Staying Steady in Uncertain Times – Some Tips and Tricks that Might Work for You. I was inspired to take this article on a different track whilst I was recently speaking in an interview about my daily practices and their impact in my life and business. It was a provocative conversation, one that I thought worthy of bringing to this community.
Many of us, even if things look “normal” on the outside, may be experiencing a general malaise or feeling a sort of stagnation under the spectre of a global pandemic and its “aftermath”… if we ever get there!
For myself, this past year has felt a bit like a blur. Honestly, it was hard to resist the story in my mind that much of the year was “lost time” – as if nothing really moved forward. I had trouble at times staying motivated and engaged with various projects that I had going or even feeling inspired to stay with or ignite anything new.
One tool that was really helpful in catapulting me out of this occasional melancholy, was taking an inventory at year’s end of what I had accomplished over the previous twelve months. It was so illuminating and uplifting to take stock and actually see on paper that I had not been sitting on my thumbs during the various lockdowns, viral-scares and curtailed plans! I highly recommend taking stock of all that the last year brought and what you actually accomplished. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Often, when we feel like we’re in survival mode, we don’t realise until after the urgency is passed, that we have really achieved a lot more than we may have realised.
There are other tools that I have used that have really helped make this year extraordinary and kept me in motion.
One of these was volunteering. I have useful skills and there are causes that I wish to support with my time and energy, which can be more meaningful than just writing a cheque. Because I was willing, I gravitated towards a few projects this year that allowed me to be of service in new ways than I had ever contributed before. I even got to shepherd one of the largest deals I’ve ever worked on as the point person, through to conclusion. It was incredible to look back on that experience and celebrate how much I received, vastly more than I contributed, for a job well-done.
Of course, regular exercise was a helpful tool that kept me active and energised, even when things looked quiet. It seems obvious, but sometimes a concerted effort has to be made to stay with it. I know this well because while I was very consistent for most of the year. In the fall, I became occupied with a move to a new home and my consistency suffered. That move not only got me out of my regular routine but also taxed my body more than usual, so I took some time away from swimming and hiking, which I was doing at least 5-6 days a week for many years. Now, I’m having to re-initiate these long-standing habits, without beating myself up about taking the time away.
Finally, and for me, most importantly, I have a regular yoga and meditation practice that I can credit for keeping me even, focused and at ease no matter what is happening in my world. I was a regular practitioner and even a part-time yoga teacher many years ago, so I have always seen the value of the yoga that I was exposed to and practiced then, even if I didn’t maintain a regular practice over the last years, since I’d first been introduced to it.
Staying steady in uncertain times
Meditation, however, was something that I tried here and there but it never really took. I never found guidance or a practice that resonated with me. And let’s face it, for many of us high-achievers, it is just really hard to sit still! Just prior to the start of the pandemic, though, I did find a program and practice that resonated with me, one that I have deepened into and that I turn to every day, before I move into my work and other activities. I can attribute my ability to manage evenly whatever is happening (my elderly mother becoming more and more incapacitated, brushes with Covid, supply-chain issues…need I go on?…) to the fact that I meditate every day. I can stay peaceful and in equanimity in most situations and even when I stray, I can come back rather smoothly just by staying committed to my practice. Now, I can look back on a year that was fraught with a lot of uncertainty and know that no matter what, I am alright and in motion.
What works for you?