When everything you planned goes up in smoke…
I’m two days away from freedom after testing positive with Covid-19. This post is quite personal and I think it’s worth writing about with the omicron variant gaining ground. I’m vaccinated. In fact, I recently had my third dose of vaccine. I’ve been generally careful – masks, lots of antibacterial gel – and like many, if I’m honest, I’ve also loosened up a bit compared to the early days of Covid-19 out of a need to strike some balance. The UK surpassed eighty thousand daily cases about a week ago so I’m not alone in my covid-19 jail. I have two young kids and my husband also quarantined with me waiting for our individual quarantine timers to end. While I’d like to pretend we are lovingly playing games and laughing 100% of the time, there is also a whole lot of siblings getting on each other’s nerves and two very short-tempered parents as we battle through this. We are pumping our bodies with vitamins and our home with antibacterial spray and fresh, cold air – and all we can do now is wait.
Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com
At first, I cried. The flight that was scheduled to the USA for Friday had to be rescheduled. Plans had to be cancelled. Worst of all, I had to tell my daughters’ doting grandparents that there only grandchildren might not make it home to see them for Christmas – let alone at all for a few weeks or months. There are so many unknowns.
Next I went through the “what if” thinking. What if I hadn’t seen that friend? What if my husband had skipped that meeting? The problem with that was that I quickly realised I would probably never know exactly what caused us to catch covid-19, nor would it change where we were: flights cancelled, plans changed.
Then, I entered into the “I’m so lucky…” storytelling mode.
…at least I’m with my kids.
…at least the kids are healthy.
….at least our symptoms are mild.
As a professional coach, I hear clients do the “I’m so lucky…” game all of the time. It’s where you compare your situation to others in an attempt to numb your own feelings. The problem with this kind of thinking is that you don’t let yourself feel what you are actually feeling because, after all, you don’t have the right to feel sad “because you are so lucky.”
This is where I realised I could be lucky AND sad. So, I savoured the idea of a freshly made coffee (since I”m still fortunate to have my smell and taste) and a quiet Christmas morning with my kids, while also crying a bit thinking of the missed hugs from my parents, the loss of clinking glasses with my sisters, and the trip to the Christmas tree farm with the whole family that we would miss. The thing is, I am sooooo lucky AND I’m also soooo sad and disappointed. I can be ALL of those things at once – and sometimes the sadness can feel stronger than the happiness.
So, what should you do if your Christmas is disrupted by the dreaded ‘Rona?
- Acknowledge how you feel. It’s perfectly okay to be disappointed and it often feels good to let that out. Whether that means talking with someone else about it, journaling, or using other means that allow you to express it – painting, writing a poem, do whatever works for you.
- Let go of the old plan. Trying to recreate the roasted turkey you would have had with family may just cause extra stress and leave you longing more for the missed holiday celebrations. Do you really want turkey? If so, go for it. If not, as they say at Disney, “Let it go.”
- Decide what YOU want. Rather than recreate what you know just because it’s “what you do,” create something that you WANT. If still self-isolating, consider what your perfect day at home might look like? Maybe you want to spend your entire day in your most comfortable pyjamas, or binge watch your favourite movie series, or eat your favourite childhood cereal for dinner, or try a new recipe. Rather than recreate what you know, create something completely new that satisfies a craving or longing you have.
- Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help of loved ones and neighbors – whether that be asking them to drop something off for you, a request for a phone call or a pre-recorded message, or even for ideas on what to do for your new holiday plan. It’s easy to say “I’m okay.” It takes courage to ask for help. Be brave. Let people see you and help you design something that really works for you.
- Share with an isolation buddy. Share your feelings and your plan with someone. Chances are you aren’t alone in having your plans interrupted. Consider finding an isolation buddy so you can share your feelings and experiences with them. Connection can be a powerful way to acknowledge how you feel and share in the joy of your new experiences – even if it has to be remotely. What if you take a picture of the clock to show you slept in and share it with your isolation buddy? Be there fore each other and hold each other accountable for embracing your new plans.
To those of you that are having to adjust plans, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m with you. I feel sad and disappointed. I also feel excited about waking up and letting my kids slowly open their Christmas gifts without a rush to go anywhere. I recognise I’m so lucky – and I also know it’s okay to be both lucky and disappointed.
Happy holidays from all of us at Livthentic! Whether you are making new traditions or recognising old ones, we hope you do something you WANT to do and love. We are taking a much needed break for the next few weeks and cannot wait to hear what you designed for your holiday when we get back. Please share it with us so we can celebrate you!
And, after you take a much needed rest, if you feel ready to design a business, career, and/or life that you love, please do schedule your free consultation. We are already scheduling into the new year. Enjoy your holiday!