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Finding Purpose During a Pandemic

4 ways to find certainty within ourselves through uncertain times.

Photo by Nathalie Montenegro
Photo by Nathalie Montenegro

Here we are, amid a global pandemic in the year 2020. We’ve been stripped of all forms of social interaction and mandated to stay in our homes until who knows when. We are experiencing fear and uncertainty with job security, financial issues, and even managing our basic needs. Just when we thought 2020 would be our year, the Coronavirus said differently. However, through all the uncertainty this situation has brought us, it made me certain of one thing, in life the only thing we do have control over is ourselves and that includes our actions and reactions.

This pandemic has brought me a wide range of emotions from shock to stress, overwhelm to hope. The outcome of these emotions? Rashes and flare-ups from my chronic skin condition, irritability towards those around me, and my mental health feeling like its rapidly slipping. I felt like I was in a hole of negativity that I couldn’t climb out of; a hole that kept getting filled up with overwhelming news and social media reports, fear for my family’s health, and how it’s all only going to get worse. It was getting to be too much, but I allowed myself to honor these emotions and really feel them. I could accept these feelings, but I could no longer allow them to take over my mind and body. A realization of how I am not in control of this global pandemic, the number of people getting sick, the lack of jobs, or how everyone wants to hoard basic necessities came over me. I am also not in control of how much the media is covering it, or what other people want to post on their social media. So why continue to focus on the bad that I have no control over when I could instead focus on the good I can get out of this and the things that are in my control. What I am in control of is how much I expose myself to the media, how I’m using my time off to continue to grow, and the things I can do to keep up my health. We need to realize that we now have the one thing we always complained about not having enough of, time. We also have a lack of distraction from people, places, and things which in a way is forcing us to get creative and reflective. I know, you may be thinking “ok…where is the silver lining in that?” but hear me out, with this abundance of time to ourselves, why not use it to get to know ourselves a little better? Rather than continue to seek external sources to keep us entertained or busy, we can use this time to work on healing, sitting down with ourselves to figure out our purpose, or to just be.

I’ve listed a few easy ways we can help ourselves turn this situation from something happening to us, to something happening for us. Something that is allowing us time to continue our personal growth and self-discovery even when all else seems stagnant.

Take self-assessments

We all love a good personality quiz, for some reason we love finding out who’s our celebrity crush, what animal we are, or what Friends character we’re most like. While those quizzes may be entertaining to take, are they actually providing us with any valuable information about ourselves? Here are 3 of my favorite self-assessments that can be beneficial to get to know your personality a little better, along with build better relationships, and possibly guide you toward the job of your dreams!

16Personalities
https://www.16personalities.com/

This quiz looks at the many different personality types and gives an in-depth explanation of each. You will get insight into what your ideal romantic relationships, friendships, and even workplace habits are based on your personality. You can also get to know a few celebrities who share the same personality type.  I’ve taken the test for a few psychology classes in college and it turns out I’m an INFJ (introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging.) Knowing my personality type was not only interesting but has also come in handy at certain job interviews when it came up as a question by the employer.

VIA Character Strengths Survey
https://www.viacharacter.org/

A survey that highlights your top strengths, what they mean, and how to use them in your everyday life.

The 5 Love Languages
https://www.5lovelanguages.com/

If you’re spending quarantine with your partner this is a good one for both of you to take together. This quiz determines the way that we prefer to give and receive love which in turn creates a better understanding of ourselves and our partner’s needs.

Do some reflective journaling

 I tend to have a hard time finding the right words to explain myself, so i’ve found that journaling helps me with venting and getting all those thoughts organized. During this high-stress time, we may have different emotions coming up daily and that’s perfectly ok, journaling is a great way to let it all out without any judgment. While there are various journaling techniques you can try out, my technique is to ask myself questions. I find that by writing down a prompt or a question it’s an easier way for me to get the writing process started if I’m feeling a little stuck. Sometimes by asking yourself simple questions, it can lead to deeper thinking you might not have even originally considered.

Try asking yourself some of the following questions for your next journal entry:

  • How are you feeling at this moment?
  • Is there anything you need to hear today that you haven’t heard in a while?
  • What are you grateful for?

Update your resume

Updating our resumes is usually the task we procrastinate on because we might feel it’s unnecessary unless we’re job searching, and while things may be looking a little rough right now given our situation that doesn’t mean it will stay that way forever. (I hope.) Whether you’re job searching or not, keeping your resume up to date is always a good idea. Take some time to sit and think of any skills, accomplishments, new projects you’ve started, or courses you’ve taken and list them all on paper. We’re so used to using our resume as a place to just talk about the responsibilities we had at our jobs, that we forget to highlight how amazing we are and why companies should be hiring us. I guarantee that after doing this, it will open up a whole new appreciation to yourself and the work you’ve done which in turn can make employers more interested in you as well.

Start visualizing your dream life

I’m sure many of us are in daydream mode all day every day lately; we’re dreaming about the first thing we’re going to do once this is all over, getting back to happy hours, or even just dinner parties with all our friends and families. Use this same energy to start visualizing your dream life. Forget about our current situation even if for a few minutes, and really think about what your ideal life would look like. Visualization is a pretty powerful tool because it kinda tricks our brains into thinking that what we are imagining is our reality. After all, if we can think it, then we can achieve it. This practice will then allow us to start making the moves needed to make that dream life a reality. If you’re good at daydreaming then use that power of visualization, but if you aren’t, you can always just write it out. Regardless of which method you use, the important part is to be sure to include all the small details like the smells, colors, tastes and sounds you might come across. The more details you can add the better. By talking to yourself like this life is already happening to you, it makes it even more effective.  

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