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Niamh Ennis: ‘Who do you want in your social distancing circle?’

23rd Mar 2020

Social distancing gives us an opportunity to decide who we really want in our (virtual) social circle, writes Niamh Ennis 

I’m finding it increasingly hard to know what to write about these last few days. It’s not a case of being careful about what I’m saying, but it’s more a case of knowing that I myself have not been able to process all that is happening so I’m not at all sure how to communicate that. I’m learning, though, that this isn’t uncommon.

In truth, think I felt that as a Transformation Coach, I should have had more answers than I do, but I realised that as an empath, someone who is highly sensitive to the energy emitted from others, that this current cocktail was proving even more challenging than I could overcome.

I’m seeing so much noise in the media, both on traditional and social, some of it helpful and some of it, well, the opposite.

I’m noticing some of what I’m seeing on social media, in particular, is actually triggering me. It’s making me feel more than a little uneasy. Yet while I know that I have the tools to bounce back from these triggers I am genuinely concerned for those who don’t.

I even thought about encouraging you all to spend less time on social media but I also am aware that it is what connects us all and so that doesn’t feel right either. But what I want each of you to know is that it is okay to not feel okay, but it is also okay to want just to retreat into yourself and feel sad and feel worried and overwhelmed.

In the first few days after the schools closed, I floundered. I really did not know what to make of everything that was going on.

I am seeing too many people trying to rally the troops saying ‘this is your time to write that book, to do that marathon, learn a new language in five days’ but I think we need to acknowledge that because we have not been here before, we can’t possibly know HOW to react.

In the first few days after the schools closed, I floundered. I really did not know what to make of everything that was going on. I couldn’t even begin to fathom what the implications might be for my own business or for the jobs and livelihoods of those that I love either. The uncertainty around the place is palpable and I started to feel very anxious and extremely overwhelmed.

I even found it hard to sit still and meditate or to journal. Things that had become very much part of my everyday routine now felt a little alien to me. This didn’t last I’m glad to report but the fact that it happened was enough to bother me.

Therefore, being put under pressure to ‘do’ stuff, being told to be ultra-productive, I’m finding to be really unhelpful.

Yes of course we should all make sure we get out into the fresh air a few times a day, even for short bursts, but please don’t feel under pressure to do anything that you just don’t feel like doing. Set your own pace, stay in your own lane and ignore what everyone else is suggesting or telling you, you should do. They are not you!

I set myself baby steps, and now a few days in, my ability to focus on my work has returned, I’m working away creating free content in a bid to help others. I’m even holding a free online workshop on April 4th (details on how to join below), I’m sitting back and waiting to see what feels right for me to do next, rather than being told what to do.

One thing that I have found myself observing more closely, are the people I’m choosing to be around me.

I know that what we are all processing is difficult. It’s so hard to know just what we are feeling or even what to do with it. And that’s just it. Let the message be that you don’t need to do anything. Because you don’t. You don’t need to do anything that doesn’t feel right in this moment.

One thing that I have found myself observing more closely, are the people I’m choosing to be around me. Not physically but in my virtual circle. I have found this to be the most interesting part of the last few weeks and will continue to monitor this over the coming weeks and months.

This new era of social distancing is teaching us to stay apart from each other physically, so what a perfect time to consider where we might also need to introduce personal and emotional space?

Never has it felt more appropriate and more relevant to think about WHO we want in our circle and also who we don’t!

Maybe these few questions will prompt you to start thinking…

Who are you spending the most time communicating with since you started social distancing?

Who is bringing you the most joy?

Who are you missing being able to see?

Who are you a little relieved to have a break from seeing?

Who did you find yourself worrying about? Who reached out to you?

Who did you expect to hear from but didn’t? Who asked you were you okay?

Who told you that they were missing you? Who are you listening to?

Given everything that is happening all around us in the world currently, it is a very good time for us to reflect on those we hold dear, those who belong in our inner circle.

It’s also a perfect time for us to ask, how are we protecting ourselves, how are we loving and honouring ourselves and our needs so that we can then in turn honour those in our lives who really need us?

What is becoming apparent is the reshuffling of what matters in our lives, and more importantly WHO matters. Our focus is shifting to thinking about looking out for each other, about community; it’s about giving love and receiving love. It’s about surrendering and supporting.

Right now, I only want to be around people who feel the same as I do, who respect one another, who are there for each other, who know when to give space and when to offer support. These are my people.

Make sure you find yours.

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading transformation coach www.niamhennis.com, working with women who are living with changes in their lives.

She is hosting a free online workshop called ‘Time to come home to you’ which takes place on Saturday April 4th, 2020. This will be a day full of nourishment for your mind and soul with Niamh sharing her tools on how to manage the changes that are happening in our lives today.

To register your interest, just click here  or email [email protected]

Read more: How understanding the 5 stages of grief can help you through the coronavirus outbreak

Read more: Working from home, homeschooling AND trying to keep the peace? Here’s how other mums are managing

Read more: Dr Doireann O’Leahy: ‘People are confusing social distancing with self-isolation’