We’re still stuck in limbo as I write this piece and it’s very frustrating and very easy to slip into negativity and fear about the whole COVID-19 landscape – and indeed the future of our businesses or finances.
What I’ve decided (and you can, too) is to take ownership of the parts of our lives we can take ownership of.
I might not be able to control everything, but I can choose what I do now. I can act deliberately now.
I feel this is very helpful, as it reminds me that not everything is uncertain; some things remain the same no matter what is happening around me.
It’s school holiday time here in my house and we’re choosing to still have a set get-up time and bed time as it gives a bit of structure to the day and a wee bit of urgency, too, as we only have X amount of hours at our disposal each day.
We’re choosing to eat well – not to get in the habit of snacking just because we’re on school holidays – we’re choosing the good stuff. I’m choosing to work in the garden every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes (and I don’t have greenest of fingers).
I’m choosing to call my friends, not necessarily because I have any news, but to simply ask: “How are you?”
I’m choosing to check in with them and myself. I’m deciding not to live my own life on autopilot, even though it’s very tempting to blame our discontent on external forces as we float along on the seeming whim of what living with COVID-19 will allow.
I’m choosing to think of a bright future. As the old saying goes, happiness is a habit and we don’t have to be the life and soul of the (Zoom) party in order to feel happy and content; we just need to be deliberate in our choices and our actions – that’s the key to feeling better about uncertainty, for me.
Take an action for yourself. Do something you know is nourishing for you, even if (or rather, despite) you not feeling like doing anything. Get up early and make the most of these beautiful summer mornings. Go for a walk, stretch in the morning – you’ll see every living creature in the field stretching themselves in the morning, it’s great action for the body. Sing, dance, smile, kick a ball, cycle your bike, go for a swim, do a bit of weeding in the garden, do something physical just for the pleasure of it – we need physicality and pleasure in our lives. You might say, I’m too tired after my day’s work to go for a walk, but trust me – if you put the walking shoes on and go out the door, even for 10 minutes, you’ll feel the better of it – it amazingly makes you less tired; not more tired!
Try to notice those times when you find yourself acting without having decided to act that way. It sometimes creeps up on you when you find yourself in a conversation giving out about something – or dare I say it, gossiping about someone – just because the person you’re speaking with is doing that. Sometimes you almost absentmindedly join in, but do you feel any better afterwards?
If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling for more than 10 minutes on your phone or computer, stop! Your life is yearning for you to spend it in a fruitful way; you alone get to decide what to do with it, so do yourself a massive favour and take command of the decision.
Imagine the limited resource of your energy or life being akin to the money in your bank account. Would you let the money in your bank account just seep away without thinking about it? Would you be OK with never really, consciously deciding how to spend your money? My feeling here is no, you wouldn’t be OK with doing that, yet many of us are OK to do that with our lives. When it comes to the precious moments that make up your life: decide how to act; decide how to spend your time.
You’ll feel much better for that deliberate action and you’ll feel much better able to manage the uncertainty that’s happening in the wider community at present, also. Give it a try. What have you got to lose, except maybe a summer of discontentment?