There are days when it is hard to get out of bed. When you feel like all the energy has drained out of your body. You know that when you get up, everything will be exactly as it was when you left it. The world will still be in chaos, the schools will still not be fixed, riots and fires will remain, and the nagging feeling at the back of your head tells you that something even worse is about to transpire. That does not even touch on politics or your views of it, oh no. Those emotions are too complex to even mention. “No,” you say, “I’ll stay in bed where it is nice and comfy, cozy, and try and escape a little longer.”
COVID-19 came into our lives and brought something devastating with it: depression. We did not used to feel this way. We used to have joy and bounce out of bed. Yet something happened throughout the course of these many months as we battled the pandemic. We fell into depression. It happened gradually, not all at once. It started with shock when everything shut down. We huddled in fear, hugged our families close, and made our routine trips to Walmart. The shock and fear gave way to a numbing pain after a while. We found ourselves devastated. This world we live in is not the one we had previously known. There are different rules and restrictions, new patterns and ways of life. We want to trade back this horror story version to the manufacturer for the original. We want our old lives back. The “new normal” is overrated, glitchy, and overrun with bugs.
There was never a day that we decided to become depressed. All of a sudden, we realized we were. After all, there is so much to be depressed about. Racism, nationalism, hurricanes, fires, healthcare, politics, and the list never ends. “It is not our fault that all these things are happening,” we say to ourselves. It is so easy to just stay in bed and let the heaviness of everything drag us deep.
We have been depressed too long, America. It is time to reclaim our days. We cannot control the fires, hurricanes, vaccines, government, or racial conflicts. Though we can raise our voice and insist on change, we cannot bear the burden of all of these disasters alone. We are not in control. The weight and responsibility is not ours alone. We need to get out of bed and decide to embrace a new kind of day with new patterns and responses. The world may never go back to how it was. Yes, there is a “new normal.” It is horrible, hellish, and unprecedented. We deserve better than depression, though. We deserve beautiful, sun-filled days full of laughter, security, and joy. We have to choose to start embracing the days, even though they may be filled with strife and calamity. We must choose joy. Our beds are starting to sag with the weight of our depression-filled days.
When depression fills your soul, it is hard to find or live in joy and peace. We can start small. How about a cup of coffee outside or with a friend? What about a home-cooked meal, beautifully served and prepared, to lighten the heart? How about giving a kiss? You know, like the perfect first kiss in movies. Try it with your partner. It might brighten your day. Or how about an impromptu dance party with friends or your children (under ten people, of course). Perhaps it is time to try a new hobby like yoga, knitting, or a DIY project you never had the guts to try.
You deserve to have joy in your home and in your life. No matter what happens in the world, you deserve better than depression. It takes awhile to climb out of it, but it can happen. You can be happy again. You can have a sense of joyful anticipation over the day. The good times do not have to be over; 2020 could be the start of the new you who embraces joy even while looking at all that COVID-19 has brought.
- Where, what, and who are the sources of joy in my life?
- What is one thing I can do today to increase my joy?
- How can I put a smile on someone’s face today to help encourage their sense of joy?