How did you find lockdown? A breeze?
Or like many, have you found yourself feeling stuck, bewildered, lacking in motivation... not knowing quite what to do for the best - or even just plain overwhelmed?
Let's be honest, life's challenging right now!
Luckily I'm a bit of an expert in resilience and helping stuck people get un-stuck - so read on and I'll take you through a few of the tricks in my toolkit which I think will really help. And the great thing is, you can use these tips at any time - so feel free to make notes!
Remind yourself you've got this
Think back to a time in your life when things have been uncertain or have looked really bad.
I bet you can prove to yourself that you've coped, survived, maybe even grown from that experience. And perhaps things didn't even turn out to be as bad as you thought?
Remind yourself just how capable you are - and reassure yourself that there isn't much that can go wrong that you can't get through, one way or another.
By allowing ourselves to be led by our thoughts, we end up feeling disempowered and paralysed - our natural panic response is meant to protect us, but it rarely helps in reality. Bringing yourself back to the logic in this way - choosing the thoughts you lean in to - can help you feel much more calm and in control.
Allow yourself to feel supported
When we think of the problems and challenges we face, so often we imagine tackling them alone. I do this and I have to remind myself that I don't live in isolation, there's a world of love and support waiting there if I just ask for help.
Even if the worst did happen, there would still be family and friends there to look out for you. There are social support structures in place. In the UK, we're fortunate to have amazing healthcare. Even financial institutions are often not nearly as scary as we give them credit for, if we just reach out for help.
If you have serious worries about your personal or business situation, it can really help to face those fears head on - sit down with the figures and work out where you stand. It might not be as bad as you imagined, and even if it is, then at least with the right information you're empowered to do something about it.
Being proactive and focusing on what you can control are two great ways to calm down the noise in your head and get your thoughts back to helping you move forward.
Avoid the scaremongering
It's July and already the news is full of 'what if there's a second wave of Covid in the winter'!
I heard this briefly on the news this morning and I have to say I turned it straight off. Because really, what good is it to me, today, to have my head full of what might happen in 5 months' time?
Can I do anything about it? No.
All we can do with speculative stories is react emotionally - get angry at the powers that be for failing to contain things properly. Get angry at the virus for wreaking havoc. Get upset over what might happen to friends and family. Get worried about what that might mean for our life or business. All for something that doesn't - and might never - exist.
Far better to focus on the things you can influence.
For me, that means working on my business to make it as strong as possible. It means supporting other people, to help them be happier, healthier and better equipped to deal with whatever happens. And it means enjoying my family. Because whatever happens in 5 months' time, I won't be able to get today back - and if all I've done is waste it, worrying - well, I've missed out!
In a similar vein - just because now isn't ideal, it doesn't mean we should just wait for it to pass. All we ever really have is now. I don't want to sound morbid but the future is just a construct - it might go well, it might not - but if all we're ever doing is waiting for things to get better, what if we look back one day and realise they never did? So, make today count. Forget the things you can't change. Focus on everything that's good in life right now and appreciate the hell out of it! And focus on making that future the best you can, rather than letting life dictate it.
See this as an opportunity
You might be thinking, what opportunity? All I'm seeing is barriers! Then I say great - that means you've got a chance to learn.
If you've had a terrible lockdown experience - what about it was bad? What do you not want, going forward? What does this show you about yourself or your life? And crucially - what DO you want, instead?
Maybe, like me, you barely had time to breathe between looking after the kids and working. So use that to create some goals or make some plans!
I really missed speaking to friends and family as much as I'd have liked, and I really noticed the lack of time for me meant I felt exhausted and mentally drained. So, I've made sure those things are scheduled in and they're not things I'll compromise on again if I can help it.
I've been proactive about childcare and found a part-time nanny, because nursery couldn't take our boys back. To me it was just something that had to happen - because our happiness is the one thing that's really worth investing in.
When you're happy, you're much more productive, much more resilient, and much more likely to thrive in our brave new world!
If lockdown was great for you, what do you want to keep? How can you make the good stuff sustainable? What compromises are you willing to make - or new perspectives can you find to make things work?
This is worth spending some time on - and trusting that there is always a way to make things work - it might be that you just haven't thought of it yet, but you will!
Make this your time to shine
I hope you've found these tips helpful - if you've got any comments or questions please fire away!
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