“I don’t want things to go back to the way they were before Covid!” said one successful businesswoman on a recent coaching call. She went on to say how there were so many things she had cherished about the past year – focused and purposeful time with her children, a slower pace, an open calendar. The pandemic sure has been a powerful catalyst for each of us in clarifying what matters most.
As a personal coach, over the last several weeks many of my clients have talked about their uneasiness with the fact that the world is slowly reopening, people are looking toward gathering again, and companies have outlined back-to-work timelines. As much as we all felt like the rug was pulled out from under us a year ago when the pandemic first hit, I’m finding that many are hesitant to return to “normal”.
Shifting Priorities in Life Amid the Pandemic
The past year has been a time of self-reflection. Of getting quiet. Of taking a break. One of my clients said, “In the past, I was always ‘go, go, go!’ and [throughout the pandemic] it has felt so good to let go of that frantic pace and embrace a more peaceful lifestyle.”
For another client, saying “no” has been hard for much of her adult life. But during the pandemic, invitations, opportunities, and shiny objects pretty much disappeared so it wasn’t an issue. Now she expresses some anxiety about once again having to say “no” to things that start coming her way. So, we talked about how there will always be change in the world and things outside of her control. “But at the end of the day,” I said, “It’s still YOUR life to live.” It’s important to remember that we all have a choice in how to respond to those distractions and we get to choose our priorities.
As things slowly return to normal, it will be SO easy to get swept up in the chaos, noise, and busy-ness of life. And all of that serves as a distraction from saying ‘yes’ what’s truly most important. So, instead of reacting to the world around you, it’s essential to stay focused, grounded, and in charge of your day… vs. your day being in charge of you. Preparing to re-enter into a maskless world is a perfect opportunity to revisit your priorities in life, and then make adjustments as necessary.
Creating Structure in Everyday Life
As the world begins to shift into this next phase, what adjustments do you want to make? What parts of life do you want to protect?
Many of the women I work with talk about creating some type of structure to their morning to help keep them feeling centered and grounded. For example, they might start the day with a walk outside, reading something inspirational, or setting an intention for the day (“Today I will breathe deeply and remain calm”). When they take the time to do this, it helps them set a positive tone for their day.
On the flip side, you know how it’s easy to wake up and instantly “react” to everything coming your way – taking care of others’ needs, checking email, or turning on the news? That sets the tone for the day, too, and generally doesn’t feel so good. But when you choose to put your own needs first and nurture yourself (even if it’s only five minutes), that goes a long way. It builds up your internal reserves to be able to handle whatever comes your way. Having that structure in the morning is an essential and vital step toward taking control of your day.
In addition to time set aside in the morning, building in some type of structure at the end of the day can serve as a powerful ‘bookend’ of sorts. Maybe it’s dedicated time to stretch or meditate. Or time to listen to a podcast that fulfills you. Or it could be time to simply review your day, asking yourself: 1) What went well and what am I proud of? and 2) What didn’t go so well that could be done differently next time? These bookends then become a symbolic “start” and “end” to your day.
Building Structure Helps You Stay Focused on What’s Important
Without structure, the endless distractions ultimately take over and win your attention. But it’s important to create a structure that will work for YOU. Do you want to set a timer on your phone every hour throughout the workday to remind you to take a few deep breaths? Or how about committing to taking a break at lunchtime each workday to enjoy a quiet, technology-free meal? Or maybe you simply want to establish those bookends to create a ‘container’ for the workday?
For me, I’ve had to go through trial-and-error to figure out what will work best. And it’s always a work in progress. For now, though, I’ve been getting up every morning and heading immediately to the treadmill and rowing machine. Wow, does it ever help me to feel accomplished during the day because early in the morning I get to check-off that all-important box of physical activity. And I feel more alive, energetic, and definitely stronger. It’s amazing how the benefit of simple, small action steps can reverberate throughout the day!
So, it’s up to you now. What structure will YOU create that will give you a win for the day? What is the action step that will make YOU feel proud or accomplished? Whatever it is, it’s calling you to give it attention. Ready, set, go! :)
Avoid Getting Lost in the Noise, Busyness, and Distraction of Life
If you feel pulled in several different directions and would like guidance and support to stay focused and calm amidst the noise, LifeShine has a Get Back on Track program that might be perfect for you! It’s time to ditch the distractions, make yourself a priority, and shine brighter. You are worth it. Let your beautiful light shine! ❤