the beginning of the end.
It started with rumors. Whispers.
All around campus, students and professors alike discussed the possibility of classes being cancelled as the number of COVID cases grew exponentially. Let me preface this recollection by mentioning that at this division of my life, my status as a graduate student is all encompassing. I live, breath, shit, eat, and make sweet love to Clinical Mental Heath Counseling. I saw clients, sat through weekly supervision, attended to a full time class schedule, studied until the wee hours of the night, woke up, and did it all again. I had a precarious schedule; if one spoke broke or bent out of place, the whole system it supported would crash and burn.
With one email, all the spokes on my perfectly balanced productivity wheel ceased to exist.
That email telling me that classes were cancelled indefinitely put an end to fostering new friendships, cultivating my romantic relationships, experiential learning opportunities, physical connection, access to culture, unhealthy delicacies, routine, motivation, and freedom. That email stole all of those things from me, and it was out of my control. I did not know how to function. After a few weeks, I spent days in bed, procrastinating on assignments for weeks. I was exhausted despite spending every waking moment at home. I did not want to do anything and I couldn't go anywhere. I binged watched movies and fanfiction into the early hours of the morning to shut everything out. I began to sink into another depressive episode. I had creative plans for my social platforms; videos, instagram content, and blog content. But I could not follow through with those plans.
While learning to adjust to life with a pandemic, we start to pay more attention to what is going outside of our bubble. Out of boredom or genuine interest, it's unknown. We start to notice (more like forced to watch) what is happening in front of us, what has been happening for 400+ years (we could argue that it began at the cusp of modern civilization). We realize that our brothers and sisters are still being murdered by those bestowed with power, honor, and compensation to protect and serve all of us. We realize that our good and kind neighbors aren't really good and kind. We realize the extent of the racist history in everyday constants. We realize there was systematic oppression and racism in areas where there shouldn't have been, including the cannabis community.
These new realizations gave way to some history-making riots and protests. Along with some additional self-education, I spoke up on my platform and addressed this problem head on within my graduate program by confronting my peers and professors. But I became emotionally and physically exhausted, as most BIPOC become after dedicating themselves to unravelling these intricate systems of oppression and racism (... and dealing with underrepresentation in a variety of spaces, overt racism, and microagressions on a daily basis) that was initially created and reinforced by the white dominant culture. Not all white people perpetuate this system, but they all have their part to play in dismantling these systems from the ground up.
At the present.
I remembered why I was in grad school, why I create content, why I work with children with ASD, and why I continued to wake up everyday. I took steps (with great effort, mind you) to ensure that I could be motivated and productive most days of the week. I changed my diet, adopting the Ketogenic lifestyle, woke up at 5:15a some mornings to walk and spend time with my mom or do yoga, play with my kitty baby, and listen to some good music. I was proactive in creating a routine, checking my calendar and planner everyday, taking some needed rest and time off, advocating for myself, creating a content schedule (which I try to stick to as of recently), and of course, smoking some cannabis.
The control freak was back in control.
Life is full of unwanted curveballs, some more considerable than others. Check in with yourself, check in with your friends, family, and partners (if you have them) and do what you need to do to get back on track.
For some productivity tips in the midst of substantial social norm change, I linked my youtube video below for your purview.