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Finding Life Inside a Pandemic

Seven Simple Things To Do To Get Unstuck I am going to be honest here. I have felt like I have been in prison during this pandemic – like a cat in a car. I’ve felt shut down and shut out of the life I feel like I should be living. In my mind, the opportunities […]

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Seven Simple Things To Do To Get Unstuck

I am going to be honest here. I have felt like I have been in prison during this pandemic – like a cat in a car. I’ve felt shut down and shut out of the life I feel like I should be living. In my mind, the opportunities I want for my life are outside of these four walls in our great, big, giant, world and well this pandemic has certainly changed all of that. My world has been reduced to my home, food delivery, masks, not to mention social media and news overload. 

My personality does not lend itself well to a lack of adventure and a perceived demise of opportunities to plan great escapes. If you are familiar with the Enneagram, I am a seven. Someone whose fears include being incomplete, inferior, limited, bored, trapped, missing out.  A seven’s core desire is to be satisfied, fulfilled, and content.  This pandemic is a nightmare for seven’s everywhere and I stand in the front of the line. 

I am a marketing consultant and have always taken great pride in my work. I enjoy helping people and companies grow.  When markets get unsteady and companies are nervous the first thing they cut tends to be the marketing function. (Not wise but it’s a fact – easy to cut initially but they will always pay negatively for it in the end.) Don’t get me started on that topic. When all of this hit all of my clients fell silent in March. Meaning no work for me to do and no paycheck either. I suppose it didn’t help as the pandemic first started that I also got outright fired by my husband. His business-like everyone in the service industry was struggling and he needed to cut costs. I went first. I cannot tell you how much this stung and it didn’t do great things for our relationship either. 

So here I am with no work, a strained relationship with my husband, no immediate prospects, and stuck inside my house. I was a certifiable mess. I did everything I could at my house to stay busy and focused.  . . . I reorganized the garage (twice), I painted the exercise room, I created a ladies lounge for my daughter in her room,  I cleaned and organized every closet and cupboard.  I planted a garden. I baked cakes and gave them away. I organized virtual wine tastings for my sommelier son.  I started making homemade soup. I organized the storage room. I got rid of a bunch of stuff. I worked out daily. I started riding a bike. I sold stuff online. I tried and failed to groom my Bichon. (This was a disaster!) I got out the power tools and started watching How-to videos on YouTube.  I started building things like trays, lanterns and swing beds. I learned to hoverboard. The list goes on. While I accomplished a lot nothing satisfied me even though I was relatively successful at most of it (minus the dog grooming that was a colossal failure.) While I have never been diagnosed I am quite certain I have ADHD. It’s a serious struggle to stay still or quiet. I need to be doing something –  accomplishing something. Pandemics are not good for someone like me and I found myself depressed. 

So time has marched along with no massive outward changes in my life. I needed to figure out something that would change my outlook – to get me out of the funk I was in.  Here are seven things I started to do and continue to do that help. While this is an ongoing process and discipline for me I hope it can be helpful for you as well.

1.) Start each day with gratitude. Think about or even better write down things you are thankful for. Not just the big things, the little things too. The way the sun’s rays shine through the window. The way your dog smiles or wags her tail when you walk by. The way your kids don’t seem phased at all by the world’s events. The flower that popped up out of nowhere in your yard. The hummingbird at the feeder. The house around you. The people you love. 

2. Take notice of the little things. This follows pretty hand in hand with being grateful but start to pay attention to the world around you. Even though my world has gotten much smaller, if I pay attention to the little things, it suddenly becomes a lot bigger. Someone once told me about the Discipline of Noticing. It means making an effort to notice. Take every minute and notice things around you. It’s amazing how the world opens up. Even my fingers on the keyboard right now . . . a melody of sounds creating something that has meaning. Something I hope you find helpful.

3. Get quiet/meditate. Man, this one is hard for me but SO beneficial. My mind is constantly working and I have a hard time being quiet. But taking a few moments each day to empty my thoughts to get quiet and just “be” has done wonders for my mental health. It has also opened up space for me to think of new things and get creative about what’s next. 

4. Reach out to other people. We all need friends and companionship. I know it’s tough with social distancing and everything else but we have to have friends in our life who we can talk to.  Pick up the phone. Stop texting (Oh believe me I love texting over talking.) I am very good and closing up and not letting people in when I get down or depressed. This is the worst thing we can do. We need each other. Pick up the phone and share your feelings with someone you trust. 

5. Get off social media. Take a break. My heart gets overwhelmed by the negativity and by the ways people talk and treat each other online. You don’t have to get off it all together just know your limits. Be aware of how it is affecting you. 

6. Exercise. Move your body. Breathe. Go outside. This has been a go-to my whole life and what keeps me mostly sane. Sure you can hang out and binge Netflix but move your body at least 30 minutes every day. Make sure you breathe. Take a walk. Lift some hand weights. Just get your heart pumping. 

7.) Do something good for someone else. Someone once said, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.” I think this is true.  Volunteer your time, give stuff away, take some fresh cut flowers to a neighbor. Say you’re sorry if you have offended someone. Sometimes to get out of a funk we have to get out of ourselves and focus on other people. 

Now let’s be clear, I have to work on all of these things every single day. I am not where I want to be but I am working towards it. Honestly, it’s going to be a life long endeavor. Be patient and yet be consistent. Life is hard. Pandemics are horrible. But we can make good things out of bad situations. You can start today. I would love to hear what you have been doing to stay sane in these times. Remember I am in your corner and I am cheering for you.

Kelly Laughlin @kellylaughs

Kelly Laughlin is a marketing expert, writer, communications coach, and presenter.  She enjoys helping people get the most out of life. If you are interested in connecting, please follow her on Instagram @kellylaughs or visit www.hgcreates.com

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