And suddenly, we're all in it together.
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Most people alive today haven’t lived through an experience like the one we’re currently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic. For most, other than to stay home to stop the potential spread of the disease, we’re powerless. For me, this brings a sense of calm and an opportunity to reassess what’s important.
Suddenly, the pressures and expectations of everyday life have been temporarily lifted and we’re back to basics. Taking care of our health and well-being, connecting with loved ones on a deeper level (albeit by phone or video chat), reaching out for support, offering our own support to others, finding happiness in what we have right here and now, and practicing inner peace. Appreciating the many things that make us incredibly fortunate human beings and a lot of which we take for granted every single day has become our focus.
In this moment, who we are isn't about what we do for a living, or our possessions; things many people define themselves by. That's all been stripped back and here we are as our authentic selves.
We work hard to ensure we have things like nice food and a warm home, but rarely take the time to appreciate them, and our achievements, in the present moment. Not because we’re bad people, but because we’re busy people! The truth is, on a deeper level, we truly appreciate all that we have, but as we’re so busy looking ahead to the next thing on our to-do list, that much desired material possession we’ll soon own, the next promotion, the next anything….this appreciation is easily buried. We invest in the next thing that we think will make us happy rather than living in and valuing the current moment.
Of course it’s good to have goals to work towards; they keep us motivated and offer purpose and direction. But there’s no harm in checking in and making sure they’re realistic and still relevant to you. Over the past couple of weeks, how many of you have realised that you have more than enough to be happy right now, but have been too busy focusing on other things to enjoy it. Maybe you’ve been placing too much pressure on yourself, trying to “do everything” and live up to crazy expectations set by yourself, or even feeling as though you need to live up to societal expectations that in reality, aren’t what you want at all and don’t jive with your soul or your values.
Silencing your soul with societal “shoulds” and comparing yourself to others will likely just leave you feeling lost and like a failure. What a great opportunity to silence the “shoulds” and take back the control.
Everyone’s situation is unique, but for many, our priorities consist of our jobs - as we need to pay the bills, career progression for some, keeping the kids alive and happy/healthy for others, life admin, studying, caring for others; you name it. All too often, simply holding it together and juggling what feels like a million things at once quickly becomes the norm. Doing anything nice for yourself, your partner, or catching up with friends and family fall to the bottom of the list as you simply “don’t have the time”. And before you know it, you feel burnt out, stressed and easily agitated by those closest to you.
Take a moment to reflect on all that you've achieved and appreciate YOU. You’re doing great!
Fast forward to now. Life as we know it is on pause and the current situation has placed us in this very moment; forcing us to find pleasure in what may seem like the “basics”, but is actually our everything. We're finally making time for ourselves and each other.
Self-care is crucial, as we’re all currently feeling such an array of emotions. One day you can feel so positive and upbeat, and the next you find yourself consumed by anxiety and what ifs, worrying about loved ones, your own health, and what the world might look like when all of this is over. Saddened by stories of others who have lost people close to them, and those working on the front line and having to face the reality of this head-on. It’s such an uncertain time, and every emotion we’re feeling has a place. As always, it’s important to allow ourselves to feel each and every feeling, and to laugh and cry when we need to. If you’re feeling productive one day, that’s great – and it’s also fine if the next day you’re not. Just do what you can to get by.
It may be an adjustment and be tough to stay indoors; especially if you're a parent attempting to home school and keep your children occupied. Cut yourself some slack - you're doing the best you can! No one prepared you for this and your children will remember this as the time they got to stay home and spend time with Mum/Dad/siblings, and many valuable life lessons, that can't be taught in a classroom, will be learned.
Amongst other things, this is an opportunity to reflect upon who and what is truly important to us. To show gratitude to those carrying out essential work during this challenging time, to the people in our lives, and to ourselves; for all that we do. To appreciate our health, which is priceless. To focus on our relationships. And on those days we're feeling more productive, to reassess and restructure our lives; or identify and begin working towards a meaningful goal that we’ve been too busy to focus on.
Things will return to "normal", and we have the opportunity to create our new normal.
Time is precious, and living life your way is truly liberating. This is your time!
Sending love to you all. Stay safe, healthy, and happy!