When Everything Feels Weird — Here’s How to Cope

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Tammi Kirkness is a Sydney-based Life Coach who specialises in holistic wellness and anxiety management. Here, she talks about how to manage through the weirdness that is COVID-19.

During my time executive coaching, the number one attribute that set aside the most successful leaders from the rest was their ability to cope and manage through ambiguity.

This time, right now, is nothing if not ambiguous. At a time where we thought we’d be exiting the “worst” of the pandemic and its flow-on effects, there’s seems to be even more confusion as Australia goes through a second wave of infections, and thus, lockdowns.

At least when we had clear rules about leaving the house and strict stay-at-home orders in place, things felt a little clearer. But now, with different states in the same country and different countries having different rules, the general what-to-do and how-to-act seem muddied.

Over the last couple of weeks, even greeting people has felt bizarre. The pretend hug from a distance or an elbow tap feels so strange that the next couple of minutes of chat tends to revolve around it.

As with most things, acknowledging our emotions generally sets us up for better mental processing and health. Because of this, I feel it’s time for us to acknowledge that most areas of our lives are feeling pretty weird right now.

Let’s have a look at the weirdness spreading into the various pockets of life and what to do about it.

Friends and family

Set clear guidelines for each other

Boundary creation is a vital part of healthy relationships. When you’re unclear about what is or isn’t okay to ask of another, or what to talk about or joke about, misunderstandings can occur. It takes a courageous voice to draw a line between what’s okay and what’s not-okay behaviour, but if you stay strong and express your needs from other person, it’ll benefit the relationship in the long run.

Application to COVID – Before catching up with someone, let them know what you are and aren’t comfortable with such as elbow bumping or going to a café.


Acknowledge what is and isn’t working

Floating through the day-to-day can be really easy to do. If you are still working or running your business, going along with the everyday responsibilities can become so second-nature that stopping to take stock of what you are and aren’t enjoying can be easily forgotten.

But choosing to reflect on how things are doing, and regularly, is vital to moving you towards your ideal career outcome. Set a reoccurring reminder in your calendar to reflect on your role or business. Do this either fortnightly or monthly.

Application to COVID – To borrow a concept from the Lean Startup book, each time the calendar reminder pops up, go through your project list and decide on whether each item goes in the ‘persevere’ or the ‘pivot’ category, that is, what things will you continue with and what things you will change the way you do them.


Clean it up and make it your haven

I’ve long admired minimalists but have never entirely made the look work in my own life. Instead, I aim for a relatively clutter-free space most of the time.

When our surroundings are messy, they can clog up our mind and have negative consequences on our mental health. There’s a reason why we feel so great walking into a hotel room, it’s because it’s tidy. If you haven’t already, set aside a few hours a week to declutter and tidy up.

Application to COVID – Write a list of all the areas in your home that could use a reorganisation, then commit to tackling one per week.


Maintain healthy rituals

How we treat ourselves tends to have a ripple effect out to all the other areas that make up our life. If we respect our ideas, others tend to as well. If we value fitness, our calendars tend to reflect that with dedicated slots for activity.

Many of us started on healthy rituals during the first wave of coronavirus, and even though a few of us are feeling fatigued and worn down by the length of time it’s hanging around, if we can keep them going, the better we’ll feel.

Application to COVID – Habits take 66 days on average to really lock into place, so if you use a daily habit tracker and give yourself a reward at the end, the habit is more likely to stick. You can find a downloadable Habit Tracker here.

Above all, acknowledging where you’re at, how you’re feeling and reaching out for support when you need it is the golden rule right now.

Take care, everyone.

Tammi Kirkness be found on Instagram at @tammikirkness and via www.visionscopecoaching.com. Tammi’s first book, The Panic Button Book, is now available for pre-order here.

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