The pandemic is causing change with a capital C. All businesses are in some way affected and scrambling to keep revenue flowing, serve customers, and manage employee payroll.
Some workers are doing 12 to 14-hour days, while others are furloughed and sitting at home worried about what comes next. Many are working remotely for the first time, experiencing loneliness or conversely, interruptions from kids who are out of school.
Everyone Is Feeling a Little Off Balance
The Coaching 4 Good Collective recently gathered and shared what is happening in our lives. As coaches, we are not different from any other group. We are experiencing:
- Confusion about whether to keep doing, producing, planning and working.
- Doubt about what we really should be doing with this time.
- Sadness about all the people who are sick, and about to be sick.
- Helplessness about how to effectively protect ourselves and family.
- Urgency about how to reach people we could help.
- Deep fatigue at facing tasks, even ones that are necessary.
- Mood swings between positivity and feelings of doom.
Look up depression and you’ll find that confusion, doubt, sadness, helplessness and wild swings of emotion are all a part of it.
No matter how matter-of-factly it is presented, the news is frightening. The scientific “facts” are sketchy at best, and recommendations keep changing. Depression is, frankly, a normal reaction. It’s actually inevitable.
While we are doing lots of things to keep ourselves physically well, emotional wellness can’t be left out. Consistent, daily actions can keep you feeling more positive while reducing the wild mood swings to more manageable, momentary feelings.
How Do You Keep Yourself Whole, Healthy and Emotionally Positive?
One practice that I rely on is ritual. Rituals can be religious, secular, practical or spiritual. Ritual is a sequence of activities involving words, gestures, actions and objects. It can be as profound as a religious ceremony, such as a wedding or the Catholic Mass. Or, it can be as simple as marking Friday as “Date Night.”
We love rituals because they are patterns of behavior on which we can depend. For example, if you ask anyone about their best childhood memories, they usually talk about rituals – patterns that repeat.
In my life, my mother had a special way of doing bedtime. First baths, then prayers: “God Bless mommy, daddy, etc.” Then, one great story book, read by my mother, with two little kids on each side, straining to see the pictures (we used to fight about who sat closest to mom).
Summers to Spin Cycles
During the summers, our family of eight rented a cabin for a week in a Backbone State Park. We didn’t have fancy suitcases, so my mother saved a grocery bag for each of us, with our first names in magic marker. She taught us how to pack our clothes methodically, and to this day, I still pack outfits in the same way.
The drive was only two hours and 45 minutes, but with six children in our station wagon, there were lots of “Are we there, yet?” questions. Mom always made a pan of brownies for the “long” trip. During the vacation, we swam in the lake by day, and my dad taught us to play poker by night. Yes, I’ve played poker since the age of four!
These rituals – the packing, the brownies, the poker—made the trip epic, fun and something to remember all our lives.
As a single mom, I provided rituals for my son. Every Wednesday night we would do laundry at the laundromat, because it was quicker than using the one machine in the apartment building. We started with TexMex at Taco John’s, which at that time in Iowa, was a new and novel kind of food. Using a stopwatch, we made a ritual of timing how fast we could do four loads of wash. It was a game to synchronize our actions and get done as soon as we could. Our best time: 1:33:15!
Creating Rituals Creates Comfort and Memories
Now, I see my son creating rituals for his young family. They have Friday Pizza Nights and Family Movie Nights. They have My Choice Birthdays, where the whole family does an activity the birthday person chooses. With shelter-in-place, they have added in Family Board Game Night.
You can also take an ordinary daily chore and create a ritual around it. I usually cook for my husband each night. When we are finished with the meal, he cleans up the kitchen and loads the dishwasher. My job is to put leftovers away and wipe down the counters. Doing this simple task together is companionable and comfortable. It feels reassuring that this part of our lives is just the same.
These special rituals create structure and comfort amid uncertainty, doubt and fear. Rituals can create positive memories that last a lifetime. All of us are being called upon now to creatively change our lives in the face of uncertainty. Consider bringing your own, created rituals into the mix.
Reflect on Emotional Balance
At Coaching 4 Good, we walk the talk. We look at our own doubts and fears and coach each other on what is possible. We learn new skills and techniques by collectively sharing our wisdom. We believe creative resolutions to the daily unfolding of challenges come from conversation.
We will continue to meet people where they are, without judgement, and support them in exploring every potential victory. As the Coaching 4 Good Collective, we continually discuss better ways to connect with our clients, engage with fellow coaches, deepen our community resources, and strengthen our families. Partner with us today to explore what is possible for you.
Catherine Jewell is a Career Coach for Coaching 4 Good, specializing in branding and job search. Visit her profile to learn more about her and book a session to get started on your career journey. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.