What does a coach do when the bottom drops out from under her life? Read on & find out.
I was at my wit’s end!
Just being present to “How do I take care of myself & stay mentally & physically healthy through all this?” was a challenge.
Over a period of several weeks this spring and summer a series of calamities, both major and minor stopped me in my tracks & forced me to evaluate what I could control and choose how to move forward most effectively.
And I got to practice a lot!
I practiced taking care of the most important things and let everything else just be. For me, practicing authenticity and being ok with where I was during all this was incredibly challenging.
I’m not one to complain. One lesson my mother instilled in me from an early age was that tomorrow will always be a better day. But I couldn’t just ignore everything and have a Pollyanna attitude while my world seemed to be collapsing around me. Still, I just didn’t have the physical or emotional bandwidth to try to grow my business during all this.
I felt utterly incapable of reaching out to be of service to others (any more than I absolutely had to for already established clients).
So, you stopped seeing my Facebook Lives about health & wellness. You stopped seeing all the posts about the bike rides & the healthy food. Not that I gave up doing those things; just that posting about them amid all the chaos, felt inauthentic and the additional activity (yes, just creating a post!) was more than I could handle.
Most of all, I stopped trying to live up to my own overzealous expectations of myself.
I knew I had to just pull back and concentrate on first things first; keeping a roof over my head & keeping myself physically & somewhat emotionally well.
I had lost my housing (I had a month-to-month lease) and was unable to find a new place to live. So I was temporarily living in an Airbnb; which means I had basically almost none of my things with me.
The stress of that instability was WAY more than I had anticipated; not to mention the times that were already booked to other Airbnb guests when I had to move out and into a hotel for 3 days to 2 weeks at a time!
It was a couple of months into the whole CoVid thing and it also now became apparent that I would have to indefinitely postpone the European bicycle tour I planned for the summer. So I wouldn’t get to see my son & daughter-in-law, who live in Finland (where I planned to begin my tour), for the foreseeable future. -Have you ever been told you may NEVER see your kid again? (When I will get to see him again still remains unknown.)
Then, I got a call from my brother.
“Do you want the bad news first or the worst news first?” Leave it to my brother to not mince words!
The bad news, my 90-year-old aunt had fallen & broken her hip. The worse news, my cousin, her daughter, was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer! Fast forward: My cousin was dead from a very aggressive cancer two weeks later. And, delays & changes in protocols due to CoVid, likely negatively impacted her. (My aunt, as I write this, is recovering well).
Then, because of CoVid, I was unable to attend the funeral.
Feeling distraught about all this; there was one thing I could control: I organized a family Zoom call that brought a little bit of solace and the opportunity to share some family time (my entire family is out of state).
Meanwhile, trying to find a new place to live proved more challenging than anticipated. I had at least 3 likely fraudulent “owners” on Craig’s List, who told me they would rent to me and requested that I send them money for a home that I could drive by but couldn’t get inside to see! -No thanks.
And then there were the income issues. CoVid 19 had negatively impacted my business but I had difficulty collecting pandemic unemployment. It took months (till mid-July) before I actually saw (temporary) funds. . .
. . .more basic survival threats.
Meanwhile, I had enrolled a few people into “Journey to Wellness,” my group health coaching program. So this was one of the few places, outside of survival, where I put my efforts; concentrating on delivering value to my clients.
Then, after much persistence, I finally found a new place to live. But we still had some interesting twists and turns until I got in! Delays in construction meant my lease was supposed to begin August 1st but I didn’t actually get in until August 14th! Worse. . .I had given up the Airbnb on August 1st.
Meanwhile, I had accepted an invitation to be the guest presenter on a webinar on August 11th figuring that I’d be settled and have time to perfect my presentation by then. Ha! I ended up delivering that presentation from my temporary residence (My X’s!). More stress but actually the turning point, in retrospect.
Through it all, I continued to fuel my body with foods that nourish it and make me feel good. This has resulted in me being at my lowest weight since before my daughter was born 24 years ago! And I also continued to ride; though not 5-7 days a week, like I was doing at the beginning of the pandemic. I continued to meditate regularly to help keep my stress in check. I also consciously chose to not engage in politically motivated conversations and stopped following most of that stuff online.
What I’ve learned:
It’s ok to pull back and pay attention to your most basic needs.
There’s a fine line between sharing what’s going on and complaining or allowing yourself to be the victim. “What do I need now to be able to consciously move forward effectively?” and “What can I control?” became the constant questions. And one or two people who were privy to the details that I could confide in were all I really needed.
Feed yourself foods that make you feel good, physically and stay away from stuff that you know will negatively impact you. There was always the temptation to just stuff my face and forget everything!
I made a conscious effort to concentrate on the basics: going to the store when I was least stressed and not hungry. Buying only stuff that’s healthy. Allowing myself limited ‘munch’ foods but not anything that could be considered junk. For me, this was Trader Joe’s multigrain rice crackers & guacamole or their eggplant hummus (it’s the only one without added oil). . . and occasional chocolate (but in limited quantities and only the really good stuff!)
Most of all eating consciously!
I didn’t allow myself to sit in front of the TV or computer and eat. I stopped buying alcohol completely (who needs to drink alone anyway?); especially since I love to stuff my face when I drink.
I let go of perfectionism. I let go of the idea of doing it all.
I realized that people are ok with me being real; even if that meant being (mostly) absent. And if they weren’t, they were likely not ‘my people’ anyway and that’s ok.
Now, as I look at reinvigorating my social media and beginning to grow my business again, I’m seeing you CAN pick up the pieces and begin again; picking up where you left off; though it will take time.
More than anything, in talking to others about this, I realized that people respect when you share where you are without apologizing for it. And it validates what they are going through as well.