Be Kind. To Yourself.

Be Kind. To Yourself.

It’s now nearly two months since lockdown started …

Are you fluent in Spanish yet? How about those online guitar lessons? And are those DIY jobs ticked off your to-do list?

No, me neither.

I do have a few small achievements under my belt (sourdough bread anyone?) but I was supposed to have done so much more by now, which causes me little knots of stress.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

We’ve been hard-wired to think that success (and happiness) comes from constantly working towards our goals. And then, when we achieve these goals, rather than relaxing and enjoying our achievements, we create more goals – constantly moving the finish line further into the distance, always out of reach.

And so in March, when the universe pressed the pause button on life for many of us, these patterns and behaviours led us towards creating a completely new set goals. Sure, many of them were fun activities, but were we approaching them with the right mindset? Were we allowing ourselves to relax and enjoy the moment, or were we in ‘complete and finish’ mode with half an eye on the next thing on our to-do list?

Keeping busy can be a great distraction, but there’s no getting away from it: these are stressful times. We all need to take time to process the huge changes that are happening in the world and in our lives. Because if we don’t, the anxiety bubbles up like a pressure cooker, and that’s never good for our mental health. I know I’m not the only one who sometimes hits a wall.

I’m grateful to my daughter who keeps me company at home. Last week she made me a batch of brownies as she knows they’re my favourite. And phone chats and zoom calls with clients, colleagues and friends have also provided me with much-needed human interaction and ‘water cooler moments’. In fact, all this has strengthened many of my working relationships as the lines between work and home life have blurred, so there’s less office politics, more authenticity, empathy and friendship.

Of course, there’s no rule book for this unprecedented situation. We’re all figuring things out in our own ways. It’s been wonderful to see the random acts of human kindness that have lifted our spirits (see my last blog post for some personal examples) but perhaps we all need to learn to be kinder to ourselves.

So how are you feeling today?

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week, maybe it’s time to jump off the treadmill for an hour or two and do something that would simply make you feel happy right at this moment.

Work can wait. And so can everything on your lockdown to-do list.

If you need me, leave a message, because for the next hour, I’ll be sitting in the garden with a Magnum that I found down the back of the freezer.

Which reminds me … Note to self … Add ‘defrost freezer’ to my to-do list.

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