How to Make the Best of it During Challenging Times
Updated: Sep 9, 2021
Challenging times like the wild COVID-19 pandemic we're all facing is a real test to our emotions, well-being, sense of character, relationships, workflow, plans, goals, etc. There’s a lot that falls out of our control calling on many attributes within ourselves like: resiliency, compassion, open-mindedness, creativity, optimism, and leadership. As first-world country citizens we greatly value our freedom and ability to choose as it’s never really been taken away from us. With waves of ups and downs as we ride this pandemic out, it's difficult to know which direction to point not just ourselves, but others as well.
Fear not friends, there is yet another silver lining! One thing that can’t be taken away from us are our thoughts. Our thoughts formulate our beliefs, feelings, perspective, and opinions and shape how we see things in front of us. Since no one can take away our thoughts, we are each granted the power to make our thoughts the best we can.
Sometimes queuing up good thoughts is a challenge itself, but to help get the momentum going here are a few mantras or go-tos to get in the flow of thinking and feeling good. Allow these wholesome thoughts to fortify your mind, and transition your energy to be one of content, positivity and strength.
I like knowing I am resourceful, that I’ve done both challenge and easy before. I’ve moved forward many times, and I’ve accomplished things like x, y, z.
I like knowing I am innovative. I create every day - even the simplest of things. I like knowing my innovation and creativity has served me well.
I like looking back at where I've come from and I like what I see.
I like knowing that focusing on one thing at a time serves me well.
I like knowing I don’t always have to know the answer and that being silent can sometimes serve me better.
I like knowing there are plenty of success stories out there, and they keep happening among both challenging and ideal times.
I like knowing I have good judgement and can choose to honour the thoughts that serve me, and shelf the ones that don't.
I like knowing I don’t have to be perfect, and I like that this takes the pressure off.
I like knowing I add value with my contributions.
I like looking back at my triumphs and successes, and some of them are ___.
These good, wholesome thoughts will result in peace, ease, content, and a sense of steadiness. From this state you can choose to simply sit in this good thought rhythm, or you can ponder next steps and put the energy into motion.
When you activate the thoughts that serve watch what shows up for you. You may just be pleasantly surprised..
1. Journal or reflect with some of these prompts:
a) Make peace with what’s happening.
“The radical honesty it requires to accept things as they truly are - not how you wish them to be - actually brings relief. Acceptance is a deep exhale where your nervous system says, ‘This is better than denial.’ … Acceptance is really a form of discernment. Considering all sides dissolves the borders we create.” I can’t take credit for that one; it was beautifully crafted by Danielle LaPorte (Nov 2020). What's here for you to make peace with?
b) When have you been adaptable, resourceful, resilient and brave amongst challenge before? What got you through? What’s available and calling to be leaned into? Is it confidence, courage, patience, drive, relinquishing control?
c) Appreciate the goods. All the unbounded love, riches and positivity surrounding you. Family, safety, a home, two homes, your kids, your education, your opportunities, your accomplishments. Now look within at the attributes you possess and the energy you’ve exuded that’s allowed you to accomplish what you have. Feel good about your goods.
d) Your innate, wise, intuitive being within is always available to you. In coaching we call this voice 'Best Self', 'Leader Within', 'Inner Being', or 'Innate Wise One'. For some the volume dial to Leader Within is a little louder than others’, though I haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t been able to connect within. Take 10 minutes to sit quietly with yourself and ask, what special wisdom is there for you? What will best serve going forward?
2. Create a start and stop. Use your good judgement and assess what’s actually feasible right now. If something has to give that’s okay. It’s better than alternatives like burnout, illness, relationship damage. If you've got capacity, lean into an opportunity that's available and important to you. "I will start this __, and I will stop this ___ to better serve me."
3. Connect and exchange with others. You are not facing challenge alone. There’s an ample supply of peers, teammates, services, courses, financial resources, etc. available for you to lean on to support you in moving in the direction of desire. Interacting and engaging with others certainly provides an outlet to exchange energy, as well as problem solve, generate ideas, and be of support to another.
4. Serve yourself – feed yourself with wellness and nourishment to honour whole you – body, mind, spirit. Exercise, rest, guided meditation, a wellness appointment, good food, a book, a phone call to someone special. It's always quality not quantity. This is essential because you are the vessel, the one carrying your important purpose.
5. Celebrate. Create space to honour the good that is happening. It doesn't have to be grandiose. It could be taking a break from work to do what you enjoy. You get to choose; re-engaging with a hobby, buying a bottle of champagne, making extra family-time, initiating an overdue Zoom call with friends, planning a future trip or experience.
Not only will the good thought momentum provoke and light fire to other thoughts that serve, but new action steps forward may be created resulting in what you’re looking for, or perhaps what you didn’t know you were looking for.
The John Lennon quote, “reality leaves a lot to the imagination” landed for me here because even with reality being what it is, we are all granted the right to choose the thoughts and actions that best serve. We are allowed to claim all the goodness inside our vast imaginations and minds. Enjoy this thought.