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  • Charlotte Worth

Let's get through this


Six months ago, when we were grumbling about being a taxi driver for our kids or complaining about our daily commute, we could never have imagined that all that would be whipped away from us. Suddenly we can no longer catch up with our friends, watch our favourite band or football team or enjoy the simple pleasures of going for a walk without the nagging doubt that you might have caught the virus from the person that has just walked too closely to you. Now I am even missing my Saturdays juggling the various clubs my kids need to be at.

This crisis has brought on some very sudden changes, not just to our physical lives, but also to our emotional and mental health. For me it has highlighted how much I need human interaction and conversation with different people other than my husband and kids. I really miss giving a friend a hug. It feels wrong to swerve away from people who are walking towards me. I miss the idle chit chat that I have with my fellow school mums in the playground and watching the unbridled joy of my children as they catch up with their friends each day. Most importantly I miss my freedom, and I am scared.

The thing that I find most surreal is that it is not just happening to me, or to the people around me. It is happening to everyone around the world. I guess that should make me feel better about it all, because I am not alone, we are all in this together, but somehow it doesn’t. Particularly as I write this, it really doesn’t seem as if there is an actual end in sight, or at least not until they find a vaccine.

We now have at least another three weeks of this, maybe longer, so to help me get through it I have started to put a few things into our daily life to help navigate through this unknown territory.

Get some routine

Firstly, I have tried to put some sort of order into my day. I feel that by doing that, a little part of me is taking back control of my life, as it is very easy to lose track of time and the days just blur into one. I find that a routine gives me an anchor to help maintain my mental health. If you have kids, it will hopefully give them a sense of normality. Particularly those that are of school age as they are used to having their days planned out for them. I know that it definitely works for my children. They loved the Easter holidays, not having to get up early, nobody policing them about what they were doing. However, on Sunday night when we said it’s back to school and an early start tomorrow, my eldest gave a cheer. He even set his alarm to make sure he was up and ready, and for the last three days, has not moaned once about having to do his work. I can assure you this never happens in normal life.

Our schedule works around the children. We start every morning with some exercise and then the morning is spent doing schoolwork for the kids and coaching for me. The afternoons are spent doing creative play and reading for the kids, and screen time from about 5pm. For me it’s catching up on admin, coaching and spending some quality time with my husband and kids.

A morning date with Joe Wicks

Exercise is normally not a big thing in our house, except for my youngest son Harry who loves to run and be super active. Before all this started, I did go running a couple of times a week, out of necessity more than desire. However, since lockdown we have become addicted to Joe Wicks and do not feel that our day has begun until we’ve had our burst of endorphins. Both my sons, Oliver and Harry, are also trying to climb the equivalent number of stairs it would take to climb Mount Everest. It’s slow going and I think it is going to take them most of lockdown to just reach Base Camp, but it’s keeping them busy, giving them a focus and more importantly it’s more exercise.

I obviously know the health benefits of exercise, which is why I forced myself to go running, but I had definitely underestimated the power it has on my mental health. Our more relaxed weekend plans do not include Joe Wicks, he does need a few days off himself, but I really miss it and unless I am up and doing something, I start to feel bored, lethargic and the day just drags. I actually miss that morning burst of happy hormones and would recommend it to even the most sloth-like of you out there.

I think I might have even started to buy into the belief that not only am I getting fitter, and may even have a swimsuit fit body by the time this is all over, but that the feeling of being physically powerful actually helps you to feel more in control of your life. This is something that I really do hope lasts beyond lockdown.

Star Baker

I am also using this time to teach myself some new skills and have taken up baking, well at least until my flour runs out. It’s also another reason why I need Joe Wicks in my life.

I am also regaining my desire to learn and have started to read non-fiction books. I think this is the perfect time to retrain or educate ourselves and maybe read things that we don’t normally have the time to do.

There is so much to be gained by reading - like self-confidence, negotiation skills, health (sleep, nutrition), how to have difficult conversations and much more. What keeps you up at night? There's probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There's probably a book about that too!

Here are some book ideas to get you thinking:

  • How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned from Things Going Wrong – Elizabeth Day

  • Alive at Work – By Dan Cable

  • Mindset - Carol Dweck

  • Help Me! Marianne Powers

  • Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie (Self Confidence)

  • Fast Asleep – Michael Mosley

  • This Too Shall Pass: Stories of Change, Crisis and Hopeful Beginnings – Julia Samuels

  • Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams - Matthew Walker PhD.

  • The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know -

  • Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

  • Now, Discover Your Strengths (How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You

  • Manage - Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton.

  • Or read a memoir!

Reading one book will expand your mind, reading several of these books is going to make you more interesting, help you learn new skills - and maybe even make you more employable too!

Back to School

I am also thinking of doing some online courses to add to my skills set and there are so many opportunities out there to do this. A couple that I have found are: Udemy, Reed, Open Learn and Future Learn.

Just like reading non-fictional books, this might help you progress in your career or help you to make that career change that you have always wanted to do.

If you had another 100 years to live

As a coach I am often asking my clients what they would do if money wasn’t an option and they had another hundred years to live. Although I say a hundred years, I actually don’t think it is ever too late to change direction. I did! What is happening right now just proves that you really do only get one chance at this life, so why get stuck doing something you really hate if there is something that you would love to do.

Now is the time to start giving it some serious thought to see if it’s possible. Here are a few questions that I sometimes ask my clients to think about.

  • What do you really want from the rest of your life?

  • What would you be disappointed you did NOT do?

  • Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?

  • What do you desire or yearn for in your life?

  • How do you want to feel?

  • What do you really, really want to be different in your life?

  • What's your dream for this lifetime?

  • Imagine you're 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy?

Having a clear picture of how you want your life to be is a powerful tool to have and a great motivator. Having that image will enable you to walk towards your goal, inspire you to take action and make the changes you need to make it happen. Once we are let out again, our lives will go back to full speed, so if we don’t make our plans now and get things ready, they may get lost in the excitement of our freedom. Remember that excitement of being out in the world again will only last a little while, and then things will go back to how they were before we were in lockdown. If we were bored and dissatisfied then, we will be just as bored and dissatisfied again. So, don’t allow that to happen. Make a plan.

Remember to think possibility not probability! Don't limit yourself and your ideas because you don't believe something is likely. Instead believe it's possible - and even if you don't get all the way there, you may get close - or even find something better along the way!

If you'd like some help with creating a vision for your life, I'm offering a free coaching session. Just contact me at charlotte@charlotteworthcoaching.co.uk to set this up.

To quote Martine McCutcheon “This is my moment”

I don’t know about you, but I was starting to get really stressed by all the stories I was hearing and reading about Coronavirus. Every time I got sucked into a new story, my anxiety levels rose just a little bit more. Soon those thoughts were taking over my rational thoughts and I would start to spiral into a world of what if.

So now each time it happens I try and do the following things:

  • Anxiety tends to show itself in physical and emotional symptoms. When I start to feel anxious my tummy starts to churn, my heart beats faster, and I sometimes get sweaty palms. This is because the part of our brain called the amygdala kicks in and causes a flight or fight response, which basically highjacks the thinking part of our brain. When this happens, we need to try and kick start the thinking part of our brain back into action and distract ourselves by doing something like a jigsaw, a crossword, cooking, sudoku or anything that calms your thoughts and takes you out of the flight stage.

  • Separate your fears and worries from the facts. List all your fears and worries in one column and put all the established facts in another column. Being able to compare the two can sometimes subdue your fears and bring you back to reality. For example, for me when I read about all the people that were dying from the virus, I looked at the BBC website that tells you how many people had been confirmed as having the virus in my area (about 430) and then looked at how many people lived in my area (over 3000). Once I saw that, I and compared it to how few people I saw each day, I realised that the chances of me catching it, if I follow all the guidelines and advice, were quite small. This may not be scientifically correct, but in my head, it feels logical and dispels the fear.

  • Try and give this these thoughts a name. If you do this it will convert the vague threat to something tangible and reclaim the power by realising you’ve been here before, and you survived.

  • Do as I say, not as I do. Ask yourself what you’d advise your friends and family to do. When my clients are anxious, I ask them what they would say to a friend if they came to them with the same worries. Normally what they would tell their friend would not be the same as what they are telling themselves as we tend to give sound guidance to other people, but never to ourselves. I know that I am definitely guilty of that.

  • Remember it is human to feel doubt and fear but remind yourself that in THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day, one hour or even one breath at a time if you need to. Try not to think ahead, just deal with the moment you are in right now.

It may take time to make this work for you, as it takes practice, but once you have mastered it, it is definitely a useful skill to have to have in life.

So, when you notice you're worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the latest bit of news says about Coronavirus, say to yourself, "It's OK. In this moment, I am/we are safe. In this moment I am/we are OK." 

Get writing

If you've always wanted to write a journal, then now is a good time to start. You might not be doing very much with your day, except for working and managing your kids, but I am sure that your thoughts and feelings are very busy. It might be a good way to organise them and it will also be a great thing to be able to look back on in a few years’ time.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.

  • One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.

  • I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.

  • One thing that's surprised me recently is _________.

  • What matters most to me in life is _________.

  • Describe your ideal day _________.

Clear that cupboard

Oh, my goodness by the time this is all over our cupboards are going to be showroom standard. All those chores that my husband and I have been putting off are finally getting done and it has been so therapeutic. Even though the mess was behind closed cupboards doors, now that they have been tidied the rooms somehow feel lighter and bigger.

There is a reason for doing this, as like having a routine, getting organised and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives - and therefore enables us to feel less helpless! Plus, you will feel so pleased with yourself for doing it.

Organise your cupboards, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organising and then sit back and marvel at how fabulous it looks. I promise you it will feel good.

All the above have definitely helped me and I hope that some of it may resonate with you. However, most importantly one thing we must remember that, through all of this, we need to be kind to ourselves. Do what makes you feel good about yourself. If all of the above just seems like too much, then just set yourself a small challenge each day. One that only takes 10 minutes and from there slowly build it up. Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what - you'll find a way.

This current and strange situation will end. And when it does, you'll be proud you made the effort to learn something - whether it's about yourself, a new skill - and who knows what else!


#lockdown #staysane #coaching #youcandothis

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