Category Archives: Women’s Health

Happiness During the Pandemic?

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

Happiness during the pandemic?

Hello Beautiful Blossom!  Is happiness during the pandemic possible?

The question at hand:  Can you have happiness during the pandemic?  Is it possible?  Or happiness during any difficult life change for that matter … is it possible?

I think so.

Honestly.

It's not always easy ... at first, especially ... but it's possible!

And I’m going to share with you how I found happiness during the pandemic and other difficult times in my life in hopes my experiences can help you find new joys and feel better … super soon!

Right up front, I want to reassure you, I’m not talking oversimplified, fluffed-up B.S. here.  I’m not going to tell you some overly positive, unrealistic, useless crap.

I’m going to give you concrete, reality-based, helpful insight to help you!

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

Concrete, Reality-based, Helpful Insight

Let’s start with acknowledging how hard living can be in unusual times.  Be it a pandemic.  Leaving behind all that you know to have to start over in a new place.  Unexpected career change.  Or how about a change in relationship status?

When we’ve been living life as we see it, happily, and to suddenly get uprooted and lose the familiar, the comfort, the safety, the security, or whatever was making us happy … when we lose what we are used to … it can be very unsettling … and very upsetting.

Yet …

There’s something to be said for breaking routine … getting out of your comfort zone … trying something new.  … Hang with me here … give me a second to show you where I’m going with this.

When we do the same things over and over, day after day, our chances to face new challenges diminish.

We can stunt our own growth.  Our readiness to adapt can fade.

Think of it as Use It or Lose It.

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

Personal MK Short Story Time with Big Time Enlightening Insight

About five years ago, I was at the peak of my chronic fatigue/lethargy/muscle weakness challenges.  I spent most of every day and every night in bed.  Sometimes sleeping for up to 21 hours at a time, to wake up for 3 hours, and then find myself fully spent and going right back to bed.

Adding to this, my honeybun and I were living in Philly for Honeybun’s work … far away from home … and very different from our nature-y, Midwest life in Michigan.

It was a depressing and difficult time.

We lived for my “good days/moments!” But when we got them, all the things we would normally do for fun and happiness weren’t there.  The life we loved was left back in Michigan, and we felt stuck.

There came a day when I was Skyping (old school to today’s Zoom) with a friend, and I was telling her about my woeful concerns and challenges, and she replied with the most amazing, supportive, but assertive words ever!

“Well, if you can’t rebuild your Michigan life in Philly, then find new Philly things.  Try that and see if you can build new happiness.”

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

How Did I NOT See that?

Wuuuuuut????

How simple.  And so obvious.

How had I not been able to just see it?  How I had not been able to just ask myself that question?

It was being stuck IN the moment, not being able to see such a straightforward solution.

 It’s like when you can’t see forest for the trees.

Sometimes you just need a fresh perspective.  An outside eye. Someone else independent of your view … the look of someone on the outside looking in to see what you can’t or don’t.

It was one of those conversational lightbulb moments that comes with the opportunity to heal and grow!

Since honeybun and I both had latent loves for photography and nature, we chatted and did some research, and before you know it, we were both geared up with digital cameras and a list of nearby gardens to visit.  And next good day, we bolted out the door with excitement!  This has led to new, cool friends and sustained life goodness!

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

Applying what I learned ... turned into pandemic readiness!

So fast-forward to the early days of the pandemic and all the shutdowns and isolations.

I was ready.

I knew the drill.

Instead of getting lost in the depression of losing life as we knew it or our way of living … we just created new pandemic-life things to do for us.

Even as the pandemic has dragged on ruthlessly and unkindly … we have continued to grow new ideas and activities into our days.

I still have debilitating health challenges.  It’s a dangerous world out there for me.  So isolation is really our best plan.

But isolation is so … lonely … and potentially disconnected.

True.

But with the pandemic came Zoom.  I immediately sought out connectivity via Zoom.  I rethought my plans and grew in happy activities I could do in the safety of our space.  And when our little spot in the universe (Starry Cottage was finally built and ready for living), we dug in and have created happy spaces throughout our home to support a healthy, active, engaging, fun life … even in the pandemic.

Now, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you pandemic living is awesome.  Pandemic living has a big ol’ SUCKS!!!!!!! attached to it.

Do we miss getting out and playing in nature not just in our backyard?  Hells yes.

Do we miss seeing our peeps in person?  Yessssssssssssssss.

Do we miss the living freedoms we had before the pandemic hit?  Hells to the yes a million times over and over.

We even miss the simplicity of going shopping without being afraid for my life.  As such, I’ve not been inside a store, grocery or otherwise, in nearly 2 years.

But like living in Philly.  It wasn’t about rebuilding the life we had in MI.  That was impossible.  (The places, people, nature, and opportunities are all different … plus, our friends and family were all back home, plus, Philly is WAY more expensive!!!)

It was about building a new life filled with happiness in a space we had to be in – Philly.

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

What we're really talking about here ...

And that’s where we are today.  It’s not about building a permanent pandemic life – hopefully (and if so, we’ll cross that bridge when it gets here)It’s about adapting and coping and growing.

And the truth of it is … with these challenges, when you seek to find the happinesses that will help you manage the challenge you face … you can grow new goodnesses into your life.

Philly forever gave us photography (and new friendships)!  And I also learned how to digi-doodle and art!  And how to video call. 

All of these have been amazing helps during the pandemic!

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

Like Philly, the pandemic has given me gifts of happy growth as well!

I am a better, happier person!

  • I’ve met some amazing people in faraway places like Australia and the UK, and even way up in Canada … people, that sans pandemic, there would never have been a need, an impetus, to reach out to and grow into my life.
  • I have substantially grown my digi-doodling and digi-arting capabilities! I lose myself in my creating space … and my creative expression flows out of me with silly happiness!
  • I enjoy watching Bog TV (we have about an acre of nature behind our backyard to just sit and watch the trees, furry and flying and crawling creatures, the cattails flourishing in the bog, the ever changing sky, the stars … all of it) – being mindful and present, and sharing time with my honeybun.
  • I have found a bit of me that I never knew was there, and I’m getting to know this new me … and loving her! I’m way PINKer than I ever knew.  I’ve always been a lover and a helper, but I’ve found my light amongst the stars and here on earth.  I’m feeling a bubbling excitement that’s new and fun.  It’s making me smile bigger and brighter.  I LOVE this feeling!!!

So does living in pandemic times have a tremendous suck factor?  Sure.

But does that have to be all it is?  NO!

Can it be better than missing the way life used to be?  OHMIGOSH, YEEEEEESSSSS!

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

It's Your Turn!!!

So let’s get you up outta that stuck rut!  Let’s get you finding your new happy things!

Let’s get you past waiting for happiness to come back to you in “life as it was” returned.

Honestly … there’s real truth in the statement, “There’s no going back.”  Or “you can’t go back.”  There’s no going back and you can’t go back, because that moment is gone forever.  You are in a new moment.  You are in a new time.  With new things. 

Life will never be the same as it was before.

  • It’s basic logic.
  • Basic fact.
  • We’ve seen too many new things and experienced too many new experiences.
  • Life and its gifts and challenges continue to roll at us.

We grow.  We change.  We evolve.

Or we stay stuck, lamenting.  Disappointed.  Unhappy.

Let’s grow you, blossom!

You are beautiful!  You have so much happiness and goodness inside of you!  What is that thing?  Or things you’ve always wanted to try?  Or do?  Which one or ones will work for you in this moment of time?

Let’s help you let go of a life gone and blossom in your new life!

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

Your Happiness During Hard Times (the pandemic) Checklist!

I hope sharing my experience has given you insight into possibilities for your life.  Sparked ideas for you that will help you grow happiness into your days, no matter where you are or what big shiz is happening out in the world.

In summary:

  • Don’t wait around for the “the way it was” … it’s not coming back. It can’t.  You’re a different person now than you were then … life changes us … so even if you could go back, it still wouldn’t be the same, cuz you’re not the same.
    • Accept that your life and life around you is moving forward.
  • Ask yourself, “What new thing or things can you grow into your life that work for you now?”
  • Find and create ways to grow these things into your life.
  • Grow forward.
    • Let go of the past.
    • Love the parts of the past that were wonderful.
    • Appreciate the parts of your past that helped you grow and be a better you … a more defined you … a you with interests and ideas and abilities.
    • Give gratitude for all the parts of the past … even the hard ones.
      • They have helped shaped you into the person you are today with your current strengths and gifts and love to share!
    • Give gratitude for having a today to live and find and grow a happier, healthier you!

Well, Blossom, I give gratitude for any and all the help this sharing gifts you with!  (I'm hoping it's lots and lots!!!!)

You are beautiful!  You are precious!  You are loved!

Give yourself the time you need to love you!!!

Thank you for sharing this time with me!!!  Hugging you so big!

Mary Kate Kopec. Love and Big Hugs. Happiness during a pandemic.

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