It has been one year since we began to self-isolate in earnest. This pandemic has reminded us that there are very few guarantees in life and that nothing can really be taken for granted. Assumptions we may have made in the past about our future opportunities may no longer be applicable. Our enjoyment of good health, freedom of movement, and gainful employment may now be compromised.
As a global community, we are learning to deal with uncertainty, some of us better at it than others. This lack of predictability in our lives can be incredibly destabilizing and evoke fear within us as to what comes next. As we no longer have a reference point for “normal”, this leaves us with the choice to either accept “what is” or rage against what it is we have lost. Not being able to make firm plans leaves us with no option but to be more present in the moment that is now.
If you are anything like me, you may be feeling somewhat ambivalent about what it is you really want for yourself moving forward–besides the obvious human contact with others and the spontaneity that comes with leaving your home to go anywhere you choose– and what is no longer a priority for you. For many, this pandemic has really provided the opportunity to pause and take stock of various aspects of our lives. Hopefully, it has allowed you to become more aware of some well-entrenched patterns of thought and behaviour that you are no longer interested in maintaining post lockdown.
While this pandemic can be a valuable opportunity to turn inward and reflect on what we have learned about ourselves during this prolonged and imposed break, it can nonetheless feel overwhelming or underwhelming in its upheaval. We may judge ourselves for the lack of action we are taking or feel as though we are wasting our time as we watch yet another Netflix series or binge on foods we know aren’t great for us. One part of us may rationalize these choices to make up for all that we feel we’ve lost during Covid, while another part of us may be feeling really crummy about our lack of self-restraint.
Speaking for myself, as someone who is generally an optimist, my motivation to act has completely stalled. The inspiration that normally drives me to do and be more of who I want to be seems to have waned considering the global turmoil that is inescapable. It would not be unusual for me to adopt the tendency to “should” on myself for this inertia during those times when I did not want to do anything beyond simply existing. (Trust me, I have had my fair share of these moments over the past year.)
By tapping through feelings of not living up to my self-imposed standards, I have managed to get some much-needed clarity on a few things.
- My situation is not atypical as many people I have spoken to report similar feelings of apathy or even exhaustion.
- It would most certainly be in my best interest to accept whatever it is I am feeling in a particular moment especially when I am judging myself for things I “should” be doing but am not doing. This means being 100% okay with whatever my state of being is at any given time.
- Just because I may not feel particularly inspired to do bigger, more meaningful things now does not mean that I will always feel this way. This period of simply “being” rather than always feeling the need to be “doing” while enjoying the NOW is a necessary stage to prepare myself for the moment of expansion yet to come. The French have a great saying that describes this process, “Reculer pour mieux sauter”. (Backing up to be able to jump further ahead).
By accepting the “what is” of any given moment, I am now able to free up the energy previously embroiled in the self-judgment and resistance of “that which is supposed to be”. This energetic release can now be harnessed and used to willingly engage in a small step in the direction that feels right for me at this time. This will inevitably lead to more action steps and yummier possibilities, all in due course.
This sense of acceptance removes the self-imposed pressure and “shoulds” that I, and many others like me, too often heap onto ourselves. Much like an animal who hibernates in the winter months to prepare for a bountiful spring, giving myself permission to enjoy doing nothing of great significance is really what I need right now (regardless of the lengthy time already spent in lockdown).
I will choose when I am good and ready to come out of hibernation. Until then, I plan on taking advantage of this downtime while I still can! My hope is that you do too.