Learning to let go is a life skill that’s vital at any age. During the pandemic, I found that the less I held on to certain goals and mindsets, the more happiness I found in my daily life.
Like anyone, I crave a sense of control. When the pandemic forced my life out of my hands, I started losing my cool. A mad combination of stress and anxiety made me severely burnt out. I was so emotionally and physically worked up that health issues started popping up left and right.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise that I hit a low point and let myself down in multiple areas. I suffered emotionally, and my pre-existing autoimmune condition worsened. Plus, I lost a shot at my University’s Honor Roll. For weeks my mind was in a dark place, pitch black with bitterness. Against my wishes, I found myself spiraling into self-doubt and shame with no clear way out.
But I’m getting better, and here’s how I’m doing that.
Accept your failures, but learn from them
Prior to the pandemic, I was a typical straight-A student who was involved in student orgs. I was graciously given a top position at the school publication, where I was exposed to different sets of challenges every day. I was cruising in my new role for a while, but I was unable to manage that transition well with other responsibilities.
Since then, I’ve learned to nip my stressors in the bud one by one. I introspected and kept to myself for a while. I have recalibrated my priorities and burdened myself to find my inner purpose.
Keep your mind and body occupied
As a complement to the first step, this one helps keep intrusive thoughts at bay. One of the biggest things that held me back the past year was my inability to stick to being decisive and assertive. I was making poor decisions because I was not in good holistic health.
I’ve found ways to keep myself grounded amid stressful situations. I volunteer in advocacy organizations and consciously dedicate time where I do house chores. It helps drown out whatever thoughts hinder me from becoming a reasonable individual.
Stay in the present moment
On any given day, I’m probably obsessing over small minor mistakes or anxiously worrying about what the future might hold. I’m too scared that I’ll make the same mistakes and flop around like a fish out of water all over again.
I have to remind myself that I’m a changed person and that helps put into perspective the amount of growth I’ve had the past year. Seeing a professional and learning how to be rational and logical has changed me for the better.
When life gives you lemons
It’s easy to feel cynical when it seems like nothing is going your way. I have had half a mind to be a recluse and never interact with anyone again. Turns out, I just sucked at managing life and its funny, unpredictable, and often unfair changes.
As I finish the last few weeks of university and transition to a life where I can make better-informed decisions, I feel scared but at ease. From feeling suffocated, I’m starting to feel like the world is my oyster. Writing feels new and challenging again, rejection feels like a stepping stone to success, and job-hunting feels like finally being brave enough to wade in the deeper parts of the pool.
There are many things to be wary of, admittedly. But change is the only permanence in the world, and I’ve learned to build armor that will shield me from unnecessary stress and pain.
Will there be failure, success, or just plain, everyday living? I don’t know. But if there’s one certain thing I’ve learned in the past year, it’s this. When life gives you lemons, maybe you should just try to let those lemons go.
What have you let go of this 2022 and how did you do it? Tell us in the comment section below!
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