No matter what our life circumstances are, it is rare that we will thrive without making the decision to do so.
Happily, many phone conversations I have had in the past few weeks have contained the sentiment of ‘I’m loving the new way of living, slowing down, taking stock of my choices and making better ones. I don’t want to go back to how it was before Covid-19 lockdown.’
I totally share this sentiment and have been working on ways to open my life to additional meaningful experiences, more open, tolerant relationships and a healthier work/life balance.
Like many people, I lost the bulk of my paying work when the lockdown was implemented in Australia. After the initial couple of weeks in March when I certainly experienced stress, (and if I’m being honest, a mild amount of panic), I decided I had to take charge of my choices.
I knew I could ‘hang stunned’ by the unavoidable circumstances, continue to panic and feel sorry for myself, wait for someone else to fix the problem, and feel pretty miserable in the meantime. Watching the world wide news as it dramatically unfolds could easily keep me in a place of fear.
Or I could decide to find the positives, negotiate the difficulties, take charge of as much as possible and make some changes that allowed me to move forward again; to get ‘unhung’.
I am no stranger to stressful life circumstances. And because of past experiences, I knew straight away that I wanted things to be different, and it was up to me to execute what I needed to do. I understood it was important to have a plan of action to help me to successfully and happily negotiate the following months, and emerge into a better work and personal mind space.
10 strategies that help me thrive ‘within’
I accept that these circumstances are unprecedented, I’ve not been here before, and I give myself permission to feel all the different emotions this evokes – fear, worry, instability, uncertainty, helplessness; to name a few.
I give myself permission to grieve the things that I am missing out on – in this case, not being able to see my kids and grandkids for months when I am used to seeing them once or twice every week, losing my income for an uncertain time, minimal social options, restricted movements; we can all add to this list.
I identify and take charge of my own choices. Identification is especially important because my choices are very different to what I have been accustomed to.
I practice humbleness and admit my weaknesses and uncertainties, and I choose to be bold, and ask for help when I need it; emotional, physical, spiritual.
I realise the skills and strategies that I have learned previously on my life journey are a significant part of my current strengths, and are transferable; I don’t have to start completely from scratch. There are gems of wisdom I can pull forward for this current time.
I let go of the fear of disconnection. I allow myself to develop and maintain great relationships, relevant to current circumstances, by making the best use I can of the available tools; zoom chats, old fashioned letter writing, positive social media, long phone conversations just to say hi; we are lucky we live in such a connected time.
I take great care of myself, keeping my physical and psychological immune system healthy with exercise, a balanced diet, meditation, daily connections with family and friends. I’m understanding with myself. I support myself through the grief, reaching out when I feel down, supporting others when they need it.
I choose to find new opportunities within the framework of ‘what is’; this takes courage, support and creativity; all of which are supported by the above 7 steps.
I learn new ways of doing things. New skills, for example; to convert some of our business to online options. Or learning how to communicate more effectively through non face to face interactions. Perhaps making good use of the extra home time created by not commuting… This is a growing list.
I choose to identify and express gratitude in every step I take, celebrating successes. This can be as simple as giving myself the headspace to dream, or mastering a new ‘virtual’ skill. I share my gratitude with friends, family and colleagues, supporting and nurturing each other through this communal time of change.
Embrace ‘what is’
One of the mistakes many of us make is that we are always looking forward to when circumstances are better. We delay our happiness, by waiting for the things that we hope to have in our future to eventuate. We suspend our thriving by not seeing the value and opportunities that are open to us now. So important, even (especially?) when the ‘now’ is hard.
The universe continually provides us with opportunities for growth. Sometimes these come in ways which can be difficult to understand and adjust to.
It is important to have strategies to thrive within ANY situation we find ourselves in. Although this has been an extraordinary time in history, limiting situations that rock us, personal or communal, can happen at any time. Lockdown conditions which limit our otherwise ‘free’ lifestyle will probably come our way again.
We can allow ourselves to be ‘hung’ when they do happen. Or we can learn the skills and strategies to incorporate all experiences into the rich tapestry of our life journey, and successfully thrive within!
Photos: lead photo by Fernando Brasil, Unsplash. Second photo by Svyatoslav Romanov, Unsplash.
Many more great articles on how to thrive through and beyond COVID-19 are now available in the amazing digital magazine in LivingNow’s app issue #007: Thriving BEYOND COVID-19. They all offer insight and inspiration on how we can move forward into a bright future, having learnt from this globally impactful time. If you’d like to get the full publication for yourself, click HERE.
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