In his book ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’, Stephen Covey suggests that we all have a circle of control. He recommends that by using our intelligence, wisdom and experience we are able to reduce the area of concern and grow our circle of influence. So, by having a proactive focus on the things that can be influenced is much healthier than having a reactive negative response to our area of concern.
This concept, now more than ever before is vital to surviving the unprecedented time of COVID 19 that we find ourselves currently in. We need to try to let go of the elements we can’t control and place all our focus and energy on the things in our lives that we can influence.
Back in January when I did my social media plans for the year, I put in place ‘Appreciate April’ for this month. Little did I know that I would be sitting at my desk writing this blog, having not left the house for over 4 weeks other than for essential provisions and exercise. By implementing the circle of control into these strange times we live in, I have had to let go of the fact we are not sure whether our posting in July is going to come to fruition, not let the lack of knowledge when my children will be returning to school bother me, try not to be concerned about how this period will affect the workshops I had planned to be delivering, and let go of the bucket list of things we wanted to do over Easter, many of which involved the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. This hasn’t been easy for me, as for those of you who know me, I am a ‘planner’ and like to know what is happening when.
Instead, I have tried to turn this focus around and focus my attention on the things I can control. As a result, it has made me more present….. focus my attention on the things I have right here, right now. I have my family close by for a longer period of time than was expected (my children attend boarding school so have had a longer Easter period at home with us). I have an amazing local support network with neighbours and friends offering their services in times of need. My extended family are all well for the time being, and we can check in on them regularly with the use of technology to keep us all connected. I have used my imagination and creative abilities to generate different activities to keep us all entertained, jigsaws, treasure hunts, assault courses, and virtual board games and quizzes with friends, to name a few. Taking each day as it comes really is quite liberating.
It has given me time to appreciate the house I live in and the large garden we have. It has also given me time to welcome the beautiful weather we have really been blessed with over the last few weeks, making the outdoors space useable and enjoyable. Not only this, I have had time to appreciate my health and my body. This time has given me an extra motivation to value what my body does for me, and how I can really get the most out of it through eating well, prioritising sleep, keeping positive and exercising regularly. I have also had time to concentrate on completing my current studies and am all set to get my health and life coaching qualifications next month, which has given me real pleasure knowing I am helping people, especially through a time many are feeling particularly tough.
Admiration has to go out for all those people who have kept this country running through COVID 19 – health workers, NHS staff, caterers, the government, the food deliverers, the refuse collectors, the postmen, the teachers, the military and so, so, many more. Without these people who knows how much worse this crisis would have become.
It is all too easy to focus on what we can’t have, but by flipping this over and ploughing our attention and effort into the things we can be appreciative for helps get through tough times. Of course, I miss things, but I currently have a bucket-list jar of people to visit, activities to do, and holidays to book when we get out the other side. I don’t know about you, but I will appreciate all these activities much more having had to delay them. How about you start a jar too, and every time you think of something you’d like to do, places to visit, people to spend time with, pop it on a piece of paper and add it to a jar to create your own COVID 19 bucket list that you can fully appreciate when this is all over.
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