Adapting to a new normal

Illustration by Anastasiia

To be honest, getting through this pandemic is difficult. Really, really difficult. We have observed an entire spectrum of folks who have been responding to home quarantines with ease, but also many folks with a lot of difficulties. The crisis text line has seen an uptick of 30% in text conversations last month. Not only has COVID-19 ravaged our nation, mental health will never be the same.

As part of getting through these hard times, we can use various coping strategies to help mitigate and even offset many of the mental chatter that puts our sanity at risk. In a combination of mindfulness and meditation, I’ve picked up a few tips that have helped me tremendously.

The first is practicing gratitude. While it might seem obvious, reflecting on things that are going well amidst chaos allows us to focus on uplifting thoughts that we can further cultivate throughout the day. Not only are we, what we think, but we only accept what we tell ourselves. In thinking sombre thoughts, we will only accept sombre news and events into our lives.

Each day, I write a few things I am grateful for, including health and employment during this time. Some days, I remind myself of the very little things, like having food for the day or even a mind to think and write this email. When we put things into perspective, there are folks around the world who don’t have the privilege or access to the things we take for granted. In practicing gratitude, we become more mindful and aware of the things we have and pay less attention to the infinite things we don’t have or even need.

The second thing is practicing positive self-affirmations. By associating ourselves with the behaviors we want more of — we come to align ourselves with the thoughts and actions we seek. For example, by declaring ourselves to be strong or kind — we become strong and kind. On the flip side, if we say we are depressed and lonely, we only accept the things that prove these sentiments.

With this pandemic, I remind myself that I am resilient, adaptable, and strong every day to put myself in the proper headspace to get through another day of quarantine. While it is okay to be vulnerable (it’s ok to not be strong every day), we must also be vulnerable to courage. We’ll never know what the future holds, but all we can do is to prepare ourselves the best we can, setting up the best headspace as possible.

The third tip is to have faith. Not necessarily being spiritual or religious, but having trust in this process. Nobody knows for certain what will happen, but rest assured, there are folks working tirelessly to come up with vaccines and ways of living that will eradicate or diminish this virus. Unless we’re planning on being a part of this solution directly, worrying or stressing more about the situation doesn’t help create a vaccine any faster. We just need to do the best we can, with the things that are in our control.

Sending you so much love and compassion during this period.

I host a podcast called Yellow Glitter, mindfulness through the eyes and soul of a gay Asian. You can find it on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Overcast, and TuneIn.

Along with a bit of weekly mindfulness, I send out my favorite things I discover each week on my email newsletter at Mindful Moments.

Thanks for reading! Until next time.

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Steven Wakabayashi

Steven Wakabayashi


Creative unicorn with an avid curiosity of life. Regular dose of mindfulness, social commentaries, and creativity: