Has your country or area started to open up again after COVID-19? Have you been told you can return to your workplace yet? Have you lost your job and are wondering what will be the new normal? As an energy management coach I have found it really interesting to see what has happened as everyone went into lockdown because of the pandemic. Now, I am also super interested to see what is going to happen as things open up again and try to return to a new ‘normal’.
In case you are not aware, I live in Dublin, Ireland. As I write this, we are currently in phase two of our restriction lifting. It means retail outlets can open, which means a lot of people are now going back to work. Of course, the restrictions are different in different places, and individual circumstances differ too. I probably couldn’t really address all those differences in one post, so, I am going to focus my attention in this post to address how to deal with an increased pace in our day to day lives.
Whereas before the pandemic we might have been up at the crack of dawn, now we might have gotten accustomed to taking that extra hour in bed in the morning. Now, maybe we are back to work, or on a hunt for new work, so we need to get that pace up a notch again. How can we do it? Is it just a case of do it, and ignore the tired feelings, push through and you will eventually feel like it’s normal again?
I feel the first step we can take is to go back to the drawing board – re-plan! Maybe work was our priority before lock down, maybe self-care was our priority during lock down. What is our priority now? Take a look at your circumstances as they stand now and see if there is any adjustment you want to make to your life before things just slip back to the way they were. I know people have mentioned to me that they have made the decision to go to their bosses and request that their work week from now on includes a certain number of days working from home. Maybe if you are in a position of searching for a new job, ask yourself if you want anything to be different. Do you want part time work? Do you want to try a new kind of work?
The point is – we don’t have to just jump back to the way things were before. Now is the time to check if having the lock down changed anything, gave us a new priority, new goal or new desire? If our priority is the same as it was before, that is absolutely fine too.
Make space for adjustments
“What on earth does that mean?”, I hear you ask. Please, allow me to explain..
If we do indeed feel like we want to go back to the way things were before, then yes that will need an increase in pace and activity. What I am suggesting is to make room for that in your life so that you are not harshly overdoing things. It would be simply impossible to do everything you did at home during lockdown and now include a 40 hour work week, just like that. It won’t work and is not healthy energy management. To make space for the adjustment it takes planning first. For example, if you now need to get up one hour earlier everyday, you could just set the alarm and get up. But it is completely unrealistic to think that losing one hour every day from sleep won’t have an impact – it will! You will get tired.
So, make the space for that. You need one hour extra in the morning, so maybe you need to turn off the lights a bit sooner in the evening to get the sleep you need. Sounds easy, right? Yet, oh so hard to do. That’s because we haven’t made the space for that either. To make the space in your life to go to bed earlier requires changes too. Maybe TV has become a habit and it’s hard to break a habit. You might need some time in your day to create a reward system for getting the TV off. I know people who have taken time to create lovely environments in their bedroom, with candles and books, so that they have been able to fall out of love with TV and fall in love with making themselves a priority.
The point is – sometimes adjustments take more space in our life than we realise. If things were easy we would do them easily, but often we find them hard. We want to try to be realistic about what we will need to make a change happen.
Have a holistic approach
Please, please, don’t be too harsh as you transition to a busier life. This idea of ‘do more’, ‘be more productive’, is often driving people to be harsh with themselves. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to feel like you have accomplished loads in a day. But if you have exhausted your brain, and haven’t moved much physically; if you have exhausted yourself physically, but suppressed every emotion you have felt; you are being harsh to a part of your self. Please respect all of you as a whole being, and take care of all the parts of your energy.
Sure, you are might be more active than while in lockdown, that’s ok. Quite likely the emotional effect of that will be that you might want a bit of quiet, peace time, or you might need a bit of comfort. The temptation might be to gorge on a big pizza that was easy to pick up on your way home. That might comfort your emotions, but your body might not thank you.
The point is – when you make changes, check in with each part of you and see if it’s a good decision for all of you. That way there won’t be one area that is having neglect or harsh treatment. Instead it shows a healthy self-respect and support for all your energy.
I hope you were able to find some principle in this post that you would find helpful for you to apply in all your varying circumstances. I would like to take this opportunity to express that if you are having a stressful time and are struggling with your circumstances, I am really sorry. My heart goes out to you. Please find the local support in your area to get any help you might need. Sending my love and support! 💖