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Finding Motivation Through Constructive Use of Social Distancing Time

By Donna Van Wyk

Ask yourself when last you felt this lonely, constricted and anxious about the future? Perhaps never?

The closest situation for me was coming to America as an immigrant 6 years ago. I found myself in a new environment which I didn’t know how to deal with. I was in a new country. My friends and family were very far away. And I had to wait over a year for a work visa. Also, without a car in the spread-out city of Phoenix, I was confined to biking in my neighborhood or relying on other people get around. Boredom, loneliness, homesickness, and anxiety about money and the future set it. I felt myself falling into depression. I knew I had to do something. But what? I was restricted financially and socially. At that point, I just decided to try anything.

Among some of the things I was able to do was buy a Groupon for a yoga studio, which was biking distance from home. I also applied to volunteer at a ranch one morning a week when I could use my husband’s car. Back then I was just trying to keep myself busy and giving myself a purpose. Little did I know these two random decisions paved a smoother path for my future.

Volunteering at the ranch turned into a part-time job. I was put in charge of designing their website and managing their online marketing. Work I could easily do from home. I felt needed again. Combined with my new yoga hobby, I felt healthier and was inspired to get out of bed in the morning.

When I finally got my work visa and started looking for a job, having the volunteer work experience at the ranch, a local business, was an easy reference for employers. Also, without this volunteer work I would have had a year’s gap on my resume. I got work in marketing but eventually found myself being drawn to yoga again. So, I trained to become a yoga teacher. This grew into me becoming the owner of my own successful yoga business. It took time and hard work. But honestly, the first step was the most difficult. Mustering up the enthusiasm to get out of a rut and take a chance. Like I say when I’m teaching yoga: “Getting to class, is the difficult part”. Venturing out of my comfort zone paid off. I turned my despair into opportunity.

I’m not saying everything new venture you explore in this pandemic will turn your life around. But it could help you get back your drive and enthusiasm. And who knows, maybe you’ll pick up new skills or hobbies too. You may even get in better shape with online exercise classes.

The COVID19 pandemic has drastically changed people’s lives, all over the world. There is no tried and tested survival guide for a modern-day pandemic. So how do we fight off depression in confinement? How do we feel normal again, be productive and find contentment in our lives? Well, it’s up to you to find out. Where there are no instructions, you must experiment until you discover the right antidote.

Take time to also listen to your body too. Do you need more fresh air during lockdown? Take a daily walk or sit outside on your patio for half an hour a day. Have a notebook nearby and make a list of things you can do at home or online.

Maybe you also need to discontinue a few bad habits that could be bringing you down. Staying up late watching movies and eating unhealthily can be replaced with crafts and learning to cook some healthy new meals.

Open yourself up to new possibilities. Use this time to explore the resources and tools you have around you. Ask yourself what you are passionate about. If you are not sure, just try, and keep trying.

Worrying about the future, doesn’t change it. So, instead of worrying about what will be, realize what is. Accept this new reality and make it yours. You could be missing out on opportunities if you don’t.

Donna Van Wyk became yoga certified in 2015, at Arizona’s Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA). Donna’s yoga instruction focuses on reducing the impact of stress on her students minds and bodies, and she specializes in combating any chronic conditions her clients could have acquired.

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