It’s OK if you have lost confidence and feel dazed and uncertain. Clawing your way out of your Covid Rut will not be easy but it can happen, writes Sarah Doyle
Things have been tough (really tough) since the COVID 19 restrictions were introduced in March. It took me a long time to process, digest and adapt to my new reality. In many ways, I am still processing, digesting and adapting.
I spent the previous lockdown taking things very slow. I didn’t put any pressure on myself. I pressed the pause button.
I needed a motherly like compassion that would help me when I felt lost, hopeless and anxious. I needed what Kristin Neff and Chris Germer (academics in mindful physcology) have described as yin compassion; a passive energy that involves “being with” my feelings.
Covid-19 was the roadblock I didn’t see coming but with loving- kindness, I gave myself permission to be with my feelings and really feel them. I enjoyed the slower pace of living. I baked banana bread and soda bread. I walked, decorated the house and binge watched my favourite Netflix programmes. Twice! Nevertheless, the boredom slowly crept into my life and I began to feel stuck in a rut.
When lockdown 2.0 was announced, I felt like I arrived at a pass. Should I continue to with my slow pace or shake things up?
To avoid putting pressure on myself, I could take the path of least resistance. I could bake more banana bread and continue to watch reruns of reruns. Or I could slowly begin to coach myself out of my rut by walking the slippery slope towards happiness and fulfilment.
To coach yourself means to identify what you want and how you can get there. We do this by building self-awareness and self-reflection. The objective being to get you un-stuck so that you can take charge of your problems and maintain control of your own life.
The time has come to stand up and claw your way out of this rut with the same fierceness a Mama Bear would protect her cubs.
The show must go on.
Clawing your way out of your Covid Rut will not be easy but it can happen. I don’t want you to fall into the trap of thinking that kindness for ourselves means doing nothing or that motivation can only happen when we are tough and mean, whipping ourselves with a stick when we make a mistake.
Motivation that comes from a place of kindness, support and love will far outweigh the kind of motivation that comes from criticism and judgement.
This form of self-compassion, the yin to Neff’s and Germer’s yang, is an active energy that relies on us to be proactive. Yang self-compassion will help us to find the strength that we need to face this challenging time head on!
Sometimes the greatest kindness that we can show ourselves is the courage to stand up and put one foot in front of the other.
It’s OK if you have lost confidence and it’s OK if you feel dazed and uncertain. That’s what I am here for. I want to show you how you can coach yourself out of your Covid rut with three simple steps.
Step 1: Pause
Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down these three questions.
- What do I need to help me move forward?
- How can I encourage myself today?
- What can I do to help others as well as myself?
These questions, and their answers, provide the pillars of living a more self-compassionate life and will encourage you to process your feelings in a kind, balanced and proactive way. Whenever you feel badly about yourself or whenever you struggle, answer these questions.
After all, life coaching isn’t therapy. It’s product development and you are the product! These questions are your bubble wrap!
Step two: Understanding your vision
Once you have these questions answered, I would like you to think about your future – it could be 3 months, 12 months or 5 years from now, it’s up to you - and ask yourself what do you want?
That promotion? A new job? A relationship? Work life balance?
Often, my clients will have no idea what they want. Their lack of clarity combined with trying to live, work and parent in a global pandemic have made them feel uncertain and overwhelmed. If this is you, I totally get it.
Let’s go slow! Start by asking yourself “How do you want to feel?” Happy? Self-assured? At peace? Rested?
Step 3: Setting your goals
Ok, if you are now clear on what you want to feel: it’s time to align your behaviours with this. This often means doing less of one thing and more of another thing e.g. stop asking people for their opinions and start having more confidence in your choices and beliefs. Trust your gut!
Start by setting small, achievable goals! They will help you move forward and boost your confidence. If you stumble along the way and your everyday actions are bringing you further and further away from your goals and how you to feel, simply pause, reflect and reassess.
Remember what Dr. Russ Harris said, the author of The Confidence Gap said; "the actions of confidence come first, and the feelings of confidence come second!" So, above all else have courage and be kind to yourself.
As we continue to adapt to our new and changing reality, it’s important that you do what’s right for you. But remember if what you have been doing up until now hasn’t been working, it’s time to change the record.