As we are all going through this interesting time together, everyone has varying degrees of how they experience these changing times. I recently have been writing an article for a professional group at my corporate office, and have been responding to questions they posed regarding my quarantine experience. As I have been writing and brainstorming my responses, I figured this would be a great topic to share here as well, as I know I am not alone in some of the feelings I have experienced! Some good, some… not so good, but I am convinced that experiences like this can truly TEACH us many things. We then get to choose whether we learn from those things and take true action to move us forward.
As I describe my answers and thoughts to the questions below, I would encourage you to look at them for yourself. Ask yourself the same questions, then please share YOUR personal journey as you never know who it could help.
Question: What has surprised you most about the quarantine, in both good and bad ways?
The Good: Honestly, (and I have felt guilty for feeling this way), I have felt joy and gratitude through it all. For clarity, I am not joyful about the actual virus itself, or those who are affected whatsoever, but I have enjoyed myself in the sense that I really have been capitalizing on what I have control over. This has not happened 100% of the time, but I surprised myself in feeling a sense of optimism. I also have strangely experienced a surge of creative energy and my desire to learn and try new things increased. I have recently spent more time writing, researching and even beginning the steps to starting my own podcast.
Takeaway: Just because a situation is tough, does not mean you should stifle or feel guilty for feeling JOY. Amplifying any gratitude or positive feeling that comes your way, is a blessing. It will only HELP your resilience.
The Not-So-Good: On the contrary, I have found keeping a solid routine to be a challenge. With everyone working remotely, some folks not working at all…I end up feeling challenging with wanting to stay up later than usual and procrastinate on my morning practices and workouts. I have realized, however, that keeping a routine is only going to HELP me feel that energy that I need (and want) in order to continue being the most productive and live at my highest level.
Takeaway: I believe that one of the first things to get pushed aside when we deal with significant change is our routine–this is something to keep “in check” and be mindful of.
Question: What “life hacks” do you find helpful in staying productive, taking care of yourself and/or keeping sane during this time?
I do not believe life can be hacked! But there are practices that can help us maintain feeling grounded and keep us focused. I also believe there are two things that help drive our future forward in a world that is full of uncertainty. Which brings me to my first practice:
- Lean IN to Faith and Optimism: Some of the greatest leaders in our history did these exact things in the face of failure or chaos. One quick example is the resilience that Henry Ford used when he relied on his soul belief and faith that he could revolutionize the automobile industry. It took his determination and grip on faith to help him overcome some of the greatest challenges his business and life ended up facing. In times when fear is easy to come by (look at any social media feed or news headline), the effort to add healthy doses of optimism along the way will only prove beneficial. Think of this as your anecdote to fear and panic.
- Limit What you Feed your Mind: Leading in from the above point, it can be so EASY to read news that we don’t actually need. I am not saying to ignore factual information that is useful to you in some way. That said, I also know (and I know from personal experience!), how simple it can be to get even the slightest bit derailed. One headline about something eye-catching, and thirty minutes later an internal mini panic-attack is brewing! Take serious inventory of the frequency of your scrolling and mindless news-reading. I did not realize how often I got side-tracked until I told myself to pause each time I did, and ask myself “how is this fueling my life or passions?”. If the answer is, “I have no idea, I just wanted to see what this article has to say about the virus”, then I quickly move on! As humans we sometimes subconsciously try to “numb” ourselves during times of chaos. Scrolling social media is a perfect example of us “escaping” or numbing. Pause and question yourself, then move on.
- Create Personal Space: Especially those living with others (spouses, families, roommates, dogs, etc), this one is SO important. It can already feel confining staying at home, not to mention now we have others around constantly. Of course, we love our family and friends. However, creating one’s own individual space is an important way to give yourself healthy time apart. When we begin to feel annoyance or agitation, this generally is coming from a need to reestablish independence. Most often, if we can figure out how to gain a bit of time to ourselves, we can recharge those batteries that are being used up at a quicker rate these days, and can then engage with others at a more positive level. It can feel uncomfortable to communicate this need for space, as it feels as though you might be pushing people away. It is actually quite the opposite. It would be more beneficial for all involved to take some time alone, calmly recenter, and then can established a more grounded version of YOU, versus holding on to resentment that continues to grow and fester.
In summary, as we all navigate uncharted waters, there is an increasing need to put more conscious thought into our current habits and check-in with ourselves from time to time.
There is no doubt that this experience will shift our realities, but we GET to decide how it will change us. There will be hours, days and sometimes weeks that could prove challenging. But there can also be joyful times, creative innovation and a renewed sense of self that can emerge. I encourage you to ask yourself the questions that I answered in this article to use as a guide in assessing how you are feeling during this quarantine.
Quarantine Surprises, and a Dose of Optimism