“I’ve been completely off my morning meditation routine for the last 3 weeks. The stress about this pandemic has gotten to me.”
“My health goals are so hard to stick to now.”
“I struggle so much with a lack of willpower to get anything done, especially with the pandemic and kids home and emotionally feeling off.”
“I’m having a hard time sticking to my exercise routine. I blame it on this COVID-19 pandemic.”
“I was doing so well before the pandemic, and now I’m not.”
Do any of these sound familiar?
We are living in unprecedented times. You can’t ignore the stress and uncertainty that is part of your daily life right now.
Even going to the grocery store can turn into a traumatic event. You’ve got a face mask and gloves on for protection and to protect others. You’re attempting to stay 6 feet apart from other shoppers, waiting and losing patience for someone to just pick a carton of eggs already and leave the area. The longer you’re in there, the more exposed you are. The anxiety is creeping in. Plus you’re struggling to hear and shouting to be heard because most people are wearing face masks. Not exactly a peaceful experience.
When I went to the grocery store last week, I saw a worker with no mask stocking the frozen section and openly coughing without covering his mouth; I couldn’t get out of that aisle and store fast enough.
And that’s a shopping trip; add all the other things we do on a daily basis that is now impacted and at times it can feel like your whole world is upside down.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and let that knock you off your normal routine.
Sticking to your healthy habits seems harder than usual. Staying focused on your daily actions that help you achieve your goals seems impossible at times with everything else you have to contend with now.
Don’t Put Your Goals on Hold
Despite our current times, it is possible, and important, to not put your goals on hold.
We don’t know how long this will last. It could be 2 more weeks or 2 more months before businesses, schools and all the other places now closed open up again. Can you afford to hold off on achieving your goals for that long?
Goals require weekly, daily or even more frequent, focus and nurturing. If you put your goals on hold until “COVID is over” you’ll lose the momentum and progress you’ve already made.
If you need a few hours, or a day or two to get through some challenges, by all means take it. I’m a big proponent of balance and taking the time you need to address your priorities and stay healthy and balanced.
I recently moved to a new home and purposely cut back my work hours for 2 weeks knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to handle all that change and still carry a full workload.
Structure is Key
It’s so important in these uncertain times to ensure you’re doing all you can to bring more structure into every day. Structure gives you a sense of stability and certainty; things we need more than ever right now.
I’ve had clients get away from their daily meditation practice or other healthy habits for weeks, reporting that they felt off and not quite balanced.
If you don’t have a daily morning practice and need some help and ideas on how to begin, read my previous blog: Connect to Success Every Day for Best Results. There’s a link there to get a Morning Routine tool and checklist too.
In addition to an intentional daily practice, little things like showering, making your bed, taking a walk, keeping your home clean – these all add structure and stability right now.
Take Strategic Action Now
There are plenty of things you can do now despite your current COVID-19 restrictive reality.
First, add structure to your day with some of the suggestions above. Be sure to include a daily action that supports one of your bigger, long-term goals. For example, if you want to improve your health this year, committing to a daily walk would be ideal.
Second, stay positive and appreciate what you’re learning from this experience.
A lot of people are loving this slow-down that’s been forced upon us. They’re spending more quality time with loved ones they live with (2 and 4 legged), getting outside more for walks and sunshine, and connecting with friends and family more to check in and see how they’re doing. It feels natural and easy, and reminiscent of less hectic times.
And we’re using technology in such positive ways. I think about all the people who had no idea what Zoom and virtual meetings were a few weeks ago, and it makes me smile.
Now they’re connecting virtually to spend holiday or Sunday meals together with kids and grandkids, attend church services, and go to networking or club meetings. Spend a few minutes right now and write down 5 or more positive things that this pandemic has provided to you.
And third, take advantage of all the extra time you now have.
Maybe you’re not commuting to work and now have 60+ extra minutes in your day, or you find working from home more efficient and you’re getting more done in less time.
What could you do with your extra time? Focus on your goals and tie them into your activities or projects. For example, complete some long-overdue home projects this weekend to give you a sense of completion and joy; plant some flowers or tomatoes to feed your nurturing side; exercise to bring movement and balance into your body; take a class or course for self-development and personal growth; visit some virtual museums or national parks and get excited about visiting there in the future; or rediscover your creative side with hobbies like painting or music.
Find something that feeds your mind, body and soul and enjoy this time right now.
Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash