Three ideas to re-design our lives in these COVID times

As we enter tough new national measures in the UK, I wonder how much we have learnt about our lives and how to live them well since our first lock down in March.

It’s almost as if the first seven months of the global pandemic has been a practice run.

A practice run to help us prepare for the long haul of home working, social distancing and limited travel for the foreseeable future; until treatments, vaccinations and testing allow a change in approach.

As we step forward against the backdrop of virus fatigue, disenchantment with Zoom and a far too sedentary lifestyle, have you thought that it might be time to:

Idea Number 1 – Find a project to nourish you – which may build on something positive from your past

My current inspiration for this is my husband. Having finished corporate life twelve months ago, Martin set off into his brave new future with a shiny new passport and an intention to fill it quickly. Sadly, it hasn’t been put to much use.

What has made a difference though, is buying a second hand metal lathe. It’s in the garage and the two of them seem to spend many a happy hour together. It wasn’t the plan, but it’s a good alternative and he’s enjoying the opportunity to refine and develop some of his skills from his teenage years.

Can you reconnect with something from your past and take it forward as a project now too?

Idea Number 2 – Do things you enjoy – maybe something new, outdoors, learning, artistic or exercise

Two weeks ago we had a mini-break in London. It wasn’t as exciting as abroad, but we did manage to do some new things. One highlight was a walking tour of street art in Stockwell and Brixton, as the pictures of Michelle Obama, David Bowie and Michael, who has looked after the public toilets under the Brixton arches for 20 years, show.

Exercise and outdoors are still OK with our new measures, and can be so important for our mental health too.

What can you do to stretch the envelope of what’s possible that you also enjoy in coming weeks?

Idea Number 3 – Truly connect with those who matter to you – in the now, not the ideal or fantasy

I’m sure we all have a sense of who the key others are in our lives. We may be living with them full time now, as part of our new, 24/7 “home team”, or we may be living apart. Are there things being pushed under the carpet, left unsaid, that could make a key difference if resolved?

In our house there have recently been some extremely uncomfortable conversations about how we are with each other, and how we want to live our lives.

My fantasy of being the Waltons family – or a local Petersfield version of this – has been severely challenged. Have I liked it? No. Has it been useful? Massively.

Is there an overdue conversation that could help you with your most important relationships too?

We are in unprecedented times. It seems to me that:

  • We need to find some new ways of living as we may need to live with COVID 19 for some time yet.
  • We need to redesign our lives, personally and professionally, to make them more fulfilling and satisfying to us.
  • We need to adapt our mindset and work with, rather than rub against, the constraints of our times.
  • We need imaginative ways to channel our time, energy and ambitions over the coming months.

If this blog has prompted you to think again, let me know. And get in touch if some coaching support would help.

Gill How loves to work with executives, professionals and managers to help them stretch and grow. She is a Master Executive Coach and Innovative Leadership Developer who works face to face and virtually in the UK and internationally.

Photo credits: Gill How.

Gill ran an excellent session, for the EMCC UK network I host, on Appreciative Inquiry. As with much training these days, Gill adapted to the change, and ran it virtually. The combination of breakout rooms, questions posed, and content, made the whole session informative and engaging. A brilliant session, thanks Gill!

Simona Hamblet Leadership & Lifestyle Coach, Autumn 2020

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Gill How

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4 Comments

  • Fab articles, Gill.
    You’re right about ensuring the positivity and gratitude in our lives spills over in every possible aspect.
    Mindset is everything. I need to consciously recalibrate because it’s no easy to go down that negative path. Staying busy with exercise helps me tremendously as well.
    And the irony is when you said the last 7 months have probably been the dress rehearsal for the long haul. That’s really highly likely!

    • Gill How says:

      Thank you Natasha! It was a pleasure to work with you and Women in Rail Malaysia earlier this year! This is a global pandemic indeed, isn’t it. A feeling of one step forward, one step back. Exercise, reading and reflection all work for me. And one day at a time…

  • Sarah Gilbert says:

    Gill, I loved this positive realism and practical approach to re-design for resilience through the ongoing challenges of this pandemic. Thank you for offering of your own experience and learning through lockdown, and sharing these striking images. Every word and picture resonated with me and created links between past, present and future.

    • Gill How says:

      Thank you Sarah! I really enjoy drawing together the ideas, stories and pictures for a blog and I’m glad they helped to create new links for you this time too!

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