For months, most of us have lived in some form of quarantine—shut off from our usual rhythms and social activities, limiting all unnecessary trips outside the home, perhaps working remotely or helping our children transition to online learning. This spring, the world as we knew it came to a screeching halt, and as devastating as that was for so many people, it did have a silver lining: it was a "great pause."
A chance to reevaluate everything in our lives—every commitment, every relationship, every position. A chance to challenge our assumptions and thought patterns and habits, to realize what we thought were "have tos" might actually now be "don't want tos." Cultivators have been moving cities, starting new businesses and jobs, and overhauling their spending habits based on what they've learned in these last few months. (We've loved seeing you live all of this out in your PowerSheets® Goal Planners!)
It's one thing to live out this new perspective when we have no other option. But what about as the world begins to reopen? How can we keep living with the clarity and focus so many of us experienced—about what matters and what doesn't—when our old choices once more become options?
We've got a few ideas—and would love to hear from you in the comments, too!
- Don't rush to add things back in. As restaurants and gyms open back up, friend hangs become safer, and kid activities resume, don't immediately duplicate your calendar from February out of a sense of obligation or lack of imagination. Instead, go slow and ask yourself two questions...
- Evaluate everything. Before adding something back into your life (especially a recurring commitment or standing date), ask yourself two questions: is it necessary? And do I love it? If the answer to both is yes, then by all means, add it back in! And if it's not, or you're not sure...
- Be brave as you advocate for what matters. In many cases, it will be easier to go back to the way things were - but not always best. Maybe you've loved not having a commute. Can you ask to work remotely a few days a week? (The answer might be no, but it's worth asking!) Maybe you've loved having your family eat dinner together. Can you cut back on the number of kid activities you sign up for each season? Get creative and brave as you propose solutions and make changes!
- Make a new "yes and no" list. This is a beloved part of the PowerSheets Prep Work. Update your list from the beginning of 2020 to reflect all that you've learned and experienced, and all that you hope to carry forward from this season. Tack it up somewhere you can see it every day.
- Keep some white space. Regardless of what's on your list, keep some margin in your days, weeks, months, and years. Fight to keep some of those empty evenings and wide-open weekends, even if it feels counter-cultural or makes you a bit restless. White space equals possibility - for casual porch hangs, neighborhood chats, snuggle sessions, picnics, chapters of a novel, and yes, progress on your goals. Much of the connection we felt and loved during the pandemic was because so many of us had more time on our hands than usual.
- Plan ahead for the things you love. As you fill in your calendar, intentionally reserve time for the things that add joy and value to your days: workouts, FaceTime calls, evening walks, even weekend naps :) Early in quarantine, my group of beloved high school friends had a Zoom chat - our first one in the decade-plus since graduation! We all marveled that we'd never done something like this before, and vowed to do one again soon. With our schedules getting busier, it would be all too easy to let this slip away, but I'm committed to putting it on my calendar now.
- Prioritize relationships. Whether we live near or far from our families, the enforced separation of quarantine made many of us double-down on connection, even from afar. Remember how that felt, and use it to add intention and consistency to your treasured relationships. Keep up those Zoom game nights and really be present in your Sunday family dinners.
- Choose gratitude. Remembering what we lost and being grateful for what we now have will smooth out the bumps that come with any transition. Make a daily habit of practicing gratitude - whether reflecting back over your day while brushing your teeth at night, or journaling in the morning when you wake up.
- Extend grace to yourself and others. You are not alone in experiencing so much change and making this new transition as the world reopens. Millions of others are going through the same thing. While you may feel lonely and fearful, remind yourself that you are not alone, and give yourself grace. You are capable of handling this transition well, and when you don't, you can try again tomorrow.
If you’re needing a refresh, a kickstart to your goals, and some new friends to cheer you on, you won’t want to miss The Mid-Year Refresh! Let's take the good from the first six months and make the most of this year, together.
Friends, we’d love to hear how you are keeping a hopeful and positive perspective during this transition. Leave a comment below!
P.S. Now is the perfect time to start your Six-Month PowerSheets! They'll help you live with intention, joy, and focus in the second half of this year. Buy yours now!