To say we’re living through ‘strange times’ right now is stating the bloomin’ obvious I know, but that still doesn’t stop me saying it on a regular basis as if I need to keep reminding myself that this utterly weird, challenging situation is actually real and not just a bad dream!
Life as we knew it has changed like never before in peacetime and our current reality is vastly different. This time last year, I was on holiday in Rhodes and I could never, ever, in my wildest imagination have predicted that we would now be under lockdown in the grip of a terrifying global pandemic.
Our lives have been turned upside down and, like most of us, I’ve struggled to process everything that’s happened and continues to unfold. Actually, ‘struggled to process’ is a complete understatement – my emotions have been all over the place… stumbling aimlessly between numb incomprehension, overwhelming anxiety and a deep sense of grief and sadness.
‘Change’ of any sort, always presents us with challenges but things have changed beyond all recognition in this weird new Coronavirus reality.
A friend of mine really summed it up for me when she said, ‘nothing’s changed and EVERYTHING’s changed!’
As someone who’s worked from home for many years now, my life hasn’t actually changed that much – I’m still doing what I do from home. I’m still working on what’s left of my business….. still running my business club, still attending networking events (online rather than in person meetings now of course)… still writing blogs like this and still supporting my tribe in a variety of ways that I hope will help. And I’m still doing a daily yoga practice and going for a daily walk in the great outdoors. So from the outside, it appears as though things haven’t really changed that much.
And yet EVERYTHING’S changed….. everything’s so very, very different, isn’t it?
Sitting with uncertainty
So while I am still ‘going through the motions’, the reality is, I’m spinning my wheels in an unfocused and totally unproductive way, while simultaneously giving myself a hard time for not actually DOING anything with all the extra time I’ve got on my hands now!
Above all, I’ve felt totally lost and useless. How on earth can I make decisions when the situation is so uncertain?
Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.
Reacting rather than responding
It’s not unusual to react when faced with such a stressful situation – we go straight into survival mode. It’s a natural response to uncertainty and threat but it can have a profound effect on our psychology, leaving us at the mercy of our fluctuating emotions.
But having been in lockdown for over five weeks now, I AM noticing things slowly changing and I’m starting to see this as – dare I say it – an opportunity.
I’m starting to think about where we go from here and daring to think about THE FUTURE….. daring to imagine a new kind of life after Covid-19. It’s given me a chance to pause, take a deep breath and reflect on my place in the world, the purpose of my business, the true contribution I really want to make.
For the first time in a long while I also feel the first stirrings of optimism and excitement about what’s possible. I feel as though I’m no longer just reacting but I’m gradually responding in a more conscious way.
After all, none of us knows what’s going to happen next but we have proved that we are amazingly adaptable, we can do things differently and we can live differently.
It’s not going to be a quick fix that’s for sure and we all need to find our own way through this. It’s different for each of us, and we all need to find and create our own personal support system and this Keep On Keeping On plan is the one I seem to have slowly created for myself.
I am extraordinarily lucky. I’ve always known it but now I KNOW it in a way I’ve never known before. And I give thanks daily for the safety and well-being of all those I love most in the world, for the roof over my head, food on the table, a home and a garden to enjoy.
What works for me is to start the day with Yoga – if anything is going to put me in a peaceful, Zen frame of mind, it’s a few rounds of Salute to the Sun with a couple of Downward Dogs for good measure!
I’ve now tried a number of different online exercises classes from Zumba to Boxercise and have created a weekly workout timetable. It’s amazing how much fantastic free stuff there is available. And getting out in the fresh air for my daily walk is an absolute must for me.
Make conscious choices at the start of the day
If I don’t have a plan, I find it incredibly easy to fritter the day away but a plan of some sort – no matter how loose – really helps keep me anchored.
My latest ‘conscious choice’ is to re-read this magnificent paperback: Transitions. Making sense of Life’s Changes. If EVER there was a book to read right now THIS is it!
Do SOMEthing for my business every day
I’m currently writing like it’s going out of fashion! I’m making sure I capture all the thoughts and ideas, as they come into my head without putting myself under pressure to do anything with them right now. As long as they are safely stored, I can then relax knowing they’ll be there waiting when the time comes.
I’m also learning new skills, brushing up a few existing ones and working my way through the things in my ‘one day’ file! It feels good to achieve something. I’m being led by my inspiration and some days I feel inspired to do something like write a blog and other days it’ll be a quick social media post…. but no matter what, I’ll always do something. Which brings me to the next thing…..
Be kind to myself
Quite frankly there’s enough going on right now without me beating myself up! It’s really not helping and now I come to think of it, it’s never been a strategy that’s worked for me!
Instead, I’m trying to practice acceptance which means respecting my current place in the process, doing what I can and letting go of the rest.
Serve my community
It’s certainly not business as usual for anyone and with so many in my community feeling anxious, fearful and negative, I can’t just do nothing. So I’m using this time to focus on where I can be of service right now, where I can support and add value by creating free resources and offering free coaching for the duration.
So, this is my ‘Keep On Keeping On’ plan! For now at least. And that’s enough just now. We all need to find our way through this any way we can. As uncertain and scary as things may be at the moment, we WILL get through it and we WILL be all the stronger for it when we reach the other side of it.
So, how about you?
How are you feeling? Have things changed significantly for you? What’s your version of the Keep On Keeping On plan? I’d SO love to hear from you at this time.
It’s different for each and every one of us, and whatever situation you are in, I hope you have love and support around you to keep you safe and well until this passes.