I was sitting at home thinking of a new topic for my blog and all the things I had in mind, seemed not good enough in this situation we are all in right now. All of us are forced to change our lives. So I took out my learning material for the Coaching qualification and there it was- the new topic is Changes and how to initiate them including a phase model based on the one from Kurt Levin (1890-1947). Here I was seeing all the phases and understanding how I went through most of them in the last few weeks. Another enlightening fact is that the crucial topic throughout all phases is our own assessment of our competencies.
But let me take you back to the last week of February (and these are my recollections, not how it actual might have happened). This new virus has been in the news quite a few times already but far away in China- so no worries, but now it came closer, first Italy and then the first cases here in Germany.
The first phase: shock
I would have never imagined that it will also come to Germany. What I did in this phase is pretty typical; I told myself I was not wrong, it is just one or two persons.
This brings me right to phase 2: denial
Why should I not be able to travel anymore (private and for work)? Especially for work, how should I do what I am asked to do without being allowed to travel? What are they thinking? Or on the private side: Why should I not go there? I am not a risk group- I am invincible.
It took me a while to get to phase 3, the rational understanding
I understood on one level that there have to be changes in how we do things, how we interact and how we act. We all did small changes, like wash our hands more than usual, Skype more than meet and other small things I think everybody can think of. But still it was not really affecting me as a person. It still frustrated me that all the little things didn’t help to get back on track. This should be enough.
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When it started to really sink in, I felt helpless. My train of thoughts was more or less along the lines of: What do I do the whole day when I am alone at home? I will go stir crazy! I want to be able to meet my friends and family to not be lonely- just talking to them is not the same. By this time in Italy there were already curfews in place. For my work life it was more along the lines of: How should I still be able to reach my goals? How can we innovate without being together? In this phase the self-assessment of our own competencies is the lowest. But I finally accepted that it will affect me and I have to find a way to cope with it.
This brought me right into Phase 5: Trial and Error.
This is where I am right now. The first week of home office behind me- at least two more to go. I am setting new routines for myself. One is going for half an hour walk every lunch time to get some air and also some exercise. Because compared to the office my ways to kitchen, bathroom and meetings has gotten much shorter. I do phone at least one person per day (friends and family) to not feel too isolated. I get up like I normally would do and use the saved time to read or cook a good healthy breakfast. For next week I made myself a schedule on what I want to do and when, for the work time as well as the off time. I don’t know if all this is going to help- but having done something lets me feel more in control again.
In theory there will come the last phase: Insight and integration.
I am looking forward to this one. And even if I hope this situation will not last for a very long time, I am sure there will be some insights that are worth to integrate in the life after Coronavirus. Let’s all look out for those and start to see the positive side of what is happening right now!
Here are some things I will try to take over:
Talk more, text less
Even if it looks like there is no way to do it- there is one, I just have to find it
What are you doing in the Trial and Error phase? I am sure everybody could use some hints of what you are trying out.
Stay healthy! Stay at home!
Workshop “Time to reflect”
Do you see the fog or the possibilities?
REFLECT what you want!
None of us would have thought that this situation would go on as long as it already did. After month of lockdown the days start to blur into each other with little differentiation in between them. Going to the supermarket gets to be the highlight of the week instead of a task that needs to be done. Meeting friends and loved ones is getting rare and for some even impossible.
Those who are used to travel either for work or privately miss meeting other people, cultures and seeing new things dearly. They starve for new impulses.
But what can you do to stay connected, still get new impulses and keep the days somewhat unique and stay in a positive mood? Here are some techniques I feel are helping!
Is lockdown starting to make you feel down?
Try to change your perspective on things!
I started to write down 3 things I can be thankful for every day. After one week I startet to feel a change in my mood!
Last year I got one of those calendars with postcards per week to my birthday.
Since it was right at the beginning of yet another lockdown here in Germany I decided to send one every week to randomly chosen addresses I had in my address book.
All of them have the motto: “Sometimes it is nice to receive something else than bills in the mail!”
It is something that puts a smile on the face of my friends as well as in mine. And sometimes you get in contact again with friends you haven’t heard from in a while.
The days are all flowing into each other without differentiation? Let me challenge you!
Find something you like doing for 30 min per day for at least a week. Something you haven’t done in a while or always wanted to do. Yes I know there are restrictions to that, but go and find something for you. Here are some examples:
Go to the shelter and get a dog to walk
Do a YouTube dance lesson
Instead of walking around the block, drive somewhere close by to have a different view
Try out that new recipe
Play a boardgame with your family
Learn something new
You can’t learn something new when you can’t meet people? Well I think that is very well possible. You can start learning a new language or even an instrument. You were always interested in history, your family tree or some other topic. Start it now!
You were always interested in baking or a special culinary task, I am sure your family would be thankful!
There are home renovation topics you never got to do?
And all of this doesn’t necessary always means more screen time. The topic you’re interested in- I am sure there are some podcasts or audiobooks available!
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An important factor of burnout prevention is your individual life balance. We are happy to go deeper into this in a one-on-one coaching session or you can take the time for the “Time to reflect”.
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