Well, it must be said, living through a global pandemic is something new for all of us. Have you thought about what COVID-19 lessons have come your way? From the days of toilet paper shortages and adapting to social distancing rules and working from home to where we are now; it’s definitely been a harder adjustment for some more than others.
How have you adapted? Are you ok?
Have you created new routines that are working for you or are you still struggling to find a balance?
For me, there has been many mixed feelings and it has definitely been an emotional rollercoaster. With massive cancellations as clients started working from home, plus government restrictions on trade, having to shut down my business has been a devastating experience.
So many people and businesses have been affected and the world as we know it, will never be the same.
Nevertheless, reflecting on the past month, I’ve realised a few key things that I’d like to share with you. I call these my COVID-19 Lessons.
Lesson 1: It’s OK To NOT Be OK
It wasn’t until about 2-3 weeks after I closed the business that I realised that I really wasn’t doing so well. Mentally and emotionally, I was in a really bad place.
As someone with such a passion for my work, I suddenly found myself in a position where I felt like I had lost my purpose. Not only had I lost something dear to me; it had been ripped out from inside me and I’d been left out to hang.
I didn’t realise how much of my identity was wrapped in my work. As I couldn’t go in to work and I couldn’t help anyone, I found myself in a state where I could barely help myself.
During this time, I cycled through so many different emotions. Anger & frustration at not being able to work and having the government dictate what I could and couldn’t do.
I would have conversations with myself that if I could just live normally for a year and do whatever I wanted (mainly travel and do all the crazy things I’ve been putting off), the virus could take me out after.
And I would also cycle between small bursts of productivity and days where I would hardly get out of bed. Throughout this time, I would continually beat myself up for not being more productive and not having found my pivot and not having recorded an entire new E-course to promote…. It was tough.
But… once I realised that what I was experiencing was grief, it started to make more sense. I was mourning the loss of my business, the loss of my freedom and rights.
I felt grief for the entire COVID-19 situation and was feeling the communal sadness and pain of everyone who had been affected.
A realisation struck me like lightning – we are currently undergoing a collective global trauma. The full effects of which will likely not be known for a very long time. Once I understood the immenseness of this, it allowed me to give myself a break for not being able to “just get on with it” and be super productive all of a sudden.
This was perhaps one of my most profound COVID-19 lessons. Acknowledging this meant that I could allow myself the courage to feel my feelings, forgive myself and give myself time to rest, heal and recover.
Lesson 2: Reach Out For Help
One of the things I’ve always been terrible at, is asking for help. For some reason, I’ve always believed that I can, and that I have to do it all on my own. I’m independent and strong and self-sufficient, right? I was wrong.
Although I’m not normally someone who posts on social media, one day, I posted something on Facebook. I wrote “#support needed”.
I was at the point where I didn’t know what to do and had to ask for help. The response was overwhelming. Since then, I’ve connected with people globally who have offered their help. This made me realise that help can come from the most unexpected places… All you have to do is ask for it.
Allowing yourself to reach out and to be vulnerable can be scary. But by opening myself up to others, it allowed others in to help me. It made me realise, we are not alone. We are all in this together and the only way we are going to get through this, is by helping each other.
Social distancing and self-isolation can be a very stressful time for us as it’s not normal. The current situation and constant consumption of media can be quite fear driven. Levels of anxiety and dealing with things like job losses can take its toll. Conversely, being in a small apartment with your partner and three kids who you need to home-school while working and doing all the chores at the same time, can also be extremely stressful!
Reports have indicated that mental health issues are on the rise. If you are in a position where you find yourself in need of help, do not be afraid to ask.
Likewise, if you think you know someone who might be in need of some help, check in on them. They will appreciate it!
COVID-19 Lessons: You don’t need to be in the midst of a pandemic to ask for help…
Lesson 3: Pay It Forwards
So far into this journey, with my business shut down, suffice to say, it’s been a bit harder to earn an income. While I waited for more information about government assistance personally and business-wise, it has been a pretty stressful time, financially. It doesn’t help that my landlord in the city still wants me to pay full rent, but that’s another story….
Luckily, one of the things that I love doing which adhered to the exercise and social distancing rules, is golf. I was super fortunate that my semi-retired golfing buddy, had offered to pay for me to play a few rounds with her. Her words will forever stick in my mind… “You’ve got to pay it forwards. I’m still working and I need to get out so, I’m happy to shout you games. Next pandemic, you can help someone out who’s in your position because I’ll be gone by then.”
Bless her cotton socks – thank you Paddy.
This attitude of “paying it forwards” is something that has gained a lot of attention in recent times. Not only does it make the person who is helping out feel good, it creates a momentum of gratitude. With gratitude comes a whole new way of perceiving things.
Studies on gratitude have indicated that by acknowledging the things that you are grateful for, it can increase your general happiness level by about 25%.
Creating a cycle of giving and receiving, for no other reason than because you can, is pretty amazing. The added benefit that it can help others and makes you feel good at the same time is huge bonus. We need more of this, especially in times like these.
Lesson 4: Focus on What Makes You Happy
With more time available, this was a really good time for some hard core self-reflection.
I am starting to think that this is a great opportunity for us to all really start to focus on what really matters. Having to close my business is horrible, but it could be worse! Having more time to think about and analyse how my business was going was actually quite enlightening. It made me think – is that what I really want to do for the rest of my life?
I can appreciate that being in self-isolation and working from home can put a lot of stress on relationships, especially if you are also needing to home-school children. Add in a bit of financial and/or work stress, and things could start to escalate.
All of our routines are out the door. We need to learn how to readapt. And although it’s a pretty crappy situation, the one thing that I know for sure that we are still in control of, is us – our minds and what we choose to focus on.
So, choose to smile and laugh everyday – call up a friend and reminisce about old times or watch a comedy skit. Do something fun or silly – and video it and share it with others (if that’s your thing!). Laughter can be infectious – share it around.
Why not choose to ‘meditate’ for 5 minutes during the day and just imagine going to your “happy place” – a heart-warming childhood memory or perhaps a daydream of your ideal vacation. Somewhere you can go mentally to flood your body with feeling of happiness and joy.
The mind-body connection is an amazing thing. In how many ways will you create more joy in your life today?
COVID-19 Lessons: Smiling and laughing can be contagious too. Choose to spread happiness
Lesson 5: Try Something Different
Ok, so now, I’ve finally accepted the reality of the situation – this lockdown will most likely go on for a while. What can I do to make the best of this situation?
The answer is to be more creative!
Multi-tasking for me now, is hopping on the exercise bike and doing push ups and planks while watching Netflix. And I guess that while going to yoga in my loungeroom doesn’t have the same atmosphere as a studio, it’s great to see how many gyms and fitness professionals have adapted and now offer online sessions.
Additionally, although I’m not a terrible cook, I have to say, I’m getting bored of my own cooking. But with the internet, there are so many new recipes for me to try. At the moment, I’m loving a bit of homemade baba ghanoush. Look at what’s in season and see if it’s something that could be your new favourite dish. Just try to make it semi-healthy!
I also started thinking to myself – “you know, we are so lucky to be living in this modern century.” With thanks to the internet, even during a lockdown, I can still connect with family and friends, here and overseas. Something else that’s new and different for me…. Is that I have had to start to embrace social media more… and I know that the only way of getting better at doing videos, is, to do more of them. So connect with us on Instagram or Facebook and let me know how you think my video skills are going! 🙂
Having the opportunity to do things in a way that we’ve not done before is a gift. I believe that the creativity and collaborations that will come out of this pandemic is something that would never happen if we hadn’t been in this situation. What are three things that you will do to fuel your creative mind this week?
Why These COVID-19 Lessons?
Even though this pandemic has been so devastating on so many fronts, it has given me something that I would not have had…. Time to pause, reflect and breathe. Sometimes we go through life doing the same thing everyday, with no more thought.
This was obviously a big shake up for all of us. And for that I’m grateful. One of the biggest realisations for me however, is that I should already be practising these lessons, so why did it take a pandemic for me to realise this?!
Nevertheless, I guess it had to happen so that I could learn, what I call my COVID-19 lessons.
In future, I promise to be kinder to myself and commit to nurture not only my physical body, but also my mental and emotional well-being. And I will ask for help whenever I need it. Finally, by focussing on the positives and adapting to change with a smile, I will also embrace growth more easily and effortlessly.
I was inspired to write this and share my last few weeks because I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.
So many people that I’ve spoken to have struggled in some way, shape or form to adapt with our “new normal”. Things such as social distancing rules, self-isolation and changes in their work schedule or ability (or inability) to work from home; add in home-schooling and it’s a whole new kettle of fish to deal with. It’s a huge change for us all and the pressures are different for everyone.
Dealing with these issues can be hard when we don’t have our usual outlets available, like catching up with mates at the pub for a few or going to the movies or the beach to chill out and relax.
Nevertheless, what I do know, is that we have the ability to get through this. We are all in the same boat and if we are here to support each other, then we will be able to get through this easier than if we try to do it alone. Once we can start to change how we view the situation, it will become simpler to find solutions, rather than focussing on the problems. And it’s always more fun and easier to do it with a smile or a laugh and with a friend.
If you’re struggling and need some help, then please reach out. I’m offering free online 20 minute introductory kinesiology sessions. The beauty of online sessions, is that anyone worldwide can have access to them.
Kinesiology is a holistic therapy which can help shift our mental or emotional states from one of stress to one of more calm and centredness. We work by balancing a person’s underlying energy so that it can help you to see things from a different perspective. This new way of looking at things can help to create space for you to approach the situation more creatively and as such, find new methods and strategies to deal more effectively with the issue.
There are so many great possibilities that can come out of this pandemic – let’s create a more positive future together.
Article by Melanie Yeoh