Harmony refers to the ability to establish a connection between your emotions, relationships, behaviors, and viewpoints. Although this is a wonderful sentiment to have and a goal well worth achieving, it may not always be consistent and attainable. It is difficult to stay connected to everything in life. Having to juggle multiple commitments makes it hard for you to show up as your best self. This past year, I have struggled with my life being in harmony and feel that I’m out of balance. During quarantine, I found somewhat of a harmony between the different aspects of my life. Something about staying at home allowed me to thrive and find time to align myself with what I wanted. I was still able to stay connected with my friends and could balance my school, work, and personal goals. It felt as if everything was on one accord. It was my introverted paradise. Now that things have returned to “normal”, it’s been challenging to find that harmony that I once had. That is part of life’s journey, adjusting to life’s challenges and finding the balance between all that you are.
After undergoing therapy and delving into my emotions, I gained insight into the cause of my feelings. This is a normal issue that many college students are facing; feeling overwhelmed by their workload, and not knowing how to regain their sense of harmony after the lockdown. The shutdown has brought about a significant change to the world, and resuming normalcy is a challenging endeavor.
Just hearing that I was not alone in my feelings was extremely helpful. It’s one thing to hear it from your friends but hearing it from a professional was really reassuring. Finding harmony in your life is also something that cannot be achieved in one day.
The saying goes that “patience is a virtue.” That is true, it is an honorable skill to have, and it is also an attribute associated with the best leaders. I have also found that it is so much more than that. It is a form of being kind to yourself and can be seen as a form of self-love. There is a lot of external pressure to be perfect and to perform well, especially in higher education. Having all of these expectations on you and constantly being evaluated on them can be overwhelming. For a while, I contributed to these pressures, feeling that there was something wrong with me for not being able to achieve everything I had set out to. I would feel even more anxious and overwhelmed. By not being kind and patient with myself, I was disrupting my internal harmony.
I realized that this was a pattern of behavior that has carried on throughout my childhood. I have always had to go above and beyond. In middle school and high school, I was involved in advanced placement classes. I had multiple extracurricular activities and worked multiple jobs all at the same time. This was a lot of pressure and responsibility placed on me and if I made a mistake or did not get good grades, I was harshly reprimanded and not offered support. This has carried on into my adulthood and into my college journey. I’m a full-time student and a full-time retail employee. I must work to be able to afford school and living on my own. It is a lot of responsibility and can be overwhelming. Planning ahead can be a struggle, especially when your schedule is not consistent.
So, I had to learn, and will continue to learn, to be patient with myself. It is unfair to expect that I can pick things immediately or that I have everything together all at once. I cannot be perfect, and I should not expect myself to be all the time. I had to treat myself like I would a friend. I’m a great support system for my friends and I would never allow them to talk negatively about themselves or what they have going on. I would always support them in their efforts and never chastise them for feeling overwhelmed or not in control. This has really helped me in trying to find a new form of harmony. Talking kindly to myself and allowing myself to make mistakes is something that has taken a lot of practice and is a daily commitment that I make. It is not always easy but it is worth it.
Connecting with Your Circle
Reaching out to friends and family members can be really difficult, especially when you are unable to find time to meet. While in college, it has been difficult to keep up with everyone and what they are up to. I have been so caught up with my own issues I have not had the time to connect how I would like to. The only time we would connect or get together was for a special occasion. During quarantine, it felt so much easier and better to manage. Everyone was at home and available to talk or Facetime. I had the space to talk, and I did not feel like an inconvenience to people’s day. We were all inside, watching the same Tik Toks and steaming the same TV shows. So, we had something in common to talk about and bond over. Even though there were horrible things happening outside, we were able to bond over it and deepen our connection. With the return back, there have not been very many opportunities to do that. Social events are becoming more and more available again, however, my schedule does not allow for me to take time off, and going has become out of my price range. I guess this is also a part of growing up. Not everyone’s schedules can line up and people have other obligations, as do I. There is no one at fault in this situation. It has affected the harmony that I have within myself.
Some things that have helped me to stay connected to this aspect of my inner circle are sending Tik Toks or funny memes. It is usually something that made me smile or that reminded me of them. That way I don’t feel like they are interrupting their day and remind them that I’m thinking of them. Not everyone replies but I feel like I did my part in reaching out and connecting. I have also been relying less on other people to fulfill me. Although you should connect with others, it is important to be comfortable in your own company. The lockdown showed me how to be comfortable by myself and how not to depend on others to be emotionally fulfilled. Going out by myself has been the main way I’ve been finding harmony in this aspect. I’m still working on it and hopefully, by the end of the semester, some changes will come.
Finding Mental Clarity
During the lockdown period, I was able to learn more about mediation and what it can do to help release feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. It was recommended to me by my therapist, and I really felt the calming effects. I would dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to each day, broken up throughout the day, to regulating my breath and calming my energy. I felt so much more relaxed and focused for the day. I journaled and could focus on my mental health. With being back to in-person lectures and work, I no longer have that flexibility and it’s been difficult to dedicate that amount of time the way I did before. I feel like this was a major aspect of my life that helped me maintain that sense of harmony with myself and the other aspects of my life. I would like to get back to that. I think being able to prioritize your mental health is the main key to remaining fully connected to all the aspects of your life. Once you are able to do that, harmony will come. This is definitely something that is important. I have seen a change in how I am and operate without this sense of harmony. I look forward to the day that I can find it fully.
About The Author
Jameela Johnson is a Senior at UNLV, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English in May 2023. After graduation, she plans on pursuing her Juris Doctor degree. In her free time, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, tarot cards, and being a dog mom to an eight year old chihuahua named Hazel.