At the beginning of the COVID19 quarantine, I was optimistic and hopeful that the crisis would blow over quickly. I remained positive throughout the toilet paper and paper towel shortage and the beef hoarding.

Then the country shut down. It was about that time I kicked myself into high gear. I said to myself, “Self, with the rest of the country on pause, this would be a great time to work hard and make some progress.” I saw it as the perfect time to develop plans, create products, and pull together marketing activities that would put me ahead of the competition.

About eight weeks into the quarantine, my enthusiasm started to spiral downward. I didn’t feel as optimistic, and I wasn’t really any more ahead than I ever am.

I began to analyze and re-analyze my focus. I’d started projects, then squash them. Mapped out ideas and strategies, only to look on them doubtfully the next day.

After a few weeks of unproductiveness and self-judgment, I began to reflect more deeply. I noticed several things that I didn’t like about myself – things that are difficult for me to admit. However, I’m going to share my top 5 with you here, in hopes that my openness encourages and inspires you to action.

  1. Being an eternal optimist can be a real drag for others. I’ll be the first to admit it, I am a “glass-half-full” kind of girl. I look for the positive in every situation. That is a fine plan during “normal life” (pre COVID19) but may not be the best method of operation during a pandemic. I think that I had myself so snowed over with positive thinking that it made it hard for me to understand and appreciate the fear that others were experiencing. Please accept my apology if I said or did something that may have seemed uncaring towards your feelings of fear.
  2. I suck at handling long-term stress. On the other hand, I’m exceptional with short term pressure. That’s a skill I mastered during my younger years through work and relationship experiences. And then again later in life, through a serious back injury. I’ve learned that I can handle a lot of stress as long as I know that the end is in sight. However, this on-again, off-again quarantine situation and the subsequent economic shutdown have pushed me to the edge of what I can handle.
  3. I need you! In absolute honesty, I need you in my life. I hate to admit it, but I need and want to be in regular meaningful conversation and connection with people like you. Having authentic conversations is what strengthens and binds us to one another. Heart-connections are what I’m looking for. I don’t have room in my life for people who are self-aggrandizing and show little interest in others.
  4. I need to feel loved and be touched by those I care about. Part of me hates to admit that I need hugs. I’ve practiced self-reliance most of my life to avoid getting emotionally hurt. Just knowing that I am loved – as said with words – is not enough. Having the ability to express my love for you and receive your love back through a hug is vital to my mental and emotional health. Words are lovely but will never replace a hug. I look forward to a future where hugs and handshakes are the norm.
  5. Seasonal depression and loneliness are real for me. It may be hard for you to believe that the woman you know as “Miss Happy-go-Lucky”, with my glass always half full, suffers from seasonal depression. The season being, the COVID19 season. This season had a serious impact on my inspiration and motivation. It has devastated my optimism, killed my hope, and ripped away my expectation for a fruitful tomorrow.

But all hope is not lost…

As I was about to seek professional help to pull me out of the mire I was drowning in, something triggered a memory.  I was reminded of a workshop I taught several years ago, of which the core message was taking control.  The most powerful point from the workshop was, ‘If you are feeling out of control, find something you can control’.

That simple concept led me to ask myself two questions, what, in this current moment, is within my control?  What action(s) can I take to feel more in control?

Answering those two questions has created a shift in my perspective. It changed how I look at everything going on in my COVID quarantined life.  I chose to focus on what I can control and take action on those items. As a result, much of the stress I was feeling has lifted.  Now, I have a workable plan. I feel happier and more powerful than I have in weeks.

If you are interested in learning the steps I used to regain control of my out-of-control life, schedule a 15-minute get-acquainted call with me, I look forward to talking with you.

Cheryl C Jones

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