Pour yourself a cup of your favorite autumn beverage, settle into your seat, and let’s dive in.
Today is November 18, 2020. The deadly and devastating COVID-19 pandemic churns through communities, families and dismantles lives all over the globe. The long-overdue public outcry and the protest of systemic racial injustice in the United States and around the globe shines a bright light on the work we all have yet to do to make this country live up to its promise of “created equal.” The U.S. election is all-but over, except for challenges, state certifications, and the electoral college doing their thing. Wow. It’s been a year. And, there are still six weeks to go.
The losses this year have been ginormous (that’s still a word, right?). Loss of life. Loss of jobs. Loss of community. Loss of health. Loss of education. Loss of security. Loss of support. And maybe even loss of hope on the hardest days.
I don’t know about you, but there were days when I floundered in a haze trying to stay vertical at least until bedtime. The smallest thing that never bothered me before set my teeth grinding and my blood boiling. My anxieties over the coronavirus, becoming truly(finally?) ‘woke’ to racial injustices and my privilege, fighting with my 1st-grader to ‘do some damn schoolwork already,’ and what felt like a lot of other piled-on crap chipped away at my overall wellbeing and my usual positivity.
But, my desire to not stay in despair was greater than my lethargy-inducing fear. My desire to help others who were experiencing the same things was greater than my desire to stay curled in a ball under the blankets. When I looked around, I recalled Mr. Rogers’ famous line about looking for the helpers. And, I saw I wasn’t the only one struggling to find ways to help. I leaned into the relationships that were sanity-sustaining. I gave myself permission to feel the feels, cry the tears, educate myself, and then ‘get back on the horse’ -a new one.
I returned to the practices that nourished my heart, mind, body, and soul. I wrote in my gratitude journal and meditated regularly. Even though I was recovering from ACL replacement, I did what I could to move my body more every day. I wrote poetry. I started having hard and good talks with the kiddo about race. I stopped pressuring myself (and my kid) about online schooling. I reminded myself to stop sweating the small stuff -and, so much of it was truly small stuff.
After engaging in those activities and mindset shifts for several days, I noticed feeling more positive. I felt a peaceful, buzzing energy running through my veins. I felt I had a charged-up battery again. I noticed I showed up more often in the ways my clients, my family, my friends, my colleagues, and my team needed me to. Of course, it wasn’t all roses and rainbows. I still feel sad, frustrated, angry, lonely, and ineffective. But, those moments are now the exception instead of the rule.
For all the hard stuff of 2020, I see 2021 coming around the bend. I feel hopeful for the new year. With news of effective vaccines, I hope to hug my dad again, who’s been in a local Veteran’s Home during the pandemic. I hope to keep showing up for the people who come into my life. I know for that to happen, I have to keep putting on my own oxygen mask first.
And that’s my hope for you. I hope you put on your own oxygen mask first. Fill your own cup first. Between now and 2021, what do you need to reset so you become your priority? What do you need less of; what do you need more of? Here’s the thing. If you don’t rest, recharge, and revive before the end of the year, then you will carry a tired-ass carcass across the finish line of 2020 and into next year.
The world, your tribe, needs the best version of you. YOU deserve the best version of yourself.
Give yourself that gift between now and January 1.
Your wise-future self will thank you…