Pandemics, Pressure and Progress
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
"Happy New Year... its a new decade and it's going to be the best yet" I cheered on New Years Eve 2019. I was now 30 and this new decade was the start of me entering into "proper" adulthood... getting Kocoon up and running, buying a place, maybe even starting to think about settling down and having a family in a few years. 2020 was the year full of exciting new things, visiting Iceland, going self-employed, travelling Indonesia in style, seeing Elton John again... and then Coronavirus reared it's ugly head and pretty soon we we're in lockdown, immobilised and in total shock at how this new decade was starting. A world wide pandemic, a real pandemic? This was not in my 2020 plan of action, or in my new year wish list.
It would be fair to say that I went through a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. From being indifferent and thinking everything would be fine, to wondering if I had picked up this alien disease on a plane in February. Then the absolute horror and sadness at seeing what was happening in other countries, to feeling anger and panic at it getting closer to us and nothing happening. And finally relief, but also total shock at being told I had to stay home, to stay safe. What can I do, I mused, what can I do to keep positive?
Gratitude, it had always worked before, and meditation! I'd simply be grateful and meditate, my life would be as zen as ever. I started thinking about the extra free time I had on my hands. I decided that this was a great chance to get really fit, to get my coaching coursework done, to get my website up and running, alongside working from home in my "day" job. I was a woman on a mission! Its fair to say I did, and still do feel hugely grateful for the time that I'd never normally have with my family: the great weather and BBQ's, the lovely walks so close to my house, but mostly for the fact that all of my family and friends were all safe and well.
However, as the lockdown went on and on and on, I started to feel angry with myself. I had been walking, running and doing weights, but the fun family dinners laden with a few pinots, had counteracted the exercise. My course work felt like a huge weight around my neck, after a day of non-stop video calls and meetings, and the website... I didn't want to be near a laptop for any longer than absolutely necessary.
After the anger and frustration with myself, came the guilt. I wasn't meeting my self imposed deadlines, I had started to feel less grateful for the time (arguments) with my brother...How could this be? I am a meditation teacher, a nearly qualified life coach, how could I have let the pressures of the pandemic get to me?
One of my favourite sayings has always been - "you cant make a shit shiny" - I stand by that. Sometimes things are just a bit crap, or start to take their toll. Its fine to feel fed up, that's just life sometimes. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to be happy and progressing based on what we think we "should" be doing.
So how did I get out of this feeling of being stuck and squashed by the pressures I was putting on myself? One of the things I say constantly to my clients is "be kind to yourself, give yourself a break" - I was until now, pretty confident that I did this easily and consistently... perhaps not.
First things first, I literally gave myself a break. I couldn't go on holiday, but I took some off work to do things for myself - walking, cooking, being in the garden! Then I got clear on what I needed to do for my business and more importantly, how I as going to do this...finally in the midst of the pandemic, I was starting to make some progress.
It's taken me a long time to get this first blog written - I'm not sure if it was the pandemic, pressure or procrastination, but if your feeling stuck and want to make progress I highly recommend a few simple things to get you going:
1. "You know a woman means business when she puts red lipstick on" - I'm not suggesting everyone don red lippy, but get up, get dressed and get going. I am far more productive if I'm feeling good - not so much if I'm in my PJs or boyfriend's old hoodie (sorry Joe)!
2. Crab mentality - "If I can't have it, neither can you" - Crabs naturally drag each other down back into the bucket that will ultimately lead to their sticky ending. Humans can do the same. So start to notice who is around you, look for people that you feel good around, for people that you feel motivated after talking too, who support you to be who and what you want to be - family, a friend, a coach!
3. Be kind to yourself - Whatever this means for you, treat yourself as you treat others. "You can't pour water from an empty jug" so do what you need too, without feeling guilt or shame, take time for you, be kind, to you.
2020 has been a crazy year so far, but one that I'm sure we will never forget! I've learnt a lot about myself and what's important to me. I've become more conscious of how lucky I am, and more aware of some of my less desirable traits. One thing is for sure, the year of the pandemic will also be a year of progress, however we define that.