As someone who is very prone to sadness and anxiety, this pandemic has been a nightmare. Death statistics on TV, the latest discovery about coronavirus on social media, conspiracy theories on WhatsApp, and my very poor immunity made me very anxious and fearful. I lost all my motivation and started spending more time on social media, scrolling, and scrolling the whole day. My online classes took place on WhatsApp where teachers would send voice notes of lectures and we would disappear after marking attendance. Nothing in the world seemed promising anymore. Surrounded by procrastination and anxiety, my morale went down and I started thinking about what would happen if my 80-year-old grandfather caught the virus? How would I survive if the virus took my parents? My days and night were filled with imagining worst-case scenarios.
It wasn’t until the mid of June that I realized what I was doing to myself. How badly I was damaging my own mental health and mood. As a psychology student who has a hunch about the mysterious working of our mind, I felt very guilty of the mind traps I had created for my own self.
I discovered that my city has minimum cases of Coronavirus and my family uses all the safety measures. The odds of us being infected are very very less. Suddenly, a wave of relief washed over me. It felt like I had enough oxygen to start breathing again. The next step was to make a strategy, a war-plan so I will never ever be sucked into the whirlpool of anxiety and depression again.
I started my #juststart journey with a SMART goal. The SMART goal was to inculcate the habit of making a progress report of each day in my diary, so I can evaluate how productive and efficient I have been the whole day.
I decided to ask myself these 4 questions each day:
· What have I done today that will contribute towards my future goals and my future success?
·What is something new that I have learned today?
· What am I most grateful for in life?
· Did you actively listen to someone today? If yes, whom? If not, why?
I will write the answers in my diary and at the end of the month, I will evaluate my progress.
I decided to start working on my SMART goal by doing three things:
1. Make a to-do list of the day
2. Answer Progress questions at the end of the day
3. Wake up at 8:00
The day I chose to initiate my plan was the 1st of August and fortunately or unfortunately, it was Day 1 of Eid as well. I made my To-do list the night of the 31st of July. I included achievable tasks on the list instead of going all out.
I failed at the first step. I couldn’t wake up at 8:00 am because I spent the Chand-Raat with my cousins; gossiping and watching movies. But I decided not to give up. In the past, whenever I tried to make a progress chart, I faced this adversity where I wasn’t able to wake up in time, and due to lack of time, I wouldn’t be able to complete my To-Do list. But this time, I promised to make it work.
I started working on my To-do list even though I woke up late. I decided that I am going to cross off everything on the list I was supposed to do in the day. I got ready for Eid with my cousins, took some pictures. After that, I started working on my Gratitude blog which was my priority task. Within two hours, I wrote and uploaded the blog. I was very happy and felt accomplished.
At the end of the day, I filled the progress report in my diary and managed to complete all the tasks in my to-do list. I analyzed my to-do list and came to the conclusion that I haven’t wasted my day. And I was indeed productive on a very busy and hectic day. I learned that I can still control my life a little bit. I have power over my decisions and work and it’s okay if coronavirus has displaced my goals for 2020 because I have power over my work and I can decide what to do, what not to do. I felt like I had taken back my keys to life.
I am going to make to-do lists and progress reports for the rest of August. I am not going to give up. No matter how many times I fail or feel dejected, I am going to keep on doing this. It’s going to be hard on days when I am overwhelmed by sadness but it’s okay. I know the only person who can affect me is my own self hence I am not going to stop.