It's been a lot. Let's find our Comfort Zone again.
Exactly two years ago, I had just landed back in Nantucket after attending the American Library Association’s national conference in Nashville, TN. I had also just moved in with my then-boyfriend now-husband. We had made a short film the summer before and were planning out which film festivals we would attend and storyboarding the next film we wanted to make. Then two weeks later everything changed.
I imagine you have your own version of this. It seems unproductive at this point to compare stories and try to determine who has had it the hardest (certainly not me) or easiest. Suffice it to say…It’s been a lot. It’s still a lot. Whoever you are, wherever you are, kids or no kids, job or no job, vaccinated or not vaccinated, masking or not masking… it’s been a lot.
If you’ve been reading my blog posts and following my newsletter, it’s no secret that I believe people experience tremendous growth when they go outside their comfort zone. Every month, I come up with a new challenge. But just as trees have times of dormancy, we too need periods of rest. Being outside one’s comfort zone, like we all have in one way or another for the last two years, has been exhausting.
Inspired by an email from a friend, I think it’s time to forget about growth and improvement and just try to put the pieces back together and find ourselves again. It appears what we all need is some time back in our comfort zone (if you even remember where it is).
My life coaching training is screaming “This is an opportunity to redesign our lives from scratch into something better!” But my emotional intelligence is reading the room and saying… “Naaaah.”
I think everyone is trying recapture normal, whatever that means to them. And after two years of chaos and disruptions, what does “normal” even mean anymore? Who can even remember at this point? Maybe that’s the best place to start.
Think back to before March 2020. Pull out a journal or a calendar from that time. Or scroll through your Facebook posts and events. What were some of the activities and plans you had? Not big things like a trip to Europe. The little everyday stuff. Who were you spending time with? What was your Friday night like? Which hobbies and pastimes were on your schedule?
It’s possible you don’t remember anymore or some of these activities didn’t survive the pandemic. Fear not. It just means doing a little soul searching.
Find a quiet moment, drinking coffee or walking your dog, and ask yourself, “What would bring me comfort?” Ponder what activity or task would be like putting on a warm blanket?
Here’s one teeny tiny little rule: It can’t be doing nothing. Here’s why. Doing nothing leads to more doing nothing, which leads to lethargy, which leads to depression, which leads to nothing. If you need rest, by all means, take care of yourself. But in your search for normalcy, it must be an activity. Active. Action.
Here is a short but by no means exhaustive list:
- Go for a drive and put on the music you listened to in high school
- Invite a friend over for tea or coffee. (Not a meal, keep it simple.)
- Eat your favorite kids’ cereal for breakfast for a week.
- Read a “delicious” book (whatever that means for you)
- Gather a few friends and play a board game
- Make a campfire (If weather and climate permits)
- Cook something you haven’t made in a while.
Last weekend, Andrew and I invited ourselves over to a friend’s house and brought a couple board games. Six of us sat around a table playing a game and eating pizza. Two years ago, it wouldn’t have seemed like anything special, but last Saturday it felt decadent!
Something I would recommend if you are not doing it already is to sign up for a weekly group activity of any kind. Human connection is critical to our health and well-being. It can be anything as long as you need to schedule it in advance, so you know to set the time aside for it and there is at least one other person involved, so you have some accountability to show up.
I’ll end where I started… It’s been a lot. Be kind to yourself. Ask for help if you need it. For the next few months, if you have the luxury, take a break from “growing” and just spend your time finding your footing again. Cause it’s been a lot.