Thriving within Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

Thriving ‘within’

In COVID-19, Insight and Experience by Merelyn Carter26 Comments

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.

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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’

#1

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.

#2

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.

#3

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.

#4

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.

#5

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.

#6

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.

#7

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.

#8

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.

#9

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.

#10

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.

Happy woman Photo by Svyatoslav Romanov on Unsplash

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!

About the author
Merelyn Carter

Merelyn Carter

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Merelyn is a student of life, mother, grandmother, storyteller, singer, songwriter, author, poet, surviving cancer. Merelyn lives on 23 acres in Kinglake, Victoria, with her husband David and 60 animals.

Photos: lead photo by Fernando Brasil, Unsplash. Second photo by Svyatoslav Romanov, Unsplash.

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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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Comments

  1. Thank you Merelyn as always your words are so encouraging and uplifting! Congratulations on your article such great advice to us all.

    Margie

  2. Hi, i think Merelyn Carter is an inspiration to all of us. She has had many challenges in life but faces them head on! It has been a tough year with all the bush fires and Covid, a lot of people have suffered and some are still suffering. The situaton with Covid can either make you or break you!
    Merylyn always makes good out of bad. i really admire her courage and her possitive outlook on life. Thank you for publishing her story, she has reminded me to appreciate what we have in life and not to dwell on the bad. i recently lost a relative in the Netherlands due to Covid, although he was 90, only three months ago he was celebrating his Wedding Anniversary. I think we all need to make the most of a bad situation, feel the fear, grieve and be angry but then let it go and rebuild our lives as best we can under these conditions. Be positive and be happy, be a surviver and be proud!

  3. An excellent encouraging article Merelyn – an attitude of gratitude- what the world needs more! Thank you for submitting and sharing and for your always uplifting gift of music. Continuing to thoroughly enjoy your CDs for over 14 years now. Take care – Leonie

    1. Hello Leonie, thank you so much for your comments and encouragement. There is a new song coming soon! Best wishes to you. Merelyn

  4. Thank you for sharing with such insight. “I choose to find new opportunities within the framework of ‘what is’ ” – this is so important right now more than ever and something that is so simple yet frequently forgotten.

    1. Hello Jayde, isn’t it great that we can remind each other of better ways forward when life gets busy and we forget a thing or two. Best wishes. Merelyn

  5. Merrilyn, you are so gifted with these statements, providing wisdom and practical help. Thank you that you were able to share them – to inspire me and others.

    1. Mmm becoming a wize old Owl
      Well done some positive area’s to work on thanks.
      Cheers

      1. Thank you John, I really appreciate your comments. Love the ‘wise’ bit, but not so sure about the ‘old’ bit! Haha. Merelyn

  6. “I give myself permission to grieve the things that I am missing out on.” I’m still doing this one! Thank you for a practical, honest and motivating article.

    1. Hi Natasha, life is always a work in progress isn’t it! Healthy grieving is something we must practice every day, so that we can experience the fullness of our abundance. I find this to be a hard concept to grasp at times, but one well worth adopting for our lives. Best wishes. Merelyn

  7. I enjoyed your article Merelyn, it’s necessary to continue to find new ways to cope with the many different roads our journey takes us, sometimes I remind myself that even when situations confront me that seem totally out of my control, I must dig deep and find my place amongst it.
    At the moment I have to find acceptance that I may not get to see a loved one who has survived pancreatic cancer until it has recently become her time. She lives in Western Australia. I hold hope that Covid restrictions change but if not, I’m grateful for her endless and generous spirt that allows her to share her journey.

    1. Hello Shelley, thank you for your comments. I am sorry to hear that you are separated from your friend at this crucial crossroads. I know you will look forward to meeting again in a space where time is irrelevant. Merelyn

  8. A great inspirational and positively uplifting article, Merelyn. Regards, Tony Titulaer, (a singing student of yours from many years ago, when you held a workshop up in Bairnsdale, and whilst I don’t live there now, where I originally came from).

    1. Thank you Tony. So glad you swung by and read my article. Best wishes to you. I hope you are still singing – at the very least in the shower!
      Merelyn

  9. A much needed article in what can be very difficult times. The wisdom Merelyn shares can help us all to take those steps that will allow us to thrive at a time when we could well do otherwise. Makes you feel hopeful and reassured. A great read.

      1. Thankyou Merelyn
        I found myself giving myself permission to feel the way I feel.
        Thankyou for your practical tangible approach to a solution and a way of coping.
        Take care 😃

  10. Thank you Merelyn for your insight and obvious wisdom. How refreshing to hear your positive yet realistic approach to our current circumstances.
    Thank you for reminding us to be present to the now and embrace the moments, reflect on the changes we need to make on our previous ‘busy’ lives and mostly accept this unprecedented time. Despite being social beings we are also resilient and hopeful.

  11. Such a heartfelt, down to earth and very practical article about choosing how to respond to adversity. Thank you Merelyn for your wonderful wisdom and sage advice in this journey we call life. I always enjoy reading your words and I am inevitably enriched by the experience.

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