‘Has the Pandemic Transformed You?’

2 years ago / by Sweta Vikram
Image credits: Shutterstock

The pandemic has impacted us all. Whether you have lost a loved one or a job or have had to close your business or deal with a health issue brought upon by the coronavirus, we were and still are dealing with our own trauma. The degree of impact over the past 16-18 months might have lessened, but it still exists.

I write about many things, including holistic wellness. Writing is how I have always navigated the world. Every situation and emotions start to make sense if I can give it shape on paper. When I read the word and a complete sentence, I feel more centered and confident. But imagine writing and releasing a book in the world during these unprecedented times, when nothing can be planned or predicted.

I have a new book coming out on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. It’s titled “A Piece of Peace.” The book is a collection of essays focused on:

  • The power of mindful living.
  • The impact of finding and owning your voice on your well-being.
  • A reminder about the role of wellness in the lives of writers & creative professionals.
  • Essays and stories on coping with the pandemic, mindfulness, Ayurveda, meditation, resilience, productivity, and more.
  • Tips, tricks, wisdom, all packed neatly with compassion to help you navigate life no matter what’s thrown at you.

The book has garnered some incredible media coverage and advance reviews, for which I am incredibly grateful. But here is the thing: my strength is being in front of my audience and connecting with people in-person. The energy exchange is palpable in such cases. But in 2021, I can’t plan a book tour or a book launch party or collaborate with brands for in-person events (I had worked with Lululemon when my novel “Louisiana Catch” came out in 2018).

A Piece of Peace

The war between the vaccinated and unvaccinated folks is going full throttle, and we are unsure of how to navigate that space. With the Delta variant surging in the United States, and my existing autoimmune condition, I am uncomfortable to hop on a plane. Traveling to certain parts of the country, doing indoor reading, and engaging with strangers isn’t the best choice for me — despite me being fully vaccinated.

In the pre-pandemic days, a few months prior to any book launch, I would be shut down and in a stressed-out mode. I don’t express my tension outwardly, so you wouldn’t have seen me being obnoxious, screaming at people. But stress would show in other ways — my sleep would get impacted. Despite daily meditation, I wouldn’t always be able to shut down my mind.

If there is one thing, I am good at and better than others: I can consistently work harder than most. My body could break down and shout for help, but I wouldn’t listen. I thought I had to keep going.

Do you know what happens when you constantly respond creatively to breaking news that’s relevant to your upcoming book? You might do it because you need the money. Or you assume a timely response is expected of you. Either way, you eventually feel depleted, because being on the go nonstop isn’t sustainable.

The pandemic has shown us all the hard truth about the world. Even more importantly, it has forced us to sit with discomfort and face our own bullshit. Yes, hard work is important. Doing your due diligence as the author of the book is integral. But that doesn’t mean you need to burn the midnight oil or have no time for life because there is a book on the way.

Writing a book and finding it a home during the pandemic has been a journey. I had no access to writing retreats, writing communities, creative spaces, or even in-person conversations. I felt burnout from Zoom (I have a day job and a growing wellness business, aside from my writing commitments), so I didn’t always have the time or availability to attend Zoom conversations with writers. But I didn’t feel any FOMO.

The pandemic made me more self-reliant. It cleared up self-doubt. It helped me prioritize better. It taught me that I can’t be in a million places at the same time — and that’s okay. The pandemic gave me the permission to choose my health and sanity over other people’s expectations.

I have grown closer to my writing. I know deeply why I write and what it means to me. I have gotten to know my friends and family better. My world feels more full, hearty, and centered. There is no noise. This weekend (two days prior to my book launch), we are celebrating one friend’s birthday, supporting another who has set up a booth at a street fair, and catching up with yet others we haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic. I am speaking at a friend’s memorial virtually. I will make plenty of room for workout, yoga, and rest. I will hold space for pause and reflections. Because responding, not reacting, makes me a better writer and a human being.

“A Piece of Peace” is my 13th book. Writing it has brought me more peace than anything else in the world. If you’d like to find out more or order a copy, here is the link. At the least, after today, I hope you will check in with yourself and ask if the pandemic has had any transformative influence on your life.

Be yourself — not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” Henry David Thoreau