I’m an introvert who works online, I don’t need a plan B for 2020!
When the UK went into lockdown in March, my initial thoughts were that nothing is really changing for me. Firstly, I’m an introvert and love spending time at home with my partner. And, secondly, both of my business are already online so I didn’t need to make sudden huge changes there. I am a freelance editor and a lifecoach, and both of those jobs are done from my home office in Worthing, Sussex. So I went about my life pretty much as normal… just with less hugging and more zoom. What I had failed to recognise was that although I was doing things the same as before, the world had completely changed. Things could not continue as “normal”. I needed a plan B for 2020.
Learnings from lockdown: what I’ll incorporate into my plan B for 2020
After a few weeks of just one outing a day, I found myself exhausted and emotional. I’d run out of jobs to do around the house, I couldn’t concentrate on reading, and the thought of food shopping sent my anxiety sky high. I was seriously struggling with slowing down, and in particular with resting. Now, at the time I had considered myself to be good at resting and maintaining white space in my calendar and resisting a “busy” life. I learnt that there’s always another level to uncover. Because while I thought I was resting regularly, I was in fact ticking the “resting” box without actually relaxing. Hear me out, because I know I’m not alone in this.
I had to learn to rest
Whenever I was giving myself credit for resting, I noticed that I was in fact indulging in “busy rest”. I couldn’t just go for a mindful walk, I had to do an errand while I was out. Reading my favourite crime fiction genre had fallen by the wayside as I always had to be reading personal development books. I couldn’t even just watch TV, I’d always be replying to DMs or writing social media posts or reading email newsletters. You too?
This busy rest, I came to understand, is not restful. Our minds need time to be completely idle so they can process the day’s events. And, wow, there’s a LOT to take in if you’re watching the news at the moment. Like you I’m sure, I was taking in so much news, trying to build my business, and trying to process what our future could look like. That’s a lot without giving ourselves space to let our brains be idle.
So that was my first huge learning during lockdown, and I already know I will be learning and re-learning this on an ongoing basis! Plan B for 2020 will feature rest high on the list of priorities. Mindful activities such as gardening, baking, and walking on the beach were always part of life but their importance increased exponentially. A thriving doorstep book and jigsaw trade has replaced my book club meet ups. Usually puzzles only inhabit the dining table at Christmas, but the constant access to a few minutes of mindless searching for edge pieces has been a welcome way to empty the mind.
Accessing another level of listening to my body
Once I had this realisation, I started to listen more to my body. With our days being more consistent, it’s a lot easier to track my monthly cycle. While tiredness or sugar cravings or crankiness had previously been put down to the things I’d been doing that week, with each day being quite similar I was very quickly able to see patterns in what time of the month I consistently felt energetic and what times of the month I wanted to just stay in bed, gorge on chocolate buttons and watch crap TV. Now I can plan business activities around those energy cycles and stop fighting against the natural seasons of life. Gamechanger.
I could continue to write and write about the things I’ve learnt during lockdown. I’m astounded by what a gift this season has turned out to be. I of course am able to write this from a place of great privilege and don’t wish to diminish the harsh impact this time has had on some people. I am grateful to everyone who has continued to work in the face of such difficult conditions. And I am so truly sorry to everyone who has experienced loss during this time.
Building a life you don’t have to escape from
My mission as a business is to help quietly courageous women to step away from society’s expectations so they can build a life they don’t need to escape from. As I’ve mentioned previously, I spent years escaping from my life to the other side of the world. I now intentionally ensure that my day to day life is fulfilling so that I don’t just live for my next holiday. While adventures excite me, I want to also be excited to come home after holidays too.
This year was to be a big year for adventure. After a 6-year break, I was going to go scuba diving again. I was gutted when I realised that this goal for 2020 was no longer viable. I realise that this might seem like a fairly flippant example, but diving has been a big part of my adult life, and I even met my partner underwater in the Philippines, so this goal to get diving again was important to me.
After my initial disappointment, I was reminded of my wider mission to feel fulfilled by the day to day, rather than waiting for holidays. And that’s when I decided to buy a paddleboard! I live a couple of minutes’ drive from the beach so I can now pop for a paddle daily. Plan B for 2020 is turning out to be pretty amazing.
Making a new Plan B for 2020
As lockdown started to ease, businesses pivoted to function in this new normal. Relationships became centred around zoom. Life threatened to become busier and overwhelming. I became anxious that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my new habits. So I revisited my list of priorities for the year that I make each January. Although my priorities hadn’t changed, I was able to add a level of depth to the list that the lockdown had shone a light on. It was suddenly easier to strip away things I had previously felt I “should” do, particularly in business.
Without knowing your priorities, it’s impossible to make meaningful goals. I could set a goal to make £10k for example. That to me is meaningless as money isn’t something that excites me. I could hypothetically make a goal to buy a car that can transport my paddleboard more easily. Sadly my lovely fiat 500 is too tiny to transport an 11ft board! The goal of buying a new car might also mean I need to earn £10k, but because I know WHY I want that money, I will be much more likely to achieve that goal.
Get involved – what’s your plan B for 2020?
Knowing yourself more deeply will enable you to set goals and make plans that are much more meaningful to you. Plans that that take you to where you want to be in your life. Goals that make your heart skip a beat when you think of them. And if, like me, you’ve learnt that you need to rest more, that you need better boundaries around being on your phone, that you can still have a business even if you’re not at your desk 9-5… then you will be secure in the knowledge that you can work towards those big plans without needing to sporadically press pause while you recuperate for a week because everything has got too much AGAIN. That knowledge will be there supporting you as you build a life you don’t need to escape from too.
If this has sparked your interest, I’m holding a workshop on 22nd June. It will help you learn from the nudges you’ve received during lockdown so you can also make a plan B that’s better than your plan A. Click here now to get your ticket.
Picture credit: many thanks to Valentina Sotnikova for the use of this cover image.