As we return to ‘normal’ after two years of living through a pandemic, life coach Kate Tilston shows us how to support ourselves through this next life transition.
As the world is opening up again and we all try to return to ‘normal’, I am having more and more conversations with clients about how exhausted they are feeling. So, I want to take you back to nearly two years ago when all our worlds stopped. Whoever you are, whatever you do or did, life changed. We had never experienced anything like it.
We lived in a state of anxiety and fear, we were asked to do things we never had to do before, we were frightened of what would happen to us, family, friends. We coped the best we could and some people didn’t cope. We each found our own ways of managing and we hung on by our fingernails.
Two years down the line we have learned to live with this virus. The fear has lessened considerably for some, not so much for others. Isn’t our brain remarkable that it processes these life-changing events to help us carry on?
My point is that although the virus seems more manageable, we are still dealing with so many things, whether it’s getting children back into the swing of regular school, returning to our offices, allowing ourselves to plan ahead and re-establishing some sort of social life. And you wonder why you’re exhausted?
Give yourself a break.
It is time to manage expectations, not just of others but of yourself. You are amazing, you are doing brilliantly, but you are NOT Superhuman.
As for all those social media posts where everyone seems to be embracing the winter months, cooking up delicious stews, going for bracing family walks and meeting up with friends in the pub, it’s highly unlikely that they are managing to do all of that – but it looks great on Instagram, doesn’t it?
How can you pace yourself?
Don’t over commit. As the invites start coming in, take time to work out what works for you and yours. You do not need to say yes to everything.
Manage family time. This is about handling the expectations of others. What can you manage? Is it the year to try a different approach? What will protect your energy?
During these gloomier months, plan how you will get exercise. Do you need to change your routine? Would you be better off changing your exercise regime during the darker months? After all, back in caveman times, we would have all hibernated over the winter months!
Meal plan. I know it sounds like a chore but planning meals and batch cooking can take a lot of pressure off those evenings, particularly during the week.
Stop trying to be all things to all people. Sometimes we must take care of ourselves first. You know when they give the safety demonstration in the plane before take-off and tell us to make sure we fit our own oxygen masks first before helping others? Sometimes you have to do that in life. You have to make sure you are okay for everyone else to be okay.
Find pockets of time. It doesn’t have to be a whole day of pampering. Sometimes finding 10 minutes in the day to take a short walk, switch off with a book, or have a cup of tea sitting away from your work and chores can help top up energy levels.
Recognise that you are allowed to take time out and give yourself permission to do exactly that. Running on empty will not help anyone, least of all you, so give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself, applaud yourself for surviving the last 20 months and listen to what your mind and body need right here, right now.