If last week was about emotion, turmoil and scrabbling to get your head around new ways of working and living then I hope that this week finds you feeling more grounded and a little more clear about the what’s and how’s of this new world.
So, if you have a little brain space this week is all about purpose – that sense of having a reason, of working towards something, a feeling of determination or resolve.
Often when we talk about resilience we talk about it coming from 4 different places:
1. Physical – your physical ability to keep going. This requires you to eat well, keep hydrated, get enough sleep and keep your body fit and strong through exercise
2. Emotional – our ability in testing times to recognise, understand and manage our emotions appropriately (see last week’s blog for some thoughts on this)
3. Mental – the ways in which we support or sabotage ourselves mentally. The thought processes we use that enable us to keep going or to dig deeper
4. Purpose – sometimes also labelled as spirituality this pillar is one that taps into something deeper. The resolve that comes from having a sense of purpose or a knowledge that you have something to work towards
Imagine your resilience as a layered thing with purpose being the deepest layer. Can you think of a time when you’ve set yourself a goal and then worked steadily towards it, and how knowing that you were working towards something perhaps kept you going through the tough times, enabling you to find previously hidden depths? A friend of mine recently completed an Open University degree – it took her 7 years part time whilst also working full time. She had to study evenings and at weekends, completing numerous assignments and exams along the way and sacrificing nights out and weekends away to do so. It was tough but she kept going because this qualification was part of a bigger plan for a new career path and that sense of purpose kept her going.
Finding a sense of purpose right now could be a really useful tool for getting through the next few weeks and months. A purpose project can give us a structure for days that have perhaps lost much of their previous structure. Purpose projects can fill some of the long hours of lockdown or give us something to look forward to working on in the evening or at the weekend.
Looking Forward in Lockdown
Pick a project that you can work on a little bit each week and that will give you something to look forward to. How about creating a garden if you have space? Or plant seeds in pots on a balcony or on your windowsills. If you plant herbs or vegetables then you can look forward to harvesting in a few months. There is joy in seeing seedlings push through the earth and develop into something you will eat.
This might be the time to learn something new or dig out something that you started but put aside. Knit socks, make a model train, paint the kitchen, write that book, start a blog, learn how to make and edit videos, get to the next level on that game.
Connectivity during Lockdown
Yesterday I spoke to a friend who is creating podcasts and virtual interviews with people in his community and even broadcasting a family radio show to keep people connected. Other people I know are organising virtual drinks on a Friday evening with friends or a round of virtual dinner parties. Maybe your purpose project is about bringing people together virtually somehow? Ginger Dog Development run a virtual book club – maybe you’d like to join us?
Giving Something Back
Many people are finding purpose in volunteering and charity work right now. Could you offer some hours to helping in your community, volunteering for the NHS, offering to deliver shopping for elderly neighbours or something else that feels like a way for you to give back?
Planning for Life after Lockdown
Your purpose project might be connected to life after lockdown – for instance you’ve decided to travel more in the future so your purpose project will be to plan a trip or learn a language. I bought an old Mercedes Sprinter before Christmas which I’m turning into a camper van – I didn’t think I’d have much time to do it this year but now it’s really giving me a sense of purpose. My spare time is filled with remembering my GCSE woodworking skills from 30 years ago, watching YouTube tutorials and getting my head around cushion making.
And finally,it doesn’t need to be a big thing or a long term thing necessarily, maybe it’s something for this week, maybe it’s committing to a daily routine to help you feel more capable in these days. See if you can find a little time and brain space this week to tap into what it might be for you – the thing that’s going to get you looking forward, making a plan or feeling like you have something to work towards.
Right I’m off to learn how to make box cushion covers… take care everyone.