the same time, I have to simultaneously be looking through my calendar or a magazine or doing my nails or needle pointing, because TV seems like a waste of time. And I don't know why I was so obsessed with time in that way. Wasting time was almost a sin for me. But I don't worry about that anymore.


I have adjusted to a new way of being and have realigned what my version of success is, what my vision of a content and fulfilling life is for me, and I'm in a much better place. I focused on gratitude. I've inserted an easy exercise regimen into my life. I've learned my own brand of minimalism, partially out of necessity, because of the virus and things that are closed and not wanting to expose myself to unnecessary germs. But it has had a ripple effect in many areas of my life that I would not have anticipated. And that resulted in the calmer Maria you see today.


So, as odd as it is to say, the pandemic helped me reset my life. And today, I'm actually in a much better place than I was on January 1st, 2020. And I attribute a lot of that to the pandemic’s forced reset and slowdown of my life.” -- Maria #Maryland

MariaLeonardOlsen.com, 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life, 50 After 50 Facebook Page