For all the pain and difficulty of COVID-19, it has at least one benefit: it interrupted us mindlessly moving through our days and gave us the time and space to reassess what’s really important. There is nothing like a pandemic or catastrophe to remind us that life is finite, each moment matters, and we should fill our moments with things that are important to us.
Here are four things I’ve come to realize while coaching clients during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- People matter more than things. Sure, we need the essentials, but most things don’t bring us joy the way spending time with the people we care about does. The thought of losing those who matter most to us has put into perspective the caliber of the relationships we have with those people. During the last few months, we’ve had the opportunity to refocus, rethink and redefine our relationships. How are you refocusing on your relationships? How are you reconnecting in a safe way with people who matter to you? Do the people in your life know how much they mean to you?
- We create – and own – our happiness. COVID-19 has reminded us that we can’t look to the outside world to be happy because in a moment, much of it can and was taken away from us. We still need to be happy in our lives, so that makes it abundantly clear that we must build the happiness from within. Sure, things will happen, but if this moment is truly the only moment that matters, then what are you doing to make it the happiest it can be – with whatever is available to you?
- Health is something we should never take for granted. So many of us have habits that don’t encourage a wise and healthy lifestyle. And, the moment things got tough because of COVID-19, many reverted to unhealthy habits to deal with the frustration, challenge and disappointment of the moment. Since COVID-19 is a heath-focused emergency, let it raise your focus on health to a higher priority. Assess your choices and if they are improving your current and longer-term health – physical, emotional and spiritual. Make time to sort through your challenging emotions to develop a practice of mindfulness or gratitude. Make time to be intentional about what and how often you eat to stay healthy enough to handle the mental challenges. Develop a stronger connection to your purpose to help you get up excited each morning, regardless of the challenges.
- Life doesn’t always go as planned, but it is still the best show in town. Most of us come to life with specific expectations and when they don’t happen, we are disappointed or aggravated. As we have come to realize with COVID-19, our days require us to focus on balance; some things work, some things don’t work. When we focus only on the things that don’t work, we miss the things that are currently working. We get out of balance. The more this happens, the more difficult is to actually see the good things. So, start each day with a blank page and line drawn down the middle. The left column is titled, What’s Working; the right column is titled, What’s Not Working. However many entries you have on the What’s Not Working side of the page, create as many for the What’s Working side. This will require you to focus more on the positive. As you start, you will see the plusses work to counterbalance the minuses.
Some people continually stop and observe what is going on to intentionally stay focused on what’s important. For others, it takes a COVID-19 moment. This is just your world giving you information – from which you have the opportunity to make wiser choices in the next moment.
In this moment of pause and reset, reflect on what is truly important to you. Define it. Be very familiar with is so you can now better assess how you use your time and resources to ensure they help you achieve or live what is important to you. Get in the habit of checking in daily and making small continual modifications. Staying tuned in will help you use the lesson of the pandemic to ensure your days are filled with moments of things that matters most to you.
By Jay Forte
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