The announcements on Monday about coming out of lockdown are heartening. It feels like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that we have hope of returning to social activity, and that we can begin what will inevitably be a long period of recovery. For the first time in what feels like forever, we can begin to plan, albeit with many many contingencies.
We do have to manage our expectations though. There are no guarantees and we will probably be disappointed again at some point so let’s not set our hearts on specific dates if we can help it, but we have a map through this. Simply, we need to make contingency plans and we need to do that with our emotions and home lives as well as our social plans, work, sport, culture, finances, families…. The list goes on and that’s one of the things that has been so deeply challenging about this global pandemic. It’s all the unknowns and the millions of versions of plans A-Z that we have had to dream up to try and feel on top of what’s going on.
The more I think about it, the more I can feel my blood pressure rise and the guilt pile on. Why couldn’t I make that birthday party/social event/return to work happen? Why is everyone else coping so well and I’m not? Why do I still feel unhealthy, unfit, unworthy? Why are my plans constantly being thwarted?
This pandemic has impacted everyone so much and in every possible way. Yes, there are positives but the negatives and the challenges and the constant changing of parameters is seriously hard work. So my first point is this – You’ve got this (even if it doesn’t feel like it) and you’re doing a great job at being the best you possible in these circumstances. Even when you look at other people’s profiles or social media feeds, remember that everyone has days (even weeks?) at 10% when the MVP is the best it’s gonna get. And that’s ok. Living at MVP is a success.
Which brings me to my second point – perfection is impossible and very definitely unsustainable so stop judging yourself. Personally, I am adopting a few of the practices developed through the pandemic as part of my MVP moving forwards. By this I mean that I shall continue to wear a work top and pyjama bottoms for work calls on occasion. Being comfortable enables me to perform to my best and it impacts on nobody but me (so nobody else cares about it).
And lastly, in this pandemic, I have realised that my anxiety manifests itself in planning and being prepared and this “need to plan” has become infinitely more detailed as lockdowns have progressed. Please note this is not a need to stick to the plan, just a need to prepare. So my third point is – continue to build your ability to plan dynamically. That is, create a plan, prioritise it, brief the team/family on the plan, prepare contingency options and don’t be afraid to let it all go if circumstances change. This is a skill that event managers are brilliant at and I consider it one of my superpowers but it takes practice!
So there is a dim light at the end of the tunnel, a glimmer of hope. Let’s do everything we can do keep moving towards it. (Not in the “walk into the light” sense…., although I do hope to see you on the other side!)