Appreciate The Small Things

As I sit here this morning drinking my coffee really taking in how beautiful it is to be able to spend time with my partner and my cute little dogs every single day I realize how much the world does not appreciate the small things.

My hope is that during this quarantine we all learn to live a much simpler life. Realizing that material possessions are not as important and that life is about experiences and people and spending time with the ones you love.

Everyone faces different challenges with this quarantine and many people are suffering and have it so hard. So many are struggling to find where their next meal is coming from, worried about the virus or maybe they have the virus, or a family member has the virus. There is so much that everyone is going through right now that our only option is to look for the light at the end of the tunnel and even possibly the light in the situation right this moment. I guess that comes a little easier for me considering my entire life I’ve been faced with so many challenges. The only thing that has ever helped me cope, in my entire life in any situation is looking for the humor in it. For example; in the past 4 years I was attacked by someone, started Jiu Jitsu with the dream of learning all forms of self-defense even though Jiu Jitsu is my favorite. Dated an MMA gym owner only to find out he is basically trying to have a cult in that place, among many horrible things that went on in that place I escaped that place and helped others get out. Went to a new gym which was really more of a bro gym but the techniques I learned there I will always be appreciative of. My ankle was injured, still have issues and it’s almost been a year. There was a short period where I thought I was going to lose my dog. Lost family members to death, was stalked by that ex who owned the gym. Struggled through so many things daily with anxiety which if I went into would take days to explain. Then I finally start getting myself together and found a new home gym that has the most amazing human beings and the most understanding coach. My life was finally back on track and having less anxiety and BOOM we have the pandemic.  Honestly, how can you not look for the humor in any situation without it you will go insane.

The days leading up to everyone being quarantined I was in denial. You see I am a Nail Tech and reflexologist so I meet people from all over the world. In January, one of my clients was telling me how her sister was stuck on that cruise ship where they wouldn’t let anyone off. So, you think well people are doing what they are supposed to but when she told me they let them fly home after being quarantined for 14 days I was thinking what everyone was thinking. Why are people still traveling? It sounded harsh at least I thought like where did this thought come from. Seriously, why are they letting people on planes one of the worst places to be when a virus is beginning. As much as we didn’t want people trapped in other countries there were ways for us to take care of them in other countries and not bring them home was my thoughts. It just did not make logical sense. Then I went through that stage where it was stupid, the conspiracy theory stage thinking this isn’t possible something else is going on. Which I am sure we have all thought at least once. You know what I have found we have to stop looking at the news. Stop following people that keep sharing articles about this pandemic. Yes we should all be aware of what is going on in the world. Does it have to take over our entire lives? No. It shouldn’t. If we all stayed glued to the news we will all lose our minds. Be creative. Be adventurous. Be gentle. Most of all be you. It’s so important to look on the bright side of this time we are all gifted. Yes, you read it right gifted. This is our chance to slow down. You know the world couldn’t have kept going on like it was. Everyone disengaged and glued to their phones. Stop rushing around from appointment to appointment. Look around, all of our stores were closing. Daily we were reading that a department store was closing. Why? We all started ordering on Amazon. There is nothing wrong with ordering things we are all guilty of it. Where does that lead us though? It’s called domino effect. If we stop shopping that means the stores can only afford a certain amount of employees which also means they are going to slow down on the products being shipped to those stores. Now let’s really break that down. How many jobs does that affect? In a department store say like Sears for example where most if not all of those have closed by now. It all starts with the floor associates then to the cashiers, then to the shipping and receiving department, managers. Then your regular Joe goes in who never orders online and can’t find what he is looking for all because everyone went to online shopping. It affects so many jobs. We wonder why our economy was failing. Not everyone does their part. How many years is it going to take for us to dig out of this? What I am saying here Is we should all be paying attention and doing our part. Go out and enjoy the park, support your local restaurants especially right now by getting takeout. If you were part of a gym before if it’s at all possible still try to pay your gym membership so that you have a gym to go back to.

There are so many positive things we can do daily to get through this. One thing I have had to do throughout this is realize when my anxiety is about to start if it is then I do a workout. How many people have offered us free videos on BJJ Fanatics?  Take advantage of it. No it isn’t as much fun training with   the people from the gym but there are things to do at home to still be able to train Jiu Jitsu. If there weren’t so many of us wouldn’t still be doing it. While Jiu Jitsu is a team/partner sport it’s even more of a solo sport especially mentally. Sticking to Jiu Jitsu during this time helps so much. I read just this morning about a female Brown Belt who has been fighting COVID-19 for 24 days and how the mental mindset that she has developed through Jiu Jitsu is helping her in fighting this virus. We are at such an advantage by training in Jiu Jitsu if you really start paying attention it’s not just physical it’s mental, its emotional and even spiritual. Use Jiu Jitsu during this time. One of the main reasons I haven’t been physically scared of this virus this entire time is because of competing in Jiu Jitsu and being attacked. It’s like if I fought this hard through all of that a virus is not going to scare me. Sure if I get it I will be scared but I will not go down without a huge fight ever with anything.  Even if say you don’t want to train physically one day just watching videos can get you excited again. There is always ways to get out of these mental slumps.

This is also a time to enjoy your hobbies and learn new ones. Take classes. This is your chance to learn a new language or take course online for FREE. Can you believe how many Universities are offering courses for free.  I’ve being doing one course through Harvard and for my profession I have already finished my continuing education for the year.  Painting, reading, hiking are among other things that I’ve been up to.  Even though we are in quarantine right now and we are confined to what we can do try and think about what we CAN do during this time. I think you will find that list is far greater than the list of things we cannot do. A lot of people are even considering a career change. Now is the time. Look at this time as a fresh start. You can do anything you want to do. Stop letting money get in the way of the things you want to do. It’s been proven during this time that we can do anything we want to do you just have to look on the bright side. At the same time be gentle on yourselves. If it’s a day where you just want to watch Netflix then spend a whole day watching Netflix. If you want to go to the park then go to the park. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help. We have so many things at our fingertips. If you have no money and do not know where your next meal is coming from do not hesitate to ask for help. So many people want to help people during this time. I saw a post the other day someone wanted to donate their entire stimulus to someone in need. Do not be afraid to ask .For we are all in this together and that is what is so beautiful about the entire situation. Have you paid attention when you do go out for groceries how much clearer the air looks? Have you paid attention to the birds singing? Have you seen the pictures all over the world of how beautiful the water, land and how animals are just enjoying themselves? How many sea turtles are able to be born all over the beaches because humans are not around to hinder their process? It’s beautiful.  

So today I challenge you to a few things. One, is to find humor daily in this situation and don’t be too hard on yourself. Two, find something new to try and try it. Three, use Jiu Jitsu daily if not physically then mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Three, ask for help when needed and if you do not need help then try to help someone else. Start with those things and go from there I think you will find the light at the end of the tunnel.


Stephanie Shelton Its the little things

 Stephanie Shelton is a white belt out of Gracie Burlington BJJ in North Carolina.