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Maintaining Resilience in Covid Time

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Feeling frustrated with plans on hold or overturned? Even in normal time, everything takes so much longer than we expect it to. In this time of Covid, make it a double.

And depending on how you manage this time, waiting it out can make you feel like a failure.

I woke up this rainy Monday morning to a one-two punch. It all happened over email. First I learned I wasn’t going to get my $250 deposit back after having to cancel my family Thanksgiving plans, then I opened the results of my most recent e-newsletter to find 23 unsubscribes.

It was enough to trigger my go-to story of stuckness. “It’s taking so long to build my coaching practice. Maybe I’m just not good enough.”

I felt so defeated as I shared my story with my sister, the one about always losing money and never getting traction on my business. Finally after a few rebalancing practices, I began to put things into perspective.

As we navigate the long, messy middle of change, those emotional triggers will release your story of stuckness. The one where you’re unable to meet your goals or get your needs met. And now more than ever, the changes we’re enduring as a result of Covid suck us in.

Almost every client I work with shares this frustration. It comes in the form of;

Why isn’t my business growing?

Why don’t I have a job yet?

How can my body look no different when I’ve been working my ass off for the past month?

How is everyone else doing so well during this nightmare?

What’s wrong with me?

When you’re triggered by things either going wrong or going nowhere, it’s hard NOT to fall into the story trap. The one that gets your anxiety up.

The problem is, this script ultimately turns the normal time it takes for change to happen into a flaw in your personhood. Remember, everything takes longer than we think it will.

We’re hardwired to react to a triggering event with a fight, flight, freeze stress response, like I did this morning. So it’s from this high anxiety state that we interpret what happened and why. Unfortunately, this all plays out so quickly we have no time to stop that old story of self-blame and stuckness from unfolding like it did for me this morning.

1. Once I used some favorite stress management techniques, I was able to think of a different approach to my challenges. With the stress response de-activated, I could put things in perspective; although I have had some unfortunate short-term rental experiences I don’t frequently lose money. I’ll make sure to be more aware of the fine print next time.

And I’m shifting direction in my coaching and my newsletters to a more whole-person approach to transition. Some people are not interested in that approach, so of course they’ll unsubscribe.

2. I reviewed all the things I have accomplished. I have to remind myself weekly that this new shift takes time, and to remember to reward the effort and build my resilience to stay the course.

Studies show you can manage the release of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine when we anticipate a reward, which is how we stay motivated.

Yet in the face of long-term goals, you’re putting in the work but the reward is too out of sight to trigger this response. This is when it burnout happens and you’re tempted to give up entirely.

Fortunately, you can anticipate this challenge and use recognition and positive feedback to reward the process along the way instead of waiting for the outcome. Your goals may be very distant, but you can manage our dopamine levels to stay motivated over the long haul.

If you know it takes an average number of months or weeks to land a new job, drop a dress size, or get your business off the ground, give yourself double that time, not so you’ll slow down your efforts but so you’ll be able to stay the course. Reward your progress along the way by sharing it with others or treating yourself in a way that aligns with your goals.

Now more than ever, we need to build our resilience to stay the course. So use your tools, stay the course and you’ll emerge from this Covid time warp that much closer to your goals.

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