“Breathe: To pause. To make space. To collect your thoughts. To remember. To face the next moment. To choose.”
~ Karm C.
As I prepped for this week’s blog, I re-read a post I originally created in July of 2020, some 4 months into the pandemic. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as I processed the fact that 2 years later, not only are we still dealing with the pandemic, but much of the challenges we were facing back then, are presenting themselves to us today in slightly different ways.
Yes, we’re edging our way beyond pandemic-restricted living, but there’s a lot to adapt to as that happens, and a lot of refocusing that will be required as we set our sights on ‘next’.
So, I decided to repost that 2020 blog and edit it or rather, update it to address what’s happening now! You’ll find all the changed content in bold, and if you want to reflect on the original content you can watch the video.
Watch the video below or read the transcript that follows, then do what’s necessary to get clear and get going. #WeGotThis
Life as we know it continues to be a bit unknown doesn’t it? Am I the only one who feels this way?
I did my last in-person presentation March 12th, 2020. My husband and I began lock-down March 15th, at which point I began the work of shifting 17 upcoming, in-person presentations to later in the year… and then into 2021… and eventually to virtual.
I shifted to providing online sessions for my clients, which required studio set up, learning 6 different online platforms, reworking my content, overcoming tech challenges (I’ve never been so obsessed with having a reliable internet connection!)
I’ve had zoom chats with hundreds of friends, family, and colleagues (with and without cocktails). I’ve baked 22 loaves of Covid bread, and looked for new ways to burn off the excessive bread and wine calories …and then just for kicks we threw a puppy into the mix (Who is now an almost two-year-old teenaged dog).
I’ve pivoted so many parts of my life that some days I’m not sure which way I’m facing. CAN. YOU. RELATE?
Michelle Cederberg here, contemplating the on-going reality of life under the cloud of COVID, and how much (and quite frankly, how little) has changed since the start of it all.
It’s been 765 days … which is 109+ weeks, …over 24 months of pandemic living that has left me…well, a little tired and out of sorts.
We’re not out of the woods with this Covid thing either, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot these past couple of years.
As much as I want life to return to normal (or whatever ‘NEXT’ will become), we still have a bit more time until that happens… and I’ll admit, after all the highs and lows, I’ve also been feeling highs and lows. Even now.
I’ve been struggling, as I’m sure some of you have too, with the uncertainty of it all, the whole “WHAT NOW, WHAT NEXT?” dilemma, and how to navigate this low motivation funk that I’m in. It’s not like me!
Then I had breakfast with a coaching colleague and she said “If you were your client, what advice would you give yourself?” (SHIT), … “And, what’s in that new book of yours?” A book that is now published and has been so for over a year!
For those of you who don’t know, I published my latest book on October 27, 2020l. It’s called The Success-Energy Equation: How to Regain Focus, Recharge Your Life + Really Get Sh!t Done, and it’s about getting clear about what you want and harnessing the energy and confidence to GET IT.
Which is something I need right now. So I went back through the book to remind myself of my own good advice.
I want to share a bit of that with you now because it turns out this book is also a COVID SURVIVAL GUIDE of sorts.
In the book’s intro I talk about the busyness of life and how we get stuck on autopilot as we navigate our crazy schedules. I wrote:
“If you feel like you’re going through the motions some days (or many), if life feels too routine or a bit mundane, if distractions are draining your energy, if you’re constantly rushing out the door, rushing to get it all done, or wondering when you’ll find a bit of calm, and you’re feeling the chaos of life, then it might be time to get present to the mess. Twenty-first-and-a-quarter-century stress may be impacting your success.
So much of success comes down to human performance and your capacity to operate at a high level mentally, physically, and emotionally, no matter what comes at you. Today’s brand of high-level stress, endless distractions, and lack-of-time-management means we go through life ignoring what we need for ourselves in those areas. As an antidote to 21st-and-a-quarter-century stress, you need to slow down and start listening to ”
That short segment got me thinking. Typically, we might view autopilot as a negative because it disconnects us from the here and now. In reality, autopilot is a defense mechanism of sorts that helps us manage mounting stress.
One of the useful aspects of autopilot is that it helps us automate the everyday, mundane, routine parts of our life so we can focus on getting shit done: Your morning routine at home, how you start your day at work, the route you take to buy a coffee or pick up lunch, where you sit during weekly meetings, even your commute often happen on autopilot, which frees up bandwidth for more important things, and decreases stress.
When lockdown began, all those autopilot functions shut down. They vanished. Why? Because we had to get fully present to everything that had changed, and you can’t do that on autopilot. Think about that. The simplest, routine parts of your day suddenly required your full bandwidth.
- The kids were home from school.
- Your office was now on the kitchen table…or your kids’ “classroom” was, and you are working out of the spare bedroom, sharing space with your spouse who is also working from home. The dog is the only one who is happy you’re all together!
- Your meetings went online (heck, everything did).
- Coffee was now entirely up to you, and no one makes a latte like your favorite barista at your favorite coffee shop.
- It was harder to workout without that class or your trainer, or your running buddy.
One of my coaching clients said, “Breaks? What breaks? If I’m not working, I’m helping my kid with math or I’m breaking up yet another sibling yelling match!”
I’ll say it again… EVERYTHING had changed.
To navigate the newness, your brain had gone into overdrive, stress had increased, and with it, fatigue and potential burnout crept in too. I’ll talk about BURNOUT next week! It’s a doozy.
Through re-reading parts of my book I was reminded that change is hard, and at some point along the way we have to honour the hard work, and give ourselves a big ‘ol break.
I have to do that for my own sanity and so I have the energy to re-engage with the work I love as in-person events pick up again. What about you?
If any of this resonates with you let me share some of what I’ve been doing for myself to get back on track… and yes, I’m taking my own Success-Energy advice:
1) Listen to your body. It know what it needs. Whether it’s more sleep, exercise, more breaks, a few days off, or even just a few minutes to yourself, you won’t know unless you listen.
If the answer isn’t obvious, get quiet with yourself. This week I started meditating again. Just 10 minutes every morning, to give my brain and body ‘pause’ and oxygen… with no expectation of how well I do it (because right now I’m not that great at it). It has helped me start my day from a calm point of view, instead of the frenzied “I’m not doing enough” mindset that has plagued me since the New Year. Which brings me to number 2.
2) Give yourself permission to take a day off. I’m self-employed so that should be easy enough, and it’s spring so it should be a no-brainer, but I haven’t really stepped away from work enough lately.
Pandemic living has meant that work is always front and centre (especially if you’re still working from home like I am). Whether it’s the job you get paid for, or the work of life that has changed so much these past couple of years you need and deserve down time. Schedule some time off, or at the very least do your down time better. I’ve been reading more and scrolling less.
3) Get clear about what you need so you can thrive in a post-pandemic world. You know all that work-from-home newness you had to adapt to at the start of Covid, well for those who are returning to the office for the first time in 2 years, that novelty will happen again in reverse. You’ll need to get used to office-life again, and the routines that surround it, and it may feel awkward and uncomfortable for awhile. What do you need in order to be successful? Identify, then take action in small steps. It will give you a sense of control as you head toward ‘next’.
AND, when all else fails;
4) Remember to breathe. I talk about this a lot in The Success-Energy Equation, especially in Chapter 4 where I address how to move from autopilot to awareness. Breathing is automated by our reptilian brain, and default breathing usually hits only the upper third of our lungs. Slow it down. Throughout the day, breathe deeply to the bottom of your lungs. Just a few times will do. It will give you a sense of calm, slow your heart rate down, and provide a mini-meditation when necessary.
As the world opens up, and we restructure work and life in this new post-pandemic reality, take care of yourself in small ways, physically, mentally and emotionally so you can thrive with health, happiness and success on your side.
We only get one chance to do this life, I say Dare to Live It Big, and dare to set yourself up for post-pandemic success.
♥ Does your workplace need a good dose of Post-Pandemic Burnout Prevention? Ask me about my half and full day Success-Energy Rest sessions to help you regain focus and recharge your health and productivity in this new world of work. Contact me to chat.
♥ Don’t forget to sign up for my 6 Day Work-Life Reset. This is the perfect time of year to do it, and it’s free, so click the link, and get going!
♥ Sign up for my socials below, because there’s all sorts of interesting stuff coming down the pipe.
Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc