As we come to the beginning of May, we have been through 7 weeks of social isolation and communities are starting to open back up. The restrictions are loosening up. Before we jump right back into how things were, I think this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on any positives that came out of this situation as we move back into our old busy lives.
I’m not discounting or ignoring the negatives, there were plenty of those and we hear about them every day. I for one, cried my eyes out for about an hour just the other night as I was dealing with the stress of our situation. Don’t worry, I feel much better now! Nothing like a good cry to rid your body of excess emotional baggage.
As we move back into our old “normal” lives, I’m suggesting that we all take a little time to reflect. Is there anything from this time that you would like to hang on to?
As my sabbatical gets closer to its end, I’ve felt anxious about going back to work because I’m afraid of feeling burnt out again. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want my life and our family life to look like. This past 7 weeks, I’ve taken an even closer look at those things with a fresh perspective.
My sabbatical has had an interesting similarity to our social isolation time. Comparable to my worry about falling back into burnout, I worry about our world going back to its fast pace without a second thought. I think a lot of people in our world are near burnout. The coronavirus closures have given some of us a little down time. My hope is that people will reflect on the positives of this down time and not rush right back into a life that continues on the burnout path.
Our world has a surplus of opportunities for involvement. It can lead to an overwhelming amount of choices to make.
When we have a clear vision of what we want for our lives and our families, it is much easier to make decisions about how to spend our time. Envisioning our goals and dreams makes it much easier to say no, and hold to our personal boundaries, when all those opportunities start rolling in.
I’m taking some time to think about what I want to add back into my life. There are some things that just don’t hold the significance that they once did, so I don’t want to add those back in. Other things I realized brought me more stress than joy, so those will not be added back in either.
There are also things I’m going to appreciate so much more than I did before! Like going to church, the fun relaxing atmosphere of a restaurant, and date nights out with my husband. I am again reminded how important alone time is for my soul. I’ve enjoyed the freedom of leisurely meal times and slow mornings.
I’ve found myself, a big introvert, actually choosing social activities, like calling people, face time and zoom calls. I learned how much I value group CrossFit classes and the friends I have there. And how much I value being around positive, inspiring people from various groups that I’m involved in.
So, how do we incorporate those things into our life once we start back up again?
Define Your Joy
Get clarity about what you want your life to look like.
Decide what you want for your life as we move back into “normal” and hold on to your dreams, goals, and personal boundaries.
Reflect on the positive things that brought you joy during this time. Would you like to maintain those things as we move forward?
If so, reflect on exactly what it was about the thing that brought you joy. Once you narrow it down to a specific thing, you can find a way to keep that in your new routine.
Maybe you liked slow mornings. Drill that down a little. What exactly about the slow morning brought you joy? Was it the extra prayer time, drinking a whole coffee before it got cold, or taking a longer shower? Or maybe all three! By pinpointing exactly what it was that you liked, it will be much easier to continue to incorporate it in your routine. In this example, if the extra 10 minutes in the shower was your joy, then plan to wake up a little earlier and take that longer shower before heading out to work.
I’ve had several friends mention that their high school kids are much more relaxed, happier, and interacting with the family more now that they are not under so much stress from school and activities.
I think this adds an interesting perspective that sometimes the thing that brings us joy isn’t adding something, it’s holding our boundary and saying no to things that don’t enhance our life.
For me, I have things that I will be saying no to and some that I can’t wait to say yes to!
May you all find peace and joy as we once again change to another new normal. If 2020 keeps this up, we are all going to be pros and dealing with change!
I’d love to hear what positives YOU found in your life after reflecting on these weeks of social isolation!