The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world. Many people are now primarily work from home, often in stressful or less than desirable conditions. We are not traveling, dining out, or enjoying the company of strangers. We are not even enjoying the company of our family and friends or church and faith-based communities.
Many have lost their jobs, or worse those they love to the pandemic. We have found ourselves in situations where we spend most of our day looking at a screen, with little physical activity or outside enjoyment.
Pandemic long term symptoms impacting quality of life and livelihood
For those who have been infected with COVID, some are experiencing long term symptoms impacting their quality of life and livelihood. For healthcare providers and other essential workers, life adjustments have included wearing a mask every day, staying 6 feet away from others, washing their hands so much they are raw, and donning and doffing gowns, and face shields. As a society, we are burnt out, experiencing high rates of isolation and ultimately on the verge of a serious mental health crisis.
As we go about our daily activities, videoconferencing, and doing our best to keep it all together, we can’t help but find ourselves asking: Will this ever end? Will life ever feel normal again? When can we stop wearing masks? How can I keep doing this? Is it all worth it?
Given these uncertainties, all the changes and stress, it is not uncommon for business meetings to first start with a mental health check in, where we share our suffering, lament about the isolation and video-meeting fatigue, share mental and physical health issues, and reality of working at home with kids crying in the background.
Amidst all the sorrow and grief in the pandemic
But amidst all the sorrow and grief, we also find ourselves laughing, enjoying the simple things like a morning cup of coffee, or the sunlight as it streams through our office window. We are filled with gratitude for the routine we have been able to keep and the additional time we have with our significant other and children. We find we are more compassionate and aching for that human connection we miss so dearly.
These are rich moments that offer us a pause to reflect and experience the joy that life can bring us waiting on the other side of our pain. Within these moments lies an opportunity to look toward the future with purpose and intention. To release those things that have been cluttering our spaces, body, mind, and spirit. And to look for ways to bring who we truly are to everything we do.
Times of Light and Awareness
During these times of light and awareness we find ourselves asking: Am I truly doing work that is meaningful to me? Am I devoting energy and intention to those things that are aligned with my purpose and who I am? Am I clear about my purpose and how I’m going to achieve it? How can I stop going through the motions? How can I connect to the people in my life who matter the most? Am I inspiring others? All these questions come from that place inside of us that we have been ignoring.
We have experienced pain and suffering
As Integrative Nurse Coaches, we have experienced pain and suffering, but have found that this pandemic has also brought us an incredible opportunity to pause and reflect on who we are and who we want to be. This ‘gift of pause’ is often only available during times of significant stress and if we choose to open this gift, it can transform our lives in very meaningful ways.
Ask yourself who you truly want to be
As you pause, ask yourself, who you truly want to be. And if you are not being that person, why? What gives you purpose and meaning? Do you have a dream you’ve been ignoring, but want desperately to make it happen? What habits and behaviors are not in your best interests?
What will it take to make the changes to embrace who you are? What assumptions are you making that you can challenge?
Nurse Coaching is about bringing out of you, what already lies beneath all the pain and suffering and daily mundane living. It’s about being a guide for our clients to embark on meaningful change that gets them closer to who they are. It is about listening with HEART (Healing, Energy, Awareness, Resilience, and Transformation) to create a safe place for healing to occur (Dossey, Luck, & Schaub, 2015). It is about offering ways to reflect, renew and restore.
The gift of pause
The gift of pause offered by this pandemic, can lead to transformation. Taking the time to evaluate your life provides a unique opportunity to not return to past undesired or unhealthy ways. To not re-engage in behaviors that are not aligned with your purpose and spirit. And to redirect the use of your energy to fully step into your purpose.
We are both asking ourselves these same questions as we renew our passion for coaching and look to a future where our souls are filled with joy for the work we do. Instead of asking when things will get back normal, we encourage you to start asking yourself how you can create something better than normal. How can you embrace your best self so you can fully receive the gift of life? What do you need to let go of to create the space for better than normal living?
Our capacity to pause should be our deepest ambition during this pandemic because who we are will come out of it.
My story includes 35+ years as a nurse, behavior change expert, researcher, writer and female leader in healthcare. My story also includes my journey of unpeeling the layers of endless pursuit of finding personal value externally. I have come to appreciate compassion for self and others, the benefits of mindfulness and purpose as my guideposts, and human connections through relationships. I am leading now with the appreciation for my feminine wisdom and gratitude for my profession of nursing. Visit MIND - Mindfulness in New Directions to learn more https://www.mindnursecoach.