Be the change you want to see post COVID-19
Autumn is the ideal season to let go of old limitations, to let go and look inwards. This post contains some tips for creating a ‘new normal’ post COVID-19.
2020 was a time to batten down the hatches and survive the storm. It was also an opportunity to take stock of what was important to you. Moving forward, we can learn from the lessons of the pandemic. Those lessons will be different for each of us. The challenge is to acknowledge the losses, allow time to grieve and time to create a ‘new normal’.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “be the change you want to see happen” (Arleen Lorrance, 1974, often mis-attributed to Mahatma Gandhi). https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/10/23/be-change/
Lorrance was desperately unhappy while employed at a high school in The Bronx, New York. She kept on trying to change the system and other people until she realised, she was powerless to do so. Instead, she changed herself. She did this by letting go of her anger and negativity. She made an effort to be loving, caring and open. By changing herself she took control of her own happiness and flow-on effect was that the system and others changed. If you want to learn more about her approach, read her book The Love Project (1978). Or see this condensed set of some of the principles. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/10/23/be-change/
Back to Mahatma Ghandi. He is still a source of much inspiration on how to live a full life. In 1913 he expressed a similar idea to what Lorrance discovered. He said “if we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”
So, if we want the new post COVID normal to be different, we need to be different. What will your ‘new normal’ be post COVID-19?
What is the change you want to make? Each action you make towards that change can create a ripple effect and flow into other areas of your life. When in flow, others around you may come in sync, creating a universal flow. When we’re in flow, life is easier, more harmonious and more enjoyable.
Batten down the hatches
For many people, 2020 was a time to batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to pass. Whilst the pandemic appears to be mostly under control in Australia, the fallout from COVID-19 is expected for some time. People have lost loved ones, jobs, housing, and freedom to travel. Others are anxious about friends and family in other countries. As the storm settles in our country, we may be uncertain about the future and curious about what life will be like post COVID-19. Many people hope that the ‘new normal’ will be better than the old normal.
Learning from COVID’s lessons
What are your lessons from the pandemic? Did you discover strengths you didn’t know you had? Pleasures you didn’t know you would enjoy? Neighbours you hadn’t spoken to before? Or parts of your personality or others’ that were difficult to tolerate? You may have had time to re-evaluate your priorities. Or you may have been so busy treading water and trying to survive.
Dr Kamradt-Scott, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, considers the pandemic has created an opportunity “to reconsider how we want our society to operate and what we value as a society”. He is aware that “this has been traumatic on a number of levels”. His fear is that “in the process of trying to move past the trauma, we will forget the experience and the lessons of the pandemic.” He also expresses his hope that this will not be the case (news item by Inga Ting and Alex Palmer: One Hundred Days of the Coronavirus Crisis, ABC NEWS, 4 May 2020). https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/charting-100-days-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-in-australia/12197884?nw=0
Moving ahead, are there some learnings you’d like to take into the ‘new normal’? Are there other changes you’d like to make? It’s never too late to change. Be the change you want to see post-COVID.
Tips for creating a new normal post COVID-19
What will your ‘new normal’ look like post COVID-19? Think about the big picture. Then some particular changes you want to make.
Firstly, identify the change you want to make
- What specifically do you most want to change?
- Why is this important to you?
- What would your life be like if you could make this change?
- How would other people respond to this change? Will it be a good thing for their lives?
- Where would you start?
- Who could help you with this?
- When, ideally, would you start?
- Read further for ideas on how.
Secondly, what stops you from making this change?
Sometimes there may be competing needs. For example, if the change you want is to be more active but you also enjoy relaxing on the lounge, you need to make time for both. The old behaviour still has a function – to help you relax. You could either stay with that or find other ways to relax.
Another example might be if you’re contemplating making a big change. It may seem overwhelming because you don’t know where to start. Making a plan and chunking it down into bite-sized portions can help. So can asking others to talk through some of the issues.
Thirdly, let go of the things stopping you from creating a new normal post COVID-19
Regrets can sap your energy. Likewise, so can holding on to feelings like sadness, anger, fear and uncertainty. If you want to make change in your life, you need to process these feelings rather than ignore them. Ignoring them tends to make the feelings stronger. You may find it helpful to write down what you’re feeling, draw it, talk it and feel it in your body through physical activity. A counsellor may assist you with clearing something more stubborn to budge.
Fourthly, be open to new experience and perspectives
Once you’ve let go of anything holding you back, your mind will be clearer and more open to seeing new ways forward.
To help with this:
- Tap into your motivation for making this change. How will you feel when it’s happening in your life on a regular basis?
- Have a good plan and don’t take on too much.
- Use your strengths and learn any new skills required.
- Celebrate your achievements.
Finally, prepare for change
Learn from the pandemic lessons about how you responded to change. What did you need to survive? What made it possible to take on new things? Conversely, if you wished you had taken on new things, what would you have needed first? If you know you get stressed when you take on too much, make sure you have the space to make this change now. Free up some time and make a clear plan of small tasks. Timetable these.
Please contact me if you’d like some help to change some part of your life. I offer a professional life coaching and counselling service for individuals and couples. If you want to engage in one of my services, please explore my website further. Stay safe, stay well and be the change you want to see!