This morning, for the first time in 10 days, I opened my windows and doors and breathed fresh air. I've never been so happy for cloudy skies and rain.
Unprecedented. This is the word I keep hearing applied to any number of events in 2020 —quarantine, wildfires, protests, the life of RBG. No doubt, we are living in unprecedented times.
Every day I get through is another unprecedented day. It’s another day I’ve navigated Mother Nature’s curveballs. Another day I’ve survived doomsday news. Another day I woke up and showed up. Another day I faced many unknowns and kept moving my feet anyway.
Maybe that doesn’t sound all that inspiring. But consider how many situations in the last nine months you’ve “never done or known before.” Consider that your ability to breathe, the most basic need humans have, has been threatened since the beginning of January by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s a lot.
It’s a lot for our brains and our central nervous systems to process. The human brain does not like uncertainty. It thrives on predictability. And the most basic activity of the human body has been under threat for nine months. Then take away our coping mechanisms like socializing, exercising outside, entertainment, etc. That takes a toll, a cumulative toll, on our ability to cope, our ability to rally, our productivity, and even our cognitive ability.
It’s a miracle we haven’t all gone bat-sh*t crazy by now. Or maybe you did. Welcome back.
Every day we spend in quarantine is a day that is an unprecedented challenge to our ability to cope with stress and adapt, but somehow, we’re still here. We’ve survived.
Let’s take a little pause here and acknowledge whatever it took to get here to this moment. It took something. I bet you could easily list off ten things you've never done before, that are, you know, unprecedented for you. Whatever they are, they challenged you. That's huge. It means you're growing. It might not feel good, you might not have wanted it, but you're doing it, so you might as well give yourself some credit for it.
This is not to say it's easy.
The other day I rolled out the yoga mat and during the first pose, i.e., I was sitting on my ass with my eyes closed, I realized how tired of it all I am.
The smoke from the wildfires kicked my ass. The ONE THING I’ve relied on throughout quarantine is being able to go outside and breathe fresh air. When that was taken away, I felt hopeless. And helpless. So discouraged.
While the world has ratcheted up the stress level in these unprecedented times, my own expectations didn’t shift. I’ve been expecting that I should be able to function “like normal.”
(But we’re not living in normal times, so why would I respond “like normal”? What does “normal” even mean now?) Anyhoo...
So it seems like a good time to take stock. Jot down answers to these questions and see what you learn about yourself and your resilience.
What are ten new things you've learned, tried or accomplished because of Covid-19?
What’s working in your life? Why?
What’s not working? Why?
What have you continued to do, even though the pandemic forced you to do it differently?
What did you let go of?
What are your expectations of yourself and others? Are those expectations making you more of who you want to be? Or less?
In each area, what do you have control over? If something isn’t working, what would happen if you shifted your expectations in that area?