Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
Given the times we’re living through since the pandemic started, I’m writing about something different this month: reader experiences. After all, I do write about resiliency and how to create a healthy and holistic life that despite what else is happening, provides rituals that can see you through, no matter what.
During the past six months many family members, friends, and readers have shared with me what they’ve been experiencing and how they are doing. All the sharing gave me a unique lens and I do appreciate the trust so many have in me. It’s an honor and a privilege.
So while I will of course keep personal details out of this newsletter, here’s what I can share about what readers are experiencing during this time.
It’s hugely different for everyone. The experiences people are having fall across a wide spectrum. I’ve learned from hearing how others are coping, and I’m hoping this will be food for thought for you all as well.
For some people this has been a time of incredible growth and change. They’re clearly thriving. Naturally they’d prefer not having the coronavirus situation, but they’re adapting well to it. Some have shifted careers and some have shifted businesses leaning into new opportunities.
Some are really enjoying deeper connections with their relationship partners and families at home. Others are appreciating the solo time to themselves. And still others are seeing this as a good time to dive deeply into various creative projects.
Many people seem to be doing a good job of directing their focus during this time, putting their attention on what they want while also acknowledging new constraints.
On the other end of the spectrum, others are being hit really hard. They’ve lost their jobs, or their businesses have dried up. Some are depressed. Some are sinking deeper into debt. Their situations are unstable, their prospects aren’t looking good, and they expect things to get worse before they get better.
Most people are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. They’ve had to make some adjustments, but they’re coping with this situation pretty well. They’re neither thriving nor sinking but are holding their own and doing their best to wait this out. Many look forward to being able to do more of what they miss, like getting together with friends or traveling. The perspective that this is a highly unusual situation but also a temporary one seems to be a lens and framework that helps many people cope.
Some people have written off 2020 as a crappy year. Others are doing the opposite by seeing 2020 as a very different kind of year and as an invitation to explore other aspects of personal growth.
One other common thread is that this situation puts a strain on relationships. Some relationships are cracking under that pressure while others are growing stronger because of it.
I’m grateful that from what I can tell, most of our Joyinmovement community and their families haven’t been physically affected by the virus, but some have gotten sick and recovered. Others suspected they had it earlier but never got tested. For sure a few have lost people they know because of it, or they’re still greatly concerned about someone they know.
For most though, the experience has been more about adjustments to work, lifestyle, finances, and social life.
People’s attitudes and resiliency under stress are very different. Some people are financially crashing, but attitude-wise they’re still fine. They’re handling problems as they arise, and they still see plenty to be grateful for.
I’ve rarely heard so many people talk about the importance of gratitude and appreciation during this time. They’re managing their focus well.
I feel it’s safe to say that we all feel squeezed by the situation.
Some are rising to the challenge, and they’re feeling more empowered than before. They remain positive, passionate, and even excited about the future. Others feel more down by what’s happening both personally and in the world. Many are upset that their plans for the year have been demolished.
It really does matter which lens you choose when viewing the coronavirus situation.
One I find helpful is to see the situation through the lens of character sculpting. In this way we think about what kind of character we want to showcase during these times. This helps many keep their focus on what they could/can do.
If over the years you’ve been doing personal development work this situation feels like a big test of that. Don’t you think?
Now is the time to put all those mental, emotional, and healthy living tools to good use. If your tools are good and you’ve learned them well, they can really help you keep your mood positive and your focus productive. If your tools are weak or impractical or you haven’t gotten into the habit of using them, now is a good time for assessing and perhaps refocusing on what’s in your toolbox.
Sometimes the most useful tools are the most basic.
My #1 tools for staying positive during this time are the same ones I’ve been using before this situation. My morning routines are priceless, my movement rituals and exercise stayed steady, and my fine-tuned diet did not waiver. Cardio exercise reigns supreme for its proven mood-boosting effects. It’s such a terrific stress reliever.
Humor, play, and laughter help a lot!
One friend told me the audiobooks he listens to while running are great mood-boosters as well, especially if they’re funny. One of his recommendations is Kevin Smith’s Tough Sh*t: Life Advice From a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good. It’s crazy and fun and read by Kevin himself. I’ve been a fan of Smith’s movies so I may give this book a read. Not your type of humor? No matter. Find what makes you laugh and engage and enjoy!
Are you still taking time for play and fun? Are you still engaging with what you love? Or are you using the virus as a reason to disconnect? I hope not. Remember that the game of life doesn’t end just because there’s a pandemic.
My personal framing and lens on the virus situation is mostly that it’s a challenge. It’s a test of what I think I know and how I live and spend my time and energy. Sometimes life speaks to me and says, “Okay, Shelli Smartypants, let’s see how you handle the most unimaginable world crisis.”
Life wants to see how we handle such challenges. Can we keep our wits about us? Can we dodge the upsets, fight back with the fridge door calling us inside every 15 minutes, wrestle with the media fighting for our attention, and learn to share that kitchen table which has now become our workplace?
We’re all challenged by this situation differently. I hope by sharing some of what I’ve noticed about how others are coping, as well as putting my own spin on these trying times, you’ve perhaps had some new insights as to your own situations.
I certainly welcome any feedback from you, wonderful readers and loyal fans of Joyinmovement!
Stay healthy, stay strong in your resolve to continue on your personal development journey, and stay in touch!