Your most important tool right now is your mindset
With everything going on, I felt it was important to reach out and let you know that I am here for you. What’s happening is not a normal “now you’re working from home”, it’s “now you’re working from home during a pandemic.” Things are different and if you want to read more about coaching online, I’ve added a list at the end about how I can help you.
During this time, your mindset will be the most important tool you have. Did you know that the Ancient Greeks had two words for time? There’s Chronos, which is objective time. The time of the clock and the linear movement of history; one-hour today is the same one-hour last year. And then there’s Kairos. This is subjective. A specific time, perhaps the right time; it’s a feeling that distinguishes one hour from another.
I think it’s safe to say that for many people, the time of COVID-19 has a taste of Kairos. It feels different. Many people are unsettled, and their lives feel off. A week ago, feels much longer than just last week. And the world today is almost unrecognisable. I’m sure you, and everyone in your life, has had a version of the last two weeks feeling different, like something uncontrollable has changed. The last few weeks have felt… crazy. Only time will tell what this crisis will be like in another week, or a month.
Time is as much about mindset as it is about the actual hours. Stressful times like this can really make us start thinking a bit more reflectively about time, as if we are standing with one foot in and one foot out. Has anyone else felt that this week and the one before have stretched on for forever? It’s a strange thing about the human brain; during emergencies and panic survival instincts, time slows down. You see every detail within that moment.
It’s like how kids feel about Christmas. When I was a kid, I remember thinking that it was sooooooooooooooooooo far away. That it couldn’t come soon enough and the Christmas break felt like a year. I feel it’s because kids are sooooooooooooooooooo excited about the presents and the surprise. They’ve only experienced a few Christmases so it’s all still new. Every moment is being captured and processed by their brain because it can’t shortcut for them. It’s not trying to fill in what it already knows. Whereas for an adult, Christmas seems to come quicker and quicker each year. Our days are so busy that we don’t want to have every moment analysed so minutely by the brain. We find ways to copy and paste, to find more shortcuts.
With our current situation, it makes sense that the brain is freaking out a bit and slows things down. Frame by frame, to ensure it gets all the information and doesn’t misstep. It’s like our physical brain, the beautiful squidgy awesomeness that it is, is taking care of our mindset.
I find that oddly comforting. Thanks squidgy brain!
But the one thing that is not comforting, is the overwhelming and unsettling fear of not knowing. With something so new like COVID-19, you don’t know how long you’re going to be in this situation. While I don’t have all the answers, or even 5% of them. I do believe it’s helpful to think back to scary situations you’ve been able to get through. Maybe a medical emergency, or the bushfires, or drought, or flood – wow 2020 has been a year! Whatever it is, think back; how did you pull through it? How did you turn “Ahhh what is happening!!” to “Okay. What do I need to do? How can I keep going?”. How did you turn into your own superhero and get through it?
For my moment, I can think of three times in my life when I felt similar to how I feel these days. A somewhat out of body experience but also still plodding along within the situation. I’m taking moments from my day to explore how I returned to the now. How I was able to feel connected to my body and keep going. I know you’ll pull through this too. Everything is a lesson learnt and will value add to your life in some way or another. It might not be obvious now but later; it will come to light.
Here’s a little bit of homework for you: for the next 7 days: every morning take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. Slow the moment down a bit so you feel a bit more control. And if you need someone to help you, you have my email.
Here’s some lists of things to turn your brain off for a bit, or make it feel even more:
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Alan Singer
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Julie and Julia
- The Lego Movie
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- When Harry Met Sally
- The Princess Bride
For information on how your brain alters time, check these articles out: https://buffer.com/resources/the-science-of-time-perception-how-to-make-your-days-longer
With many of us at home, now’s the time to look around and rediscover what’s already in your possession that you can engage with. This article, written prior to Covid-19, dives into the topic. https://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/
Another from Raptitude.com about making the most of what’s in your pantry: https://www.raptitude.com/2020/03/the-pantry-project/
Write a letter to your future self so you can reflect back on how the current moment feels – http://futureme.org/
Need a 2-minute break? http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/
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