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Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Managing Change and Healing One Year Later

Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Managing Change and Healing One Year Later

We’ve passed the one year anniversary of the pandemic, and I think we’re all feeling some kind of way after being in isolation for so long. Facing new normalities and moving forward while navigating a pandemic can become overwhelming. Oftentimes, it can feel like we need to be “worthy” of downtime. We’re taught to grind past our limits. We’re not taught to stop. Rest shouldn’t require a direct link to an ulterior motive in order to be validated.

Right now, it’s important to not only have access to the proper tools and resources, but to be extra gentle with ourselves. Today, I have 5 tips that might be useful for you and your journeys in healing from this trauma.

Tip #1: You’re not lazy for not knowing what to do right now. You’re not failing if things aren’t the way they used to be. The endless supply of downtime and uncertainty is not your fault. And everyone else is experiencing the same thing in one way or another.

We’re having to re-examine our lives in the clearest light yet, and this can be intimidating. Oftentimes when things feel uncomfortable and off-balance, it can be a sign of change and growth. One vital thing to keep in mind is that clarity is a gift. It’s a gift to see things for what they truly are. It’s a gift to be led towards a path that resonates. And if clarity feels muddled right now, this can be a sign to get quiet and recharge.

Tip #2: Reflect on what is in your control, and what is not. It can be very easy to feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders; especially when things feel out of control. Oftentimes, we feel scared when we lose that sense of stability, because the desire for stability is in our nature. It’s time to let go of what we can’t control. I’d recommend writing a list entitled “Things I Can Control, Things I Can’t Control.” This was recommended by my therapist, and I’m so grateful she did. There was a big sense of relief I felt from this exercise.

Tip #3: There is progress in taking subtle yet impactful actions. Baby steps can do wonders. Remember not to limit your experiences and your healing to factors that feel overly-grand. “Taking action” does not mean “do something complex, big, and grand, and do it until you’re exhausted.” “Taking action” means you are turning your desires into reality, which can be achieved in the smallest yet most meaningful steps. Getting out of bed, getting a glass of water, and doing your best to stay hydrated, is progress. Brushing your teeth and taking a shower when your energy previously felt the absolute lowest, is progress. Calling a friend, going for a walk, or doing any type of movement that helps shake off and deal with some complex emotions, is a sign of taking action.

Personally, getting outside and connecting with nature has been really healing and soothing for me and my mental health. And the best part is that it’s normally free, accessible, and easy to get to. Finding an escape does not always require a long, complex plan. If you look for places in your local area, take some headphones with you, and make the best of the day, you might be surprised at how relieving this simple act can feel.

Tip #4: There is no right or wrong way to heal. Healing was never meant to be easy, fun, or pretty all the time. There is undeniable grief in losing familiarity and normalcy. There is grief in moving on, bidding farewell to the way things once were. I’m still recovering from the grief of this past year myself. There have been countless challenges and emotions that sprung to the surface in the midst of this one year anniversary. Whether we feel it or not, feeling through these emotions means we’re one step closer to recovering.

Tip #5: The fact that you’re alive today in spite of everything is huge. You’ve faced a lot this year, and you’re still here. This is an accomplishment and a blessing in itself. Remember to listen to yourself now, and adjust accordingly. Rest is on the Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (highly recommend checking this out) as one of our vital basic needs. I’ve personally been afraid of the idea that slowing down and doing nothing means I’m “wasting time” or “being unproductive.” However, when you take time to slow down, you get to come back stronger. There is nothing “unproductive” about listening to yourself and honoring how you feel. When you make it a habit to take time for yourself to breathe, that normalization can transition into your daily life, and therefore greatly impact the quality of living.

I’m sending each and everyone of you so much love on your journeys of healing. I’m right there with you, and I know we’ll find a way to make it through together.

Personal Resources:

Lavendaire YouTube Channel:

The Daily Shine Podcast:


The Laverne Cox Show ft. Alok Vaid-Menon:

The Meg-John and Justin Podcast:

Lifeline Chat:


Gemma Farquhar is the writer of "Gemma's Gem of the Week" and author of "The Shape of Something New." She is passionate about the future of storytelling and welcomes all ages to her column.

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