I’ve hummed and hawed over whether or not I was going to articulate this nagging thought that hasn’t subsided the last few weeks. And if I do try to type out my feelings, how can I be sure I don’t make someone feel worse about this dire time, heighten their anxiety, or make them feel like they aren’t enough. I can’t.
So while you may feel resistance as you read the next sentence, hear me out.
Now, is your time to get ahead.
Remember, I’m an anxious overachiever, too. Someone who has to consciously work on my self-compassion and stillness. So I urge you to read on, and let me know your thoughts.
Covid doesn’t discriminate. This beast doesn’t see gender, race, class, or political borders. We have very little control over the virus itself — an extremely anxiety-inducing, and helpless feeling. But we’ve also lost the daily freedoms that allow us to choose what we do, where we go, what we learn, who we see, what we eat, and more. The lack of choice feels a lot like a loss of control. I feel suppressed like I have energy to expel and nowhere to put it. So I often just sit on the couch, lost in an Instagram scroll or watching TV, feeling overwhelmed.
It’s been a few weeks now, and we don’t have an end in sight or know what the (excuse the buzz word) new normal will be.
Times are tough. There’s no doubt about it. But, didn’t your mother tell you, when the going gets tough…
The tough get going.
Whether this lasts another day or continues for months, I know what’s best for me, my future, and my mental health is to get going.
Now, let’s realize there’s a big difference between going and hustling. The title probably gave it away, but I’m reminded of the tortoise and the hare. I have major inspiration from that little green guy: no forcing, no peaks and valleys, just a steady course. That’s where I’m (trying to be) at.
The days that have been the most successful around here are the ones where we…
Have a plan.
I’ve yammered on about the importance of writing things down for years. It is my biggest life hack for all areas of your life.
Chances are, you’re doing a lot more in a day than you realize right now, so give yourself a little credit. Like my friend, Kevan, who would always put 1) write a to-do list at the top of every to-do list. This started as a joke, but proved to be a great way to get a little momentum going. Set small, attainable goals for each day, and feel free to include the small tasks that you do without praise daily. Brushing your teeth deserves a checked-box when you’re not leaving the house. Pat that back, baby!
These are the five lists I use in my life. Why do I have five? Because jumbling these different types of achievements together seems weird to me, and somehow dilutes them.
List #1: The today list
Make these goals snack-sized, and focus on the things that make you smile and feel good. Maybe it’s just:
- Make a green smoothie
- Move your body
- Get outside
- Call your sister
- Empty the dishwasher
- Work for two hours
Leave your items up for interpretation depending on how you feel. For example, saying “move your body” means you may have an amazing at home workout, or maybe you feel more like doing a short yoga flow, or simply dancing to a song around the living room.
List #2: The work list
This is a tough one. Work means a lot of different things for a lot of different people right now. If you’re still going into your work space for an essential service, thank you.
If you’re currently like me, and self-employed, now’s a great time to look at your structure, your website, your LinkedIn profile, and all of the other things that took a back burner while things were busy.
If you’re one of the many that has been laid off, I’m sorry. But don’t feel defeated. You are a phoenix! Take this time to chip away at your resume or portfolio, and goal set.
Again, make your list attainable. Instead of saying “fix my LinkedIn profile” break it down further: write my bio, update my profile picture and header image, ask for recommendations.
List #3: The this-week list
Alex and I share this list of small goals for the week. Things like loads of laundry, hanging a picture, and those smallish jobs that aren’t part of the day-to-day routine. It’s also an awesome communication tool to avoid nagging. Sorry, our bedroom chair is still covered in clothes, babe!
Watching this list dwindle is incredibly satisfying.
List #4: The this-month list
This list is the doozy list. Things like cleaning out the storage locker, or organizing your Google Drive. The fastest way to make you hate these jobs is by setting an exact time to do them. Remember when your mom used to make you clean your room on a sunny day when your friends were riding their bikes? Yeah. You’ll be resentful and it’ll take you double the time. Don’t force it.
Leave this list visible, and you’ll be surprised how one afternoon you’re listening to an upbeat playlist and actually enjoying the feeling of accomplishment.
Editor’s note: No joke, as I wrote this, Alex gleefully said “another little job done!” from the other room. Guys, it feels good to get shit done.
List #5: The what’s-for-dinner list
A real household favourite, this one.
On a pragmatic note, this list minimizes waste, keeps the team healthy, and helps organize the sparse grocery runs. But, let’s be honest, food has an easy way of bringing people together. All you need to do is open any social media app and you’ll see couples cooking together, parents baking with their kids, people dropping off fresh cookies to friends, friends tasting a new wine.
What a beautiful joy and privilege.
We’ve got this.
Let me remind you that this will one day be gone, and we will reenter the world again. But, changed. You will be a reflection of the person you were in isolation. So go gently, but steadily, my friends.
You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You’re enough. You can keep going.