“When will this end?” “I miss my life.” “I can’t take this anymore.”
When the pandemic made its way into our lives back in March, you quickly scrambled to figure out how to keep moving forward. You did it again in late May as reality set in that your job, kids’ summer activities, vacations, and social plans were not going to happen as scheduled. You resistantly did what you had to do, but what other realistic options did you have?
The weeks have since turned into months, and two seasons have come and gone. With Fall around the corner, the feeling of a fresh start that some people experience – perhaps inspired by the beginning of a new school year – has been replaced with mourning the loss of predictability and routine. You are once again in the position of figuring out how to manage life in this new normal.
With no immediate end in sight, it’s time to shift from a reactive mindset and living in what feels like a holding pattern to that of a proactive focus that includes living your life alongside this pandemic. It’s time to figure out how you can shift your focus to include personal and professional needs, wants, and goals while simultaneously taking precautions for staying safe and healthy.
Fall is around the corner, and if you want to enter the new season ready for the new normal, then now is time to start preparing. Here is a three-step framework you can use for refocusing, setting goals, and getting started.
Step 1: Refocusing entails looking at your life through the lens of this new normal. Rediscover your proactive and productive mindset and acknowledge that your perspectives and priorities may have shifted over the past several months. When you look back on your life before the pandemic, are there things that you are no longer doing that you would like to resume or prefer leaving in the past? Are there new things that you want to continue in the new normal or leave behind with the pandemic?
Step 2: Setting Goals begins by comparing your pre-pandemic personal and professional goals with the goals you have today. This step is critical because it’s acknowledging that many things in your life may have changed, which may have altered what you personally and professionally want and need for yourself in the future.
Step 3: Getting Started now is preparing you for the Fall. Turn your motivation into an actionable plan that will lead to achieving your goals. This is not an overnight process, so the more preparation you do now, the more productive and successful you will be later.
This 3-step framework encourages you to redirect time and energy onto yourself, which you might not have been doing during the pandemic. Now is the time for you to make yourself a priority so that you can focus on your personal and professional needs while living alongside this virus.
Remind yourself of what you already know – you can only go so long without taking care of yourself. The last thing you need is to run out of steam – physically and emotionally. If you want to be helpful to others, then be sure to take care of yourself first. However, right now is your time to gear up for Fall and the new normal so that you can successfully live alongside this pandemic.