By Nneoma Ekwegh
Yes, this is the season we are in, a season of no activity. There are no meetings to attend, no offices to get dressed and go to, no parties to turn-up at. Everything that we have used to define self has been stripped. I have wondered about the pastor who currently has no congregation, the teacher who has no pupils, and those in business who are presently without clients. All activity has been halted momentarily, and this self-isolation has become a period of self-introspection, especially for me.
I used to be one of those who ensured they were distracted with activity, in order to avoid being alone with my thoughts, or confronting situations. The more I had to occupy myself, the more I was avoiding myself. But I find that, I have little to do right now, thus I am giving more time to opening myself to myself and the truths I would have continued to avoid in the busyness of life, and it has been rewarding.
Journaling is something I have found profoundly therapeutic and helpful in this season; having the time to follow my thoughts to complete ends, and to gently peel back layers that have covered memories of experiences and past dreams. Through journaling I find myself discovering who I became against who I am meant to be. These revelations are not always pretty but I have realised that they are liberating. The more I write, the more of myself I understand and can resolve to change or accept and sometimes forgive. Research has found that journaling has tremendous positive impact on our physical and mental well-being, and it is advised that a person journals everyday even for just twenty minutes. It is about writing without censorship, honestly and freely, and you will find yourself on one of life’s most rewarding journeys, the journey of self-discovery.
Another thing I have picked up is exercise, some got the memo on this way before now, but I just got mine, or better still, I just accepted mine. I have always been too busy, too tired, too something or the other to make time for this. Interestingly, it’s not only our physique that benefits from an exercise regimen, but our minds and emotions too. Isolation is not particularly easy. Even when you are with people you love, agitations and conflicts can still occur. Exercise is a great way to let off steam, and get yourself in a good head-space. Personally, the goal is not for abs of steel and bulging biceps (not that there is anything wrong with that) but to feel light and limber, physically and emotionally. The more I exercise, the better I feel, the endorphins- those feel good hormones; consume me and set the tone for a good day ahead or sound sleep at night.
Finally, and most importantly for me has been the opportunity to meditate. Meditation means different things to different people, but whatever form it takes, it is an avenue to get our minds free of negative patterns of thinking and processing and to be attuned to more positive, uplifting, calming thoughts. Meditation has been linked to lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and improving blood circulation, the benefits are endless.
Hopefully, the pause button that has been pressed down will be released and life will resume, however, it is my intention to inject moments of pause in my own life voluntarily, no more excuses. I have come to see that personal growth is not just in the activities but also very much in the silence.