It’s Monday and it’s definitely not business as usual …
My desk is the same, I was due to work from home today, so being here is no different, but I’m feeling very, very different. Priorities have changed, uncertainty seems to be the order of the day.
This time last week I was in London delivering the training course in the Story Garden as scheduled, enjoying watching the group coaching in March sunshine we’d all been hoping for. What a difference a week makes. Much of our lives has changed, for everyone. Living in a pandemic is outside our experience, there are no (or very few) reference points, it makes life confusing, especially as advice is changing from day to day.
At the end of last week, I had a burst of energy, exploring options to offer to groups who are mid- training, especially the Devon cohort who were looking forward to mid- April and the last 3 days of a year of training. I had a quick look at the accounts, cash flow is OK for now. The good news is we don’t have a lot of fixed overheads here at Wise Goose, one of the upsides of being a small, ‘boutique style’ training provider, but I have decided to stop paying my salary from April. I’m lucky, my husband can work remotely and as a professor of health care modelling is in demand.
Even so, this is hitting my survival buttons. Our ‘Steps into Coaching’ free taster session was cancelled last week, and others scheduled unlikely to run. This means that even if ‘social distancing’ restrictions were lifted in time, which is not going to happen, given all the uncertainty it would be hard to fill the new groups scheduled to start later in the summer. No new groups = no (or not much) income.
On the surface I’ve not been feeling particularly stressed, but though not intense, I know I’m anxious, I notice I’m not thinking so clearly, it’s harder to focus, I’m no neuroscientist, but surely this is a sign of a busy amygdala; the limbic system in action. I probably should be sending out an upbeat, typically ‘positive’ coaching style message, but I’m not going to lie. Truth is, this morning I’m sluggish and feeling dull and unmotivated, perhaps a sign that the adrenaline boost at the end of the week is giving way to the stress of higher levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. This isn’t a good thing, prolonged, chronic levels of cortisol don’t support clear thinking, it raises blood pressure, lowers immunity and even, eventually will help make me fatter around the middle, something I really don’t need!
What to do? Well, I’ve decided to be kind to myself and to not expect myself to be on top of my game. The sun is shining and I’m going to go up to the allotment where I plan to sit and soak in the peace of the place and sow seeds. I’m not going to try to crunch figures, or read anything too demanding; an easy read, maybe even reread something I love just for the familiarity of an old friend. I’m going to pause and give myself space for wondering about ‘all this’ and where I am in the midst of it. I’ll deal with what must be dealt with, take care of the calls in the diary but mostly my strategy for the next few days is to breathe, listen and feel my way back into action from a more settled place. I know it’s not time wasted but time well spent, I’ll be more effective when I return to the desk.
As I reach the end of this post I realise I’m being kind to myself, and as I sign off I’ve started wondering about the power of kindness, which reminds me of something; I wander over to the bookshelves in my office. I’ve decided on my book ‘The Power of Kindness’ by psychosynthesis friend Piero Ferrucci. It’s coming with me to the allotment. Take care and keep well. With love Helen