5 Lessons COVID-19 Has Taught Me
I've been a bit absent from my blog writing over the past few weeks as I've navigated through the "new normal" that we are all facing with COVID-19 entering our lives. I feel like I've found a new routine, and that has been a good thing. I'm excited to start "talking" with you again through my blog posts and hope that you'll share in your story too.
From the onset I've been trying to find the good in everything that is going on. It seems that many of us are focusing on the simple things in life and finding gratitude in things that we may have taken for granted just a few weeks ago, and I've enjoyed hearing those stories.
As I sit and reflect on these past weeks I realize that I've learned a few valuable lessons, and I hope that these lessons will stay with me long after this health crisis is over. Perhaps this is just what humankind needed in order to reset a little bit, step back away from the madness and truly cherish the little things that really matter most.
The #1 lesson that I learned right from the start is to Live More In The Present.
I've always struggled with this. I've been incredibly aware of my tendencies to worry about the future and dwell on my perceived "mistakes" of the past. In this new world of COVID-19 I know that I have very little control of the future. I didn't cause the problems that we are facing - and neither did you. Therefore we cannot dwell upon what could have been done differently. We can only be a part of the solution, following the advice of the people who know best so we can find our way through this sooner than later. In the meantime we have to give ourselves permission to live in the here and now, focusing on what we can do TODAY to take care of ourselves, extend our love and support to those around us, and share in the gratitude that we have in this moment.
This brings me to lesson #2 - Don't let perfect get in the way of done.
I saw a quote on social media that really struck me:
"These are not normal times so don't have normal expectations of yourself. Don't beat yourself up over how you work from home or how you home school. We are in the middle of a global crisis. Allow yourself to just exist rather than achieve".
I think that we could create a fill in the blank for the sentence "Don't beat yourself up over how you __________. I think that many of us are holding ourselves to the same standards, and perhaps higher standards than normal, and right now we need to give ourselves a little grace to just exist. To just get through the day and hopefully find some gratitude along the way.
There are some things that need to get done, and we need to do just that - get them done, and without judgement. The result probably isn't as bad as we think....which I hope holds true for this blog as well :-)
Lesson #3: Only I can choose how I respond to the situation around me.
I can choose to be grateful for the amazing support of my clients who are standing beside me as my small business weathers this storm. I have so much to be grateful for, so spending energy on things that I cannot control is not worth it to me, and this I need to be sure to practice with intent because it sure is easy to get pulled into the rabbit hole.
Lesson #4: We smile with our eyes, and it deserves a little extra practice :-)
It was at that moment that I realized that I really needed to work on smiling with my eyes. Doing so required my smile to be much more genuine. In my humble opinion, you can't fake a smile with your eyes. Perhaps this practice will help us be more genuine and purposeful with our smiles and how we connect with others.
Lesson #5: Be patient with others.
As is always the case, COVID-19 or not, you just don't know what's going on in someone else's life, and these days that is true more than ever. People already have challenges in their lives. Just because COVID-19 arrived doesn't mean that these other struggles miraculously went away, and now they have COVID-19 to add on top. Furthermore, everyone is dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 in different ways. The people who we encounter when we're out shopping for our essential items may have some serious S#!% going on in their lives! Perhaps one of their loved ones is working on the front lines in our healthcare system or as an emergency responder, risking exposure of themselves and their families each day. Maybe they have a loved one who is sick, and maybe even in the hospital - here in Maine or somewhere else in the country or world. Chances are a lot of people are feeling isolated, unable to visit with their loved ones. They may be living alone and feeling a great sense of loneliness. These are all pretty good reasons for being a little distracted and perhaps dismissive of those around them. It's important that we remember that everyone is working through this in their own way, facing their own struggles that may run deeper than COVID-19 alone.
I'm working on lesson #6 - Giving myself the time and space for self care.
I feel like I'm operating on two speeds right now. Get it done speed, or drop dead speed. And some days I feel like I lean more towards drop dead speed. As I find more routine and a new sense of "normalcy" in this new world I'm feeling a sense of balance returning, and that is bringing my attention to the need for building some self care routines into my day.
You have to start somewhere....and remember....don't let perfect get in the way of done. If you have thought about meditating, but like me struggle to make it happen, start with practicing some simple breathing techniques throughout the day. The breath work that I've been doing is outlined in our amazing "Unplug" Resource Guide. I'm including it here for YOU and I hope that it will provide you with some tips that will help you get started, or to build upon your existing practices. Taking the time to take care of ourselves is so important! Remember - in the event of an emergency you have to secure your own oxygen mask first, and then assist others. If you're not already taking the importance of taking care of YOU seriously then I encourage you to start today. Even if for just 5 minutes. Maybe tomorrow you can find 10 minutes and before long this will be a part of your daily routine.
We will find our way through this, and we'll all take away our own lessons. I'm hopeful that many of us will have the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons, take the opportunity to practice some new positive behaviors and really make these behaviors a habit in our lives - in how we interact with others, how we give ourselves grace and care for ourselves, and how we respond to the circumstances around us. And that these lessons will carry through, long after this crisis is over - Making us a kinder, more patient, more genuine society.
We cannot concern ourselves with whether or not others take the opportunity to learn and practice these lessons. We can only control our CHOICE in looking for these lessons and taking the opportunity to become a better version of ourselves as a result. I hope that you will join me in making this choice.
I would love to hear from you too! What lessons are you learning these days? How are you working on being a better version of yourself?
Lots of Love,
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.