People staying home and working from home. People laid off. People in isolation. People at risk. People suffering. People caring. People zooming. People scared. People helping.
All kinds of people, trying to deal with this as best they can.
I'm adapting to this new world myself. I'm in the at-risk group and have stayed at home and away from people for the last two and half weeks. I've been mixing up working from home and resting up, as for the last month I've felt pretty awful with a flare-up of my illness, and I've found myself concerned from time to time that maybe, just maybe, Covid-19 has been behind this flare-up.
I'm pretty sure we've all coughed, then wondered if the virus has got us. That we've all felt fatigued, and wondered if it's just the start of the infection. That we've all worried, and wondered just how long this will last, and what the world will be like when it ends.
It's easy to go a bit nuts in this crazy, covid world, when things are changing more rapidly than we can comprehend.
I can't do much about what's happening out there, and it's tough to see a way through. But there are some things that I've found helpful, and I hope you find use for them too.
To hell with productivity
Can we please, now more than ever, stop worshipping at the altar of productivity?
So many articles have appeared capitalising on your overdeveloped sense of responsibility, telling you how to be super-productive. Whether you're working from home or in self-isolation with a heap of time on your hands, messages about getting the most out of your time, developing new skills, and kicking off new projects are everywhere.
Let's just stop.
You don't always have to do stuff. You don't always have to be productive. You don't always have to achieve stuff.
Right now it's perfectly okay not to spend your time smartly and productively. You don't have to spring-clean your home. Or finish that novel. Or make the perfect loaf.
It's okay to just be, as you are. Without forcing yourself to be anything else.
Rest. Spend the day on the couch. Contemplate your navel.
Just be, and be kind to yourself. Because that's more than enough.
Figure out what matters
I recently recorded a video where I shared some of the thoughts I've had about Covid-19, and I spoke about how this is a key moment in our lives to pause for a moment, and figure out what really matters.
I know that I keep banging on and on about figuring out what matters to you, and I do this for two reasons:
- Because the things that matter to you amount to a hill of beans. They matter, because you give a damn, because they're part of what makes you, you. They're part of your fabric. That's everything.
- Because what matters to you is a means to find meaning and purpose, which is even more essential when the world is crazy.
So if you find yourself with some time on your hands, or with a new lifestyle imposed on you, and you're asking yourself some questions, that's great.
Inquiry and curiosity is a gift, as is the time and space to explore. So, go explore.
Own your concern, let go of worry
To demonstrate my remarkable grasp of the obvious, things are pretty concerning right now. I know you'll have things close to you that concern you too.
But there's a world of difference between concern and worry.
Worry is storytelling. It's conjuring doom-laden scenarios that become the focus of your attention and energy, scenarios that are just based on all kinds of what-if's, conjecture and fantasy.
Worry is a drain and a limiter. It drains your energy and it limits your ability to see clearly and keep hold of your power.
Concern, on the other hand, is healthy. Concern is an act of caring, of giving a shit. It's an expression of focus and energy in the direction of something that matters to you.
Being concerned simply means that you give a damn. Do that, and keep doing that, but keep it rooted and don't let it spin into storytelling and fiction.
You can do this
None of us have been here before, which makes this a scary place to be. The reality of coronavirus is a horrible one, and it's hard to know where to go for answers, for comfort or for connection.
This is a time of towering challenge, and the pandemic might affect you personally and deeply, or it might sweep through and disrupt your life from top to bottom.
I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know something about your ability to meet and respond to challenge.
You're hardwired for adaptation. You're hard-wired for learning. You're hard-wired for digging deep.
There are some who meet a crisis and respond from their worst. Greed, blame, and running away are just some of the ways these people choose to respond. This won't sound very coachey, but fuck them.
But not you. You have it in you to meet this, and to show it your best. You have it in you to accept this, and to demonstrate what matters to you. You have it in you to rise to the challenge that's presented to you.
You can do this.
This is not normal
"The new normal" is a phrase that's becoming pervasive out there.
Lockdown, social-distancing, hand-washing, self-isolation, working from home, lines and rationing at the grocery store... All of these things and more are being spoken about as the new normal, as if any of this is normal.
This is not fucking normal. Don't call it that.
By all means, adapt to the current way of doing things and make changes in your life to make all of this easier and simpler for you and yours. That's essential. That's survival.
But don't normalise it. Don't embed these behaviours and the emotions that come with them. Don't normalise the fear or grief or powerlessness. Don't normalise the lack of contact with the people you care about. Don't normalise your isolation.
This isn't how us human beings are designed to live. Adapt to Covid-19, but don't look at any of this as normal.