We can adjust to the new normal. Finding ways to adjust to what is considered the new normal will certainly help us get see light at the end of the tunnel. We have had to adjust and get creative and now found ways to live with what is now considered normal. An example for me was not able to meet up with my friends during the lockdown. But now we meet virtually. It is amazing how much my zoom skills have improved. Being flexible when adjusting to the new normal and noting that these challenging times will not last forever will make it easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Adjusting also means seeing this period as a chapter in our lives. Our lives consist of many chapters and if we look at is this way, it becomes more manageable.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nike Aremu.
Nike Aremu is a published author of three books including her most recent one, ‘Kicking Grief in my High Heels’. Nike is known to combine her real-life stories with her unique writing style to bring peace and comfort to her readers dealing with grief, loss and other traumatic experiences. A firm believer in the power of occasional uncomfortable high heels and killer tennis shoes, Nike has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies and still has dreams of being a stand-up comedian one day.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
For as long as I remember, I have loved to write. English was my favorite subject in school, and I remember my elementary school teacher praising my essay once and telling me that I write so well that it almost seems like the words are in color.
I started my career as an English High School teacher and later moved into the world of software development as a Technical Writer. I now own and operate a home care agency which allows me to have more time to do more of what I enjoy doing most — writing and speaking.
I really was not sure what my books will focus on until I heard a speaker in my church talk about our life stories. He said everyone has a story and we have a responsibility to tell our story. Our life stories are meant to help other people and regardless of how painful, or
irrelevant or insignificant we think these stories may be. This set the light bulb off in my head and let to the creation of my first book, “Don’t Waste Your Pain”. This book narrates my personal journey through a turbulent childhood to freedom. Shortly after that, I published my second book, “Good Morning Lord. It is me, Your Favorite Daughter” which is a personal devotional book and ties along with some of the lessons narrated in my first book. I never knew the light bulb will go off in my head almost ten years later when I needed to tell another story! I went through another traumatic experience when I suffered the loss of my mother and sister within 5 weeks. This led to the release of my most recent book, “Kicking Grief in High Heels” and I always like to add that it does not always have to be in heels.
I now have a community that I am developing and growing through my writing, speaking and other engagements. My goal is to provide emotional care, support and guidance for individuals going through a grief phase, life crisis or a traumatic past such as abuse, abandonment or emotional trauma. As someone who has gone through a fair share of turbulent life experiences, I am channeling my energy from these harrowing circumstances into sharing personal life stories to help others. My vision lies in offering solace and guidance to as many as seek advice, need a friend or simply want a listening ear in their time of need.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
This is a tough question for me to answer because there are several books that have impacted me.
I will probably go with my most recent read which is ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover. This book showed. This really resonated with me because it shows power of resilience and what you can achieve when you sometimes take the non-conventional route.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- We can adjust to the new normal. Finding ways to adjust to what is considered the new normal will certainly help us get see light at the end of the tunnel. We have had to adjust and get creative and now found ways to live with what is now considered normal. An example for me was not able to meet up with my friends during the lockdown. But now we meet virtually. It is amazing how much my zoom skills have improved. Being flexible when adjusting to the new normal and noting that these challenging times will not last forever will make it easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Adjusting also means seeing this period as a chapter in our lives. Our lives consist of many chapters and if we look at is this way, it becomes more manageable.
- See it as a time to redefine yourself and journal the experience. I have always been a firm believer in journaling, but Covid-19 along has made me redefine certain aspects of my life and journal this whole experience. As I document the changes I am making personally to adapt to the situation, I have found it very therapeutic to go back and read over my notes. A good tip is not to just write down all the drama and chaos associated with the pandemic but to note things that you are grateful for. Redefining myself gives me something to look forward to when all this is over and that definitely puts a light to the tunnel. For instance, I am learning a new language and can’t wait to be able to travel and practice my skills in a foreign country. While we may want to always focus on the chaos brought along with by these times, please do not forget to record things that makes you feel better by taking a gratitude approach.
- Know that we all have in us what is needed to survive. Whether we know it or not, whether we want to admit it or not, we all have a strong sense of resilience built in us. It really is there deep down inside us. I really do believe that. To be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we must develop the ability to tap into this and push through to survive. We all acknowledge that life has thrown us an entirely new set of circumstances with the pandemic, but we have what is needed to make it through. I am a social person. I love going out with my friends, meeting up for brunch, going to concerts, movies and please let us not forget shopping. But guess what, I do all that now virtually and I am quite okay. I am even okay dressing up to for a Zoom birthday party — who would have thought?
- Understand that the experts continue to learn more about the disease and work on their findings accordingly. We can do our part by staying informed but not being alarmed. I am so thankful for the power of science and research and glad that they are right on top of it. I do not even engage in discussions about timelines, efficiency of what they are doing or things like that. All I know is that they are working on it and I am thankful that they are and also hopeful that they will come up with a solution soon. With that being said, it is helpful to keep our eyes on the news but tuning in to every single development can easily become overwhelming. Get your information form reputable sources, limit social media news and take steps to make sure you are not caught up in anxiety.
- Practice gratitude on all levels. Intentional practicing gratitude shows us the light at the end of the tunnel in all situations. I already mentioned journaling — that is a great habit. Make sure you add to it every day. Nurture your relationships. Laugh more. Time is our new currency now, so spend it wisely. Commit one day a week when you will not complain about anything. I never realized how tough that could be. Thank your essential workers. If you are not used to this, it may not feel natural at first, but keep at it, I promise it will get easier as you continue.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Take time to understand and respect each other. Make it you goal to genuinely show respect to others — even those with whom you disagree with. We are in living in very unprecedented times and now more than ever everyone needs to feel understood and respected. If someone does not feel comfortable going out even after the lockdown has been lifted, do not dismiss their feelings. Respect their decisions even if you do not agree with it. Do not try to change their mind.
- See each other. This also means helping each other. Check in with your friends or neighbors who are alone. We no longer live in a world where the question, ‘How are you?’ really paints a true picture of what the person is really going through. If you have an elderly neighbor or relative who might be lonely, call and talk for a few minutes. Get your children involved. Staying connected is one of the strongest ways to help during these times. There is definitely strength in numbers. We can help each other, strengthen each other and also the people around us.
- Be kind to one another. The typical reaction during a pandemic is for us to become anxious and worried. To alleviate these feelings, we must find fund ways to help others. This will uplift our spirits and also theirs. If you are doing well financially, practice gratitude and pay others for the services they can no longer provide such as your hairdresser, housekeeper or others who are unable to work.
- Avoid judgement. Reach out to people who are feeling anxious and let me know you are there to support them. While doing this, try to keep your opinions to yourself. They really do not wany to hear your thoughts no matter how good your intentions are. Keep notes of disapproval out of your comments by focusing on feelings like sympathy and compassion when you speak.
- Thank them. Sounds crazy but really thank the person for opening up to you. Thank them for feeling comfortable enough to let you know that they are struggling. Thank the person for being transparent enough to share their thoughts and feelings with you. It is hard to ask for help or let people know when we are struggling. Let the person know you appreciate their trusting you and that they are not being a burden in doing so. It takes a lot for someone to open up to another person about their feelings and emotions and I really do not think it should go unnoticed.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
- Anxiety and Depression Society of America www.adaa.org
The CDC website also has some good resources\information on anxiety also
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Death and life lie in the power of the tongue. You are more defined by what comes out of your mouth than what goes in it.”
I am firm believer in the power of what comes out of your mouth. The way you speak and the things you say have power. Speech gives us the power to create or destroy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
“Speak More” — Encourage young adults in developing countries to voice their opinions boldly. This movement will go along with my Life Lesson quote.
What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?
Instagram — nike.aremu
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you for the opportunity