In some ways, the world is functioning in a more recognisable way again, and over the next couple of weeks more of us are getting back behind the wheel as it feels that we are all entering the next phase of ‘back to school’.
I’m seeing a fair amount of anxiety from people about returning to the ‘real world’. They were not particularly anxious types before the pandemic, but now they are people that are feeling torn, unsure, maybe a bit panicked and just not feeling quite ready to face it all yet.
Today I want to get you thinking about returning to whatever your normal is going to be, but in a gradual way, and not rushing or overwhelming yourself with too much responsibility too soon.
Many of us will have been feeling the psychological effects of the trauma the world has been through. You may feel a little panicked in a crowd, or overloaded by being surrounded by noise after getting used to the emptier streets.
You may also have been unwell yourself, and finding the recovery taking its toll on your energy for far longer than you imagined.
I feel torn on this too. On the one hand, I feel it’s great to have shops, restaurants and offices getting back to work because I know that people and businesses need to start earning again. They need to support themselves and others and getting back into the swing of things and out of the house is good for their own mental health.
I feel that we all need to support those people and businesses by getting a degree of normality back – but here’s the thing, you just don’t have to jump into doing everything you used to do – all at once.
Now is the time to be pacing yourself and taking extra care. Stress isn’t good for our immune systems, and with a virus out there, you can join the dots for yourself… Physical and mental health go hand in hand, so I’m advocating less stress and pressure for more general health and resilience.
Here are a few tips you can remind yourself of when you feel the world is moving too fast.
# Tip 1 Don’t try to go from 0 to 70mph
While this may feel obvious, you could easily put this pressure on yourself without realising it. As we are such creatures of habit, it’s normal for you to try to resume all your usual activities without considering what that would be like if you go from a total stand still to motorway speed.
If you start to feel the acceleration then just remind yourself to pause, look at your to-do list, and see what can wait for another day.
#Tip 2 Have one focus at a time
Multi-tasking is a false economy; there, I said it. I know it might not be what you want to hear, but it’s a universal truth. I spent years doing a bit of this and a bit of that because I thought that if I had a few things on the go everything would get done quicker and everything would still get done well. Except it doesn’t.
When our focus is divided then each target receives a fraction of our energy.
It’s sad but true that we have a limited amount of energy and focus each day, and so when we have an important goal, we do best when we dedicate 100% of our focus to it.
So decide what’s most important for you and then focus on that one goal until you get it. Then you are free to focus on something else.
#Tip 3 Don’t overlook the effects of trauma
No matter how you feel about what happened to our planet in the last six months, it will likely have had some effect on you. We have all been exposed to trauma, and it’s perfectly reasonable that we should all be gentler with ourselves in the next phase of recovery.
The stress of lockdown, financial worries, and concerns for the health and wellbeing of ourselves, our loved ones and the wider world are all real, so please acknowledge that you deserve time to process and heal.
Our situations are unique to us and everybody feels and deals with things differently. It’s really important to try not to judge ourselves based on what others want or feel able to do.
I think this September will have the ‘back to school’ feeling more than ever. I’ve been talking to lots of people over the last few months and I think that we probably all need a bit of support going forward into the post lockdown phase.
That’s why I am planning the launch of my Kitchen Table Confidential group and I will be sharing the details of that with you next week.
Get in touch – would love to see you round my virtual table!