I had a wobble last week.
It was now clear that my daughter (age 7) wouldn't be back at school before September.
In this weird time, lockdown IS being lifted in the UK (with an apologetic, incremental whimper)...
...but the thing I most need to get closer to normality?
Still MONTHS away.
And it has been hard.
Trying to be:
- teacher, playmate, cleaner, washerwoman, cook, wife, mother...
- PLUS coach, small business owner and charity Trustee...
...has stretched me (time-wise, and emotionally), despite a supportive husband.
(And I know I’m not alone in experiencing that.)
So I made a decision.
Now it's the end of lockdown, it's time for the end of this series of Positive Thoughts.
And I'm going to finish by focussing on the positives:
🌟 I want to review this unprecedented time that we (hopefully) will never live through again.
🌟 I want to celebrate what I’ve loved about lockdown.
And I would love you to think about how you would answer these questions too!
Hopefully that will help us all realise how amazing we are to have got here! 💖
🔥 So do email me your replies to the questions below - I would love to see your answers, and you might find it helpful and inspiring too... 😊 email@example.com.
1. ✴️ WHAT ARE YOU PROUDEST OF DURING LOCKDOWN? ✴️
I am proud of so many things during lockdown: we've eaten well, the house has been clean (enough), and we've had a lot of fun together.
But I am proudest that I’ve survived the juggle:
🌟 My family is happy and healthy...
🌟 I’ve served my clients, LinkedIn connections and blog readers well...
🌟 draining myself dry.
And I am very proud of that 💖
🔥 What are you proudest of during lockdown? 😃
(To see the inspiring answers to this post on LinkedIn, click here.)
2. ✴️ WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST/ MOST FUN THING YOU BOUGHT IN LOCKDOWN? ✴️
I have a confession.
Way back at the beginning of lockdown - I was a panic-buyer.
But not loo-rolls, oh no.
(I’d been reading about WW2, and I got worried about cheese rationing... 🙄 )
More sensibly, but also more irritatingly:
😬 I spent nearly £20 on a £4.99 bottle of Calpol on eBay.
(We’d run out, we were shielding at home, and it was out of stock online everywhere. But I’m still grumpy about the profiteering...)
🥖 the half kilo packet of dried yeast (going all-in, even though I’d never baked bread before)...
🥔 or the horrific amount I’ve spent buying compost online (my home-grown potatoes are going to be worth at least £5 each...)
But I am still loving my emergency "corona-hair" hairbands... 😍
Now the shops are opening, and lockdown is easing, these are going to become just fond, funny memories 😊
🔥 So what's the weirdest/ most “unlike you”/ fun thing you bought during lockdown? 😃
(To see the entertaining answers to this post on LinkedIn, click here.)
3. ✴️ WHICH LOCKDOWN *WORK/ CAREER* HABIT WILL YOU CONTINUE? ✴️
Lockdown has been a massive pattern interrupter.
Clients will know I talk about this in terms of the brain, negative thought patterns, and stress:
choosing to take action to interrupt these patterns can help get you back on the right track.
🌟 We didn't choose the lockdown pattern interrupter, but it has provided a fantastic opportunity to think about, and improve our work habits.
I have learned (or had confirmed):
💖 I am so much more productive, and calmer, with a TIME-BLOCKED ROUTINE.
I could never have balanced home schooling with my business without one.
(And actually the whole family has benefitted too...)
💖 With time at a premium, "RUTHLESS PRIORITISATION" has been my watchword.
I have really focussed not just on what I want to achieve, but also been careful to avoid taking on things that would have used up too much of my limited time (the "opportunity cost" of taking action).
And I've tried to work smarter, to minimise the time impact of tasks (such as replacing my normal long blogs with this weekly collection of "Positive Thoughts").
It's not just about what you DO, it's also about what you DON'T do, and HOW you do it...
💖 I have discovered a love for GROUP COACHING!
At the start of lockdown I launched a free weekly group coaching session for current and former clients (many of whom are key workers).
I would never have done this without my strong desire to help during this stressful and difficult time.
And it has been one of the highlights of my week: helping these amazing women support and learn from each other has been truly inspiring.
As a result, all regular attendees have agreed to continue with a paid monthly group, now lockdown is finishing; and I will be launching an additional group coaching service focussing on goal-setting, accountability and productivity.
🌟 Email me for more info/ to get on the waiting list: firstname.lastname@example.org.
🔥 Which lockdown work/ career habit will you continue? 😃
4. ✴️ WHAT SKILL HAVE YOU LEARNED DURING LOCKDOWN? ✴️
This challenging time has also been an opportunity to try out all sorts of new skills - some from necessity, some because we finally have the time!
I have learned how to:
🌟 make bread (rolls, pizza dough, naans)
🌟 operate Zoom for group coaching
🌟 do daily exercise (start your day with PE with Joe!)
🌟 fundraise for my charity at home
🌟 manage our food planning with only one weekly shop
🌟 help as many people as possible using my LinkedIn posts
🌟 use the lawnmower (better late than never...)
🌟 cut mine and my daughter's fringe
🌟 home school!
🌟 limit my news intake to healthy levels while staying informed
🌟 help my business to flourish in challenging times
🌟 and last but definitely not least, entertain my daughter for hours with only my hand and a funny voice as "Freddy the Dolphin".
I have loved all these new opportunities for learning, and I will be continuing all of them post lockdown.
With the possible exception of the lawn-mowing... 😉
🔥 What have you learned during lockdown? 😃
5. ✴️ WHICH LOCKDOWN *LIFE* HABIT WILL YOU CONTINUE? ✴️
One of my favourite songs has the line, "Stop the world, I want to get off".
That's how it has felt over the last few months:
our horizons have narrowed to our nuclear family, house, and garden (if we're lucky enough to have one).
💖 I have loved the slower pace.
Life has been very full, but there's been no rushing around to and from school, or clubs, or delivering training. It's a different type of "busy".
And I do love an "outing" - but I've realised I don't need them to be happy. I can be just as content pottering in the garden.
And I've given myself permission to do that for the first time in years (because after all, we can't go out...).
As a result, my veg garden is flourishing, which brings me a deep, calm joy.
💖 I've also loved the way we've pulled together as a family: all working as a team to keep us positive, learning, working, and having fun.
And helping make sure we all eat, and live in a clean house too...
💖 And finally, I have absolutely loved spending time with my daughter when I haven't been distracted at the beginning of the day, or tired at the end of the day.
I am more fun, more patient, and I get so much more out of our time together.
So once she's back at school, I will be saving some of my energy for her after school, rather than draining myself dry by the end of the day.
And to help me do this, there is one major habit I will continue after lockdown, which is accompanied by one major realisation:
Every day, after lunch, it's "Mummy's Break Time".
By this point, I've usually been on the go non-stop from 6am: Deep Work, LinkedIn posting and engaging, making breakfast, PE with Joe, homeschooling, work admin, making lunch, clearing up. And at 2pm I have my first client of the day.
So at 1.15pm, I disappear for half an hour: onto a sun-bed outside if it's warm, upstairs to my bedroom if not. I read a little, then I do my loving kindness guided meditation audio.
This habit has brought me so much peace, and so much joy. And it is an amazing re-charge for the afternoon ahead.
I will definitely be continuing it 💖
🌟 And the realisation: I have been able to stick to this habit because I have given it a specific place in my daily routine.
This has really underlined what I knew already:
✅ making an intention around a new habit won't work unless you also build it specifically into your routine.
When my daughter goes back to school, I will change my routine: I will finish my last client early enough to have my "Break Time" before I go for school pick-up.
I will give myself that moment to re-charge my batteries, and let go of the working day.
Then I will have the energy, and focus, to enjoy spending time with her.
🔥 Which lockdown life habit will you continue? 😃
✴️ CONCLUSION: LOCKDOWN LOVE ✴️
Looking back on the last three months, it has at times been very difficult, with emotional, financial and practical challenges.
But I can also remember so many magical moments of joy, fun and satisfaction.
🌟 I have learned so much about myself
🌟 I have re-connected with the wonder of family life
🌟 and I feel privileged that I've been able to support other people through this difficult time.
I know I haven't had anywhere near the challenges of some:
I haven't lost anyone to COVID-19; I haven't had my business collapse (thank goodness for working online already...); and I've been locked down in a nice house with a big garden and an enormous wood next door.
But I have also chosen to focus on the positives, wherever possible.