Wow. What a few weeks.
Most of us wish we could edit the 2020 movie: Go back to the end of February and cut out what just happened and have a do-over of March 2020 complete with normal hospital load, thriving economy, and basketball–lots and lots of basketball.
But we can’t. March and April have happened, there’s no rewind button, and at least at present, May is making slow progress.
So in the midst of the coronacrazy uncertainty, I wanted to share with you what’s brought me from a place of grief, as I expressed in a prior newsletter, to a greater sense of peace.
It has been a multi-faceted approach. And I hope in sharing this with you that you can find ways to not only survive but also thrive in this time.
Regaining My Sense of Routine: When places started to get shut down, I was struggling with a new morning exercise routine because what I had been doing was primarily structured around going to the Y to swim or lift almost every morning. Since that’s not currently a possibility, I needed to adjust.
I’m happy to report using the advice I wrote about in my recent Fast Company article on How to Design an Effective Schedule During Stressful Times, that I’ve gotten back on track. I am back to my typical sleep pattern of going to bed around 10:30 p.m. and waking up around 5:30 a.m. I start with prayer and then have gotten into doing about an hour-long exercise routine based on YouTube workouts that combine strength, cardio and stretching before showering, eating breakfast and then getting to my desk between 8:30 and 9 a.m.
This sense of stability and continuity over the last week has helped me greatly.
Simple Self-Care: The self-care options are more limited than before because some of the things that used to bring me the most joy, like swimming or going to church, are off the table. But there are still simple things I can do that make me happy. I really encourage you to find these for yourself to lift your emotional mood and to give you things to look forward to doing. For example for me, I love to exercise so making sure I get in an hour of working out from about 6:30-7:30 am is my way to make sure I’ve taken care of my body before work and the rest of the day unfolds. I’m really enjoying hanging out with the family at night (I’ve been introduced to a hilarious show called “Dude Perfect” if you need to get your mind off things and just laugh at night, I highly recommend it.) But I know getting enough sleep is important for me so I head to my bedroom around 10 p.m. even if everyone else is staying up later. I’ve also taken time for things like making art work, calling friends, going on hikes, or when I go back to my own home to check on it, doing some extra cleaning and organizing. I try to have multiple things each day that I’m looking forward to and that bring me joy.
Resting Prayer & Praying to Be a Blessing: I have prayed pretty much every morning for decades. Over the last few years in particular, I’ve been a lot more structured in my approach. I have a long list of things and people who I pray for every morning. But over the last week, I’ve felt God calling me to use my prayer hour in a different way. Instead of being super active–praying for this thing and that thing–I’m literally resting in the Lord. What that looks like is laying in my bed and being conscious of the feeling and mindset of surrender–i.e. God I’m here and You’re here too. I don’t have any control over what is happening on the macro level, but you are in complete control, and I trust You. This resting before the Lord is transforming me. I feel a deeper peace, a deeper trust, a deeper rest. I haven’t been afraid for myself, and I’ve been less afraid for others. I know God is sovereign, and He can take care of us no matter what happens. As I talk about in my book Divine Time Management, we can put trust in God at the center of our time management.
The second way I am praying is that I’m a blessing. Although the macro is outside of my hands, there is still much I can do in the micro. I can be a blessing to my coaching clients. I can reach out to my friends and my family. Each day, I’m asking God to show me: What is Your purpose for me here? How can I use this time wisely?
Extra Patience With Myself and Others: There are times when I felt completely discombobulated. But instead of getting angry with myself, I’ve been speaking to myself in a gracious way that this was a big transition.
Also with others who may be more emotional right now or more forgetful, I’ve tried to show the same level of patience. We all need a lot of grace at this time. It’s not an easy season and even the most organized can feel off track.
I hope you find these thoughts helpful as they really are the formula that is allowing me to stay at peace in the eye of the storm. This doesn’t need to be a horrible time for us, and we will make it through.
There is always hope.
About Real Life E
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She was named one of the World’s Top 30 Time Management Professionals by Global Gurus. The Christian division of her company focuses on a God-centered approach to time management through Divine Time Management.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. FaithWords published her third book Divine Time Management: The Joy of Trusting in God’s Loving Plans for You. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.