As you read this, we are over two weeks into this thing…social distancing, slow the curve, COVID-19 and it’s all been unnerving and real on physical, mental, emotional, and economic levels. I was a homebody before, but we don’t have an end in sight, the Strand and the beaches are closed, and I miss having my toes in the sand, getting in the water, and playing volleyball. I think about it every day and let the gratitude that I feel for the life I have on regular days sink deep into my bones. As always, there are lessons and silver linings present in every difficult situation if we can find the space in our hearts and heads to sit with the discomfort. Here are my takeaways from quarantine life this week:
Optimal vs. Peak Performance - This is a difficult environment for high achievers. Whether as athletes, students, or parents, we get hooked on the feeling that peak performance brings, but without our usual environments on the court, at school, or in the office, we can’t access flow in our life as easily…everything about our routine feels off. I’ve found that shifting my focus from peak performance to figuring out what optimal performance looks like in times like these, relaxes my mind and improves my response to what is going on around me. It’s important for us to pinpoint what causes our feelings of stress or anxiety, and let go of the things we can’t control, like the stock market or the length of the quarantine, so we can treat ourselves and the people in our households well. In this situation, optimal performance doesn’t look like our daily grind, so embrace it and see if you can let go of the initial discomfort. Optimal may look much different than what you are used to, but I’ve found that it offers deep restoration for our minds and bodies if we can sit with it for awhile. Which leads to my next thought…
Quiet Streets, Quiet Mind - When was the last time the world took a collective pause, never that I can remember. By letting go of the things I can’t control, which is 99% of this situation, I’ve settled into peace that has brought deeper sleep and, with that, a quieter mind. Less hurry, less schedule, more connection, more intention…yeah, I could get used to this. What I know about myself is that my energy is precious, just like yours. I’m looking to maximize what I have efficiently. That process is actually enhanced by downtime, and right now, we have the opportunity to prioritize that like never before. There is time to meditate (try this one), power nap (set your phone timer for 20 minutes and trust yourself to drift off) and sit and talk a little longer at dinner. If these things make you uncomfortable, ask yourself why and go after the answer. I promise you’ll be stronger for finding out why..
Improving > Proving - Are you working to prove yourself or improve yourself? I took this idea from this podcast about overcoming limiting beliefs and it resonated with me. This is an incredible time to work on self improvement. Solitude gives us time to give our egos a break and learn new and different things by trial and error. Curiosity is one of the best antidotes to anxiety so what can you find to be curious about? What have you always wanted to learn? A language, an instrument, how to paint? Try something new for yourself and dance like no one is watching.
Can you feel it? The slow down feels good, deep down into our nervous systems if we let it in. Let the old state fall away and find a new efficiency to life that leads you to your path and purpose, free from the noisy hustle that ended, when we were asked to slow the curve.