Happy new year to everyone. I really hope this finds you as well as you can be in the current circumstances. It seems like 2021 has started where 2020 finished. More Covid challenges. With the vaccination programme starting to pick up across the UK, at least we can see that light at the end of the Covid tunnel is getting brighter.
I was talking to a friend recently and he used the expression “same storm, different boats”. I thought this was a good metaphor for Covid. It’s important to recognise that whilst the characteristics of the virus are the same (the storm) how they impact us is very individual (our boat).
What kind of boat are you in and is it serving you well? There’s a risk that at times like the ones we are living through at the moment that we compare our boats with others. Or begin worrying about other people’s boats, at the expense of our own. In some cases, we might not even know the people who we are worrying about – reporting in the news or social media are good examples of this.
When supporting people with resilience an early part of the work is to encourage and explain the importance of looking after yourself first. This often jars with people as it conjures up feelings of selfishness. I’d argue that looking after ourselves first is anything but selfish. In fact, not doing that is the selfish thing to do. If we truly want to be the best version of ourselves in any aspect of our lives we need to ensure we are making our own foundations a priority.
At a time of so many changes and challenges that could impact us personally how can we ensure we are prioritising ourselves? Here’s a four ideas that could support your environment.
Create some structure
With many people handling elements of uncertainly and many of their regular routines disrupted it’s easy to find that our foundations begin to suffer. I have deliberately said some structure. As the amount you need will be personal to you. I can think of times in my own life where I’ve probably had too much structure and that has its own downsides. Experiment and work out what’s best for you.
Use a morning routine
Putting some thought into how you want your day to begin can really help with bringing the best version of you to the day as opposed to the day coming to you. Common components of many people’s morning routines include some sort of exercise, being mindful or visualising the day you’d like to have and identifying the particular priorities you have for the coming day.
Deliberate time to reflect
Setting aside a particular time each day to reflect how things are going and consciously bring objectivity to the challenges you face. This can really help you spot things that you are grateful for and help you see the day-to-day challenges in a bigger picture context. Of course, this won’t change the particular challenge however, it puts you in a better position where you can begin to make more informed choices about where you put your time and energy to handle it.
Have an approach to help you make decisions
The environment you are in is changing with the situations the virus presents needing us to adapt. Our minds can easily get overwhelmed when we are faced with so many changing variables. This can sap our energy and worse generate worry and stress. Being able to lift up and asses situations in a balanced way can help you become more empowered. Being clear on what your goal is a key first step. Here’s an example of an approach and its practical use of it.
Goal - avoid contracting the virus
Question 1 – is this thing I’m planning to do going to increase or decrease my chance of getting the virus?
Question 2 – if the answer to question 1 is increased, is the benefit of what I’m planning to do greater than the risks?
Question 3 – If the answer to question 2 is yes, then how can I mitigate the risks I might face?
· Practical use
Scenario – a need to travel to London for work as a key worker.
Answer to question 1: this will increase my chance of contracting the virus.
Answer to question 2: as a key worker I need to travel for work which means I get to keep my job (and therefore provide financial security and a home for my family) and contribute to the National effort to manage the coronavirus pandemic. So, on balance, it feels like the benefit is greater than the risks.
Answer to question 3: allow more time for the journey to minimise any use of public transport and therefore coming into contact with more people e.g. walk, instead of taking the tube. In reality, the answers to question 3 would explore a broader range of risks.
I hope your ‘boat’ is serving you well and is built to help you weather the storm. If it’s not then take some time to improve your boat. I hope your voyage is a safe one. Bon voyage.