Really, how are you? Take a moment to breathe in and check in with yourself. Breathe in. And breathe out.
What’s the main emotion you’re feeling? What thoughts do you have about yourself and your life these days? What comes up when you allow yourself to really be in the moment?
Tapping into a Feeling
Sometimes it’s hard to recognize an emotion. It can seem more familiar to notice what we’re doing and thinking rather than feeling. And other times we notice a feeling and immediately judge, rationalize, or dismiss it away.
Just be with yourself and feel what’s going on. Breathe it in. And breathe out.
We’ve been soldiering through the pandemic for over a year now. Amidst the suffering and losses, though, many of us have remained healthy, enjoyed access to loved ones and resources, and have fared well.
But it’s still hard. I often feel tired. What continues to surprise me is that I’m anxious about our social lives getting back to normal. Crazy, right? I miss in-person time with family and friends terribly. And I miss social gatherings and events. Yet I’ve gotten used to being home a lot and not socializing as much.
Public Events with Safety Precautions are Happening
A few days ago I saw an article about an indoor rock concert in Barcelona. The Spanish rock band Love of Lesbian performed for 5000 people. Every attendee had a same-day negative COVID-19 test and was required to wear a high-quality mask provided by the concert organizers. Learning of this made it easier to imagine that soon we’ll all be attending concerts and other public gatherings.
More vaccinations and the warmer weather add to this reality.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
I love social gatherings, concerts, theater, and lectures. But once the option is there, sometimes I fear I have to participate even if I don’t feel like it. Or worse, I’ll think “everyone else” is having fun at events except me. Talk about cranking up the anxiety!
I remind myself it’s not so. I can go to events when I want and join “everyone else” if I choose. There’s a time and place for everything.
Life in Lockdown
I’m an introvert and, like many during the pandemic, have welcomed more time for yoga and reading. I use my blow dryer and make up less often. We got a beach house on Cape Cod and spend a lot of time there. I sleep more. I enjoy having more time with my kids (even if much of that time is them being in their bedrooms with the door closed!). And we’re in a routine at home that includes nightly cooking, things like delicious beef bibimbap, perfect turkey chili, unbelievably good spaghetti Bolognese, and awesome grilled whole striped bass. Yum!
Also, I’ve greatly expanded my work as a life coach. While many people know me as a practicing physician, not as many friends and colleagues know I’ve been a life, nutrition, and wellness coach since 2001. It’s been incredibly rewarding to meet and connect with more people in the thriving and supportive life coaching community, and really fun to share my work with clients as I’ve ramped it up.
Happy and Fulfilled
So these days I identify mostly as an avid yoga enthusiast, reader, mom, chef, life coach & business owner, power sleeper, part-time beach resident, home body, and curly-haired woman. Yes, there have definitely been emotional and practical challenges during the pandemic for all of us. Yet I’ve also been happy and fulfilled.
I’m Still Me
What happened to the person who went to concerts and lectures, did a lot of medical work, saw family and friends often, spent time dressing up and enjoying Boston city life, and hosted lots of dinners, outdoor barbecues, and wine and cheese parties?
She’s still in me. Just not front and center. And that’s OK.
We Always Have Choices
When we all emerge from pandemic isolation, I don’t want to force myself into who I was when we left off. But I wonder, will I still embrace the elements of the “me” I’ve become during the pandemic once things get back to normal?
I know the answer: yes, I can definitely continue to be me even as we get reacquainted with one another in social and public settings.
I don’t have to give up the joy and meaning in things, people, and experiences that have come to greatly energize me. And I can resume prior activities at a pace I choose.
The Gifts of Self-Love
One of the main lessons of the pandemic is the importance of taking care of myself so I have more to give to others and all that I want to do. Self-care, self-compassion, and self-love have increased productivity, joy, generosity, peacefulness, and love in all areas of my life. For me and for others.
Notice How You Feel
Reflect on what it’s been like for you during the pandemic. What is the story you tell yourself about how you and your life have evolved? The story you tell yourself will set the stage for how you will be when we welcome post-pandemic life.
Choose what serves. Let go of the rest. Actively decide what you want your life to be and take steps to make it happen. What you put your attention on will manifest. Trust me.
Breathe. Be with yourself. Notice how you’re feeling. And be sure you’re being you, curly hair and all if that’s you 🙂