Even in ‘normal’ years, with less daylight hours, winter can be a time to honour your energy levels and switch from the higher energy activities of the summer months into a more reflective phase.
This winter feels quite different though doesn’t it. COVID-19 and the current lockdown in the UK is proving a real struggle for many, not all, but many.
Depending on what’s going on for you personally right now, you may be feeling a whole range of things. Some of you might be fire-fighting your way through insurmountable daily to-do lists and wondering if you are losing your mind – and whether it will ever come back. If that’s you; be kind to yourself. As easy as it is to, please don’t abandon looking after yourself. Maybe that means taking 10 minutes for yourself every single day, just to park all of the incoming demands on your time and energy. Maybe it means going to bed just half an hour earlier and leaving your phone out of the bedroom so that you can shut the world out whilst you rest. Maybe it means learning to say no to people. Whatever it is, don’t let COVID-19 take away every last bit of your self-care. You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself. Self-care is not a luxury. It’s what stops the wheels falling off. Don’t let your wheels fall off.
One thing is for sure, the pandemic has invited us to review our lives and our resilience. It’s worth taking the opportunity to notice what it’s highlighting in your world. You see, whilst the pandemic has caused many problems in and of itself, if we look close enough, it has also shone a light on issues that were there before, but that were convenient to ignore.
Here are a few examples:
💡 If you had unhealthy work life boundaries before – it’s likely to have been even more magnified by working from home. If you’ve noticed this, what needs to change? What conversations might you choose to have? And with who?
💡 If, as an extravert, you’re really struggling not being around all your usual people – you might have been struggling to motivate yourself, or have been climbing the walls being in your own company. What might this be bringing into your awareness? Having a preference to be around people is one thing, but being uncomfortable in your own company is another. Might that be worth looking into? Imagine being comfortable alone or with others, even though your preference is to be around others.
💡 If, as an introvert, your preference for your own space may have invited you into becoming more and more isolated so that you’re now struggling to interact with the outer world at all. What might this have highlighted? Gaining your energy from being in nature or having a preference to spend time on your own is one thing, being unable to interact with or be around others is another. Might that be worth looking into? Imagine being comfortable alone or with others, even though your preference is to have your own space.
💡 And what about your lifestyle choices? If you were an all-or-nothing person before lockdown and went from one extreme to the other, has lockdown taken you to new levels of extreme? Perhaps lockdown been the invitation to you to review your wellbeing choices? Imagine if you managed to find a more doable approach that supports you whether you are busy or not, whether you are tired or not, happy or sad.
Lockdown, winter, and the times when life just sucks, all invite us to change what’s not working anymore. It invites us to get done once and for all with all that we’ve outgrown, and to start again.
So, whilst February keeps our outer lives on hold, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it gives us the chance to look at our lives and really commit to getting onto the path that we want to be on.
Pic from the brilliant Charlie Mackesy. His book, The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse is a heart-warming read not to miss.
You might currently lack the energy to do anything about it, but what you can do is get yourself a nice big notepad, a pen, a mug of something warm and comforting to drink, and sit somewhere that you can shut the rest of the world out for a while….and start writing. Write down all that you’ve noticed, all that your done with, and all that you want to change. Write down the first little steps that will help you to get that all in motion – if not now, but when you’re ready.
I don’t know about you, but I find that sometimes tiredness serves me well; it knocks my energy levels down enough to ‘help’ me to step back and recognise that it’s time for both me and my life to upgrade. Last year, and since my book came out, my work is getting more and more in demand, which is such a joy to me…..and, like anything that grows, it means that some things don’t fit any more. I know that whenever something doesn’t feel right to me, when I want to know what direction to take, it’s a call to step back from it and to meditate. Since I began meditating in the 90s, it never ceases to fill me with awe and wonder at just how easily meditation shifts my perspective, renews my spirit, and upgrades my vision of the next step.
So maybe it’s time to let tiredness, if you feel it, serve you too. Let it stop you doing some of the things you’d normally routinely do. Let it invite you to stop yourself in your tracks.
This pandemic, amidst all the undoubtable suffering it brings with it, also brings the opportunity of turning the world and our lives completely upside down. Maybe, despite the suffering, we can also learn from it. What needed bringing to its knees? What needed to be broken down so it can be re-built? And what, might be best left in the pre-pandemic world?
Whatever your energy levels are right now, give yourself some space and time. Let February be an invitation to you to review your own life. What, once you have the energy levels, would you like to re-build? What dysfunctional way of being is ready to be looked at now, so that you can upgrade it to a whole better way? What will your new life look like? And…..have you learned the lesson of self-care?
Time to get that pen out and get writing……