I'm not going to sugar coat it, I have struggled hard mentally during isolation. As soon as Covid-19 made it's way here it threw a bag on my head, launched me in to the back of an empty van, hit the gas and eventually threw me out right in the centre of Struggle City.
In a kind of sick way, it helps knowing that I've not been the only one to experience this, the entire world has been disrupted so there's nothing particularly special about this feeling.
Today's entry is just a few thing's that I've noticed over the last couple of months, and despite the overwhelming feeling of struggle, reflecting has highlighted the positives of this experience for me.
Firstly, I am extremely fortunate enough to live in one of the best places in the world to be experiencing this global pandemic in, so I cannot complain too much. Here in the South West of Australia, we are practically in paradise with those in charge actually appearing to have been effective with their work and it is appreciated greatly.
Nevertheless, I've struggled to adapt to the change as well as I would have liked. I miss the people I coach, I miss coaching people face to face, I miss having a dedicated space to travel to and work in, I miss having the kinds of conversations that haven't seemed to have translated to the zoom boom just yet.
Personally, I have noticed a few things about myself when it comes to my ability to do my job and work on myself in this time:
1): My expectations for myself were way too high.
When we went in to the lockdown phase I got a bit excited at the opportunity to work on some things that I'd wanted to for some time. I bought in to the consensus that if you didn't come out of quarantine without learning a new skill, then you were wasting time. I wrote a long list of things that I wanted to accomplish over the course of ISO and thought that it would be easy to get them all done.
Well, I was very very wrong. I didn't truly comprehend the demands of working remotely in this climate, and no matter what anyone tells you, it's been different to normal remote work. I can report that less than half of the things on my ambitious list have been completed. Without realising it I had gone for the new years resolution approach, which is to try and change a bunch of things at the same time-and the results speak for themselves when following this method.
The reality of it is that this list was full of little projects that had little urgency to them at all. All it did was serve as another source of stress for myself. It was as if I had this background static in my head reminding me of all the things that still needed to be completed ASAP.
So lesson learned, again, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing.
2). Battling the lazy inner me is harder.
I'm quite fond of the Anthony Bourdain quote below.
“I understand there’s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy.” - A.Bourdain
This sums up a mindset that can help anyone begin to take back control, and keep it, on their way to achieving their goals. Since ISO I found it was increasingly difficult to maintain focus on the things that keep me on the right track- I gave in to that guy inside me who wants to zone out and not connect with reality so much.
With a new routine came new speed-bumps and kinks to workout. I know how it works, I know it takes time, patience and consistency. It's been tricky, but after revisiting this idea, I think I've managed to keep that lazy guy inside of me away from the controls for long enough to get me back on track.
3). It's way easier to eat like an asshole when I'm never more than a few steps from the kitchen.
Big learning curve. I've been pretty good with my eating overall but found it way easier to head to the kitchen and eat like a child when it was available. Junk food and easy options are appealing when you don't feel great, as putting in effort on anything is 10 x harder.
On the flip side of this, I've noticed that the idea of going to the shops more than necessary during a pandemic is a great filter. This helped my grocery shopping habits, as I'm far less likely to risk my health for a packet of chips (my weakness), over food that's going to serve my body and immune system properly. So once I'd gotten through the junk I had hiding in the house, buying better food was a far easier choice.
4): I actually like running...
This is a major indicator that the world is a little out of whack right now. I've always despised running, I struggled to understand why people would push themselves so much in this way when there's heavy things to lift that are far more satisfying. Having said this, I've figured out why, and you should totally join the running kick we're on!
To be completely fair, it started as a way to raise money for MS Foundation Australia, but I'm going to keep going once this challenge is over. I like what it's doing for me.
5): My online communication abilities took a hit, but I'm working on it.
I had a lot of experience working with people remotely before isolation hit, but it's certainly different now. The challenges I'd normally face are certainly more difficult, the expectations are different and the goal posts change so often it's almost impossible to keep up with.
I also have been an external university student for 2 years, so working remotely like this isn't new to me, but there has been is a distinct difference compared to normal. I've found trying to concentrate on a singular focus almost impossible at times, I'm fatiguing far quicker than usual and it's harder to tell if the work I'm putting in is having any kind of pay-off for those it's meant for.
Overall, I have to count myself extremely fortunate. I have my health and I have my family. After sitting on this and reflecting for a few weeks I think the next course of action is to adjust my expectations, identify some more areas for opportunity and reintroduce the sense of mindfulness that has helped me previously. Luckily, we seem to be on the back end of things now with more normality returning as restrictions lift here in Western Australia so the end is not so far away.
I hope you have kept well throughout all the craziness both mentally and physically. I'd like you to know that you can reach out any time you need to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can strike up a conversation from there.