This is a strange time right now... one of those possibly once-in-a-lifetime moments where we’re all going through the same thing.
So, an important message: hang in there, and don’t lose faith.
Today I want to talk about adjusting to our new reality.
Many of us are currently in lockdown, and when the initial panic dies down, there can be that feeling of “What next? How do I get through this?”
[Note: this is a longer post than usual, so here's a TL;DR!
1. Get set up with a routine and/or themed days.
2. Note down what makes you feel good and bad.
3. Think about the ways you could be worse off right now.
4. Figure out how to be super-disciplined with your phone use.
5. Let yourself feel whatever you're feeling.
6. Check in with your worst-case scenario, and make a plan for what you'd do if it happened.]
1. Introducing... The Routine
In times like these, routine can be really important. I’m not usually a fan of routines, but if I don’t have them, I find myself wandering around, wasting the day and not getting anything done.
So think how you can introduce routine into your new reality:
Routine doesn’t have to be scary. It just means adding structure, so you’re not drifting along. (Drifting is okay at times, but if the lockdown continues for months, it might just send you batty.)
Themes can also be really helpful. Perhaps you’ll have a theme for each evening: Friday could be movies, Tuesday - crafts, Sunday – no screens and wind-down time...
It doesn’t matter what it is, just put things in your week so you don’t wake up each day thinking: “Another day... the same as yesterday was - and the same as tomorrow will be...”
Action step: Do you have structure to your days, and if not, how could you add it... in a way that feels right for you?
2. Things that make you go “Hmm!”
For many of us, being confined to one place and not seeing many people can lead to feeling down.
One way I counteract this is by keeping a list of things that make me feel good, and things that make me feel bad.
Because sometimes we forget - and then we do things on autopilot!
Example... Say you Skype a friend, and you come off the line feeling great. Make it a regular thing! Now is the perfect time!
Or maybe you eat a whole pack of cookies, and feel terrible. [Definitely not speaking from experience there... ahem.]
So put it on your list! A few cookies – great. A whole packet... maybe not so good.
Action step: Start a list of things that make you feel GOOD during lockdown, and things that make you feel BAD. Refer back to it frequently, and use it to keep yourself on course.
3. How could I be worse off?
When you’re feeling crappy, people often say: “Think of all the people worse off than you!”
But this generally doesn’t help - we’re already feeling bad... and now we’re feeling ungrateful and thinking of all those people worse off than us!
So instead, I’ve been asking myself:
“How could this situation be worse for me?”
Well, I could be apart from my husband and son. I could be ill, or have an ongoing health condition.
(This time two years ago, I was just about to give birth - I’m grateful that’s not the case now!)
I could have no food in my cupboards. I know people who have just lost their partners at an early age, and who are grieving without the physical support of family and friends. Eeesh.
You get the idea...
How could your life be worse off right now?
Don’t do this to feel worse. Do it as a little experiment... and notice all the things you didn’t realize you had!
4. Put your phone down, and walk away :)
I’ve talked about this before, but news and social media make me feel like CRAP.
I get sucked into social media time and time again (usually when I’m bored)... and I always come off feeling worse!
There’s a lesson in there somewhere ;)
I think it was Steve Pavlina who said internet comments are the most pointless things, and he never reads them. Now I see why :)
If it’s starting to make you feel annoyed, or angry, or just not like yourself... step away.
I doubt you’ll miss much - but you could gain A LOT.
5. It’s okay to feel your feels!
I get that other people could be worse off than you right now.
But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel sad, disappointed, or angry.
If you have to cancel your wedding and are feeling sad, but know there are healthcare workers right now dealing with worse... it’s still okay to be sad.
It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. Allow yourself to be in your situation (and have a mini pity party if you need to).
This is sucky for pretty much all of us, in various ways!
Then go get your list of things that make you feel good, and do one of them ;)
It’s okay to not be productive, or to operate at a reduced level of energy at times.
A quick example from my life...
I was expecting to get EVERYTHING done on my to-do list while we’re in lockdown (I have like a zillion things I want to get done ;)
Then I realized that I’m still looking after our toddler son.
My husband’s working from home, and I get less done when that happens.
So I had to change my expectations: I had to be realistic, and not harsh on myself.
This could be your time to hit “pause” for a while. To focus on what is important.
So go easy on yourself ;)
6. Tackling fearful thoughts...
If you’re feeling scared or worried about the future, try this simple “what if” exercise:
You can’t control the economy... but you can create a plan in case your partner loses their job.
You can’t control the health system overall, but you can do your bit to stop the spread of the virus.
The best way to tackle fear is to face it head on, and question it.
I know these are stressful times right now. I don’t need to tell you that.
And I’m not saying put a smile on and pretend everything’s okay.
But if we’re gonna go through this, we might as well make the best of what we have.
And support each other along the way.
So whether you’re in Canada, USA, India or Ireland; Brazil, Germany or Australia; Kenya, UK, Switzerland or Hong Kong (or anywhere in between):
I send you hellos and virtual hugs. We’ll get through this, and we’ll grow from it.
Now is the time for pick-me-up notes on the mirror, being really kind to your heart, and snuggling down to read a book or watch a movie you’ve wanted to watch for ages.
Hang in there everyone, and keep well.
All my love,
PS – As soon as I get the webpage ready, I'll be sharing my free 2-week "start an awesome habit" course... coming soon! :)