Updated: Jun 10, 2020
With the recent lifting of restrictions, many of us are, understandably, focussing on looking forwards and planning our new normal, but before we plough on, perhaps take a moment to reflect on what this lockdown has taught us about our priorities, relationships and professional lives.
This enforced time at home has been incredibly unique in so many ways. None of us had planned for this and for most of us, the abrupt change to our everyday routines has been challenging as we adjust to a smaller life. For many of my clients, it’s been a rollercoaster of feelings – from gratitude to stress and anxiety to joy. But as we move into a new period, a time of reflection, this time, for a lot of us, has given us valuable insights into our behaviours, resilience level and coping strategies in time of flux.
So, before we rush into the next stage of our new normal, I’ve posed a few questions that might help you identify what you want to focus, change or indeed keep about this new situation.
How is the new normal working or not working for you?
A good idea here is to list the pros and cons of your current situation - honestly. For example, are you enjoying being at home more, cooking more or spending more time with the family? Alternatively, perhaps you are struggling with the lack of ‘you’ time, uncertainty of the future in terms of finance and security or craving other peoples’ company? Take some time to think about this and put everything down as when we do get back to some semblance of normality, you may forget what impacted you the most. Personally, I seesaw between getting back to seeing family and friends (in person!) and getting some alone time in my house.
What have you learnt?
This could be about yourself, a new skill or about someone else. Are you more resilient than you thought? Have you found strength and determination when you didn’t think you could? Have you realised you are struggling with a relationship dynamic (family or work)? Again, write this down as it will be so useful to come back to. What do you know now that you didn’t before?
How satisfied are you with your professional situation right now?
During this time, I’ve been hearing from clients who are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum, and everywhere in between. Some people have flourished in lockdown and really found their groove working from home and as a result, have been more productive and happier. Whereas, others have hugely struggled not being in a work environment with other people and have lacked motivation and struggled with the isolation and lack of face to face contact. Alongside this, there are a lot of people who have been made redundant or furloughed which in itself ignites feelings of panic, worry and insecurity about their future. Do think about how you are right now. Have you felt valued by your employers/ clients during this time? Has it shone a light on an area that you have been unhappy with for a while? What do you want to change?
What, if anything, are you enjoying about spending more time at home?
Are you loving being in your home environment or have you struggled with the work/life balance and trying to do everything under one roof?
Are you enjoying the lack of travelling to and from work and freeing up more time or are you missing the routine and change of scene?
What are you struggling with?
Speaking to my clients during this time, some of their biggest worries involve uncertainty. The uncertainty of when this will end, what new world are we going into looks like, prospects for our careers and business and how our lives will be impacted are big concerns. However, much of this remains out of our control and in order for us to stay calm we should focus on the controllables: our thoughts, our feelings, our attitude, our focus and our time. Writing down your struggles might help you identify what you can influence and highlight what actions you can take.
What are you looking forward to?
For me this is an interesting question, I would say I’m looking forward to having a balance between home working and travelling into London again. But if I’m honest, I have little control over this as it I’m not any closer to returning to London. That lack of control frustrates me and makes me think I’ve been missing my days in the city however, in reality the concept of commuting feels alien and not something I want to do right now. Unpicking your thoughts and feelings might reveal some new ideas and ways of working that you want to implement over the long term.
I hope these questions have given you some food for thought and please do give them time and consideration as, even though a lot of us didn’t want this enforced lockdown, it has allowed us time to really learn a lot about ourselves.