By: Meghan Rothschild
It has certainly been a chaotic ride over this past month, hasn’t it? Between adjusting to the new norm, learning 4,547 types of video conferencing software, and making a daily decision to put on pants, my head is spinning. I’m sure most feel the same way.
But there have been a few key takeaways I find myself clinging to; anxious that when things return to (the new) normal, the positive habits I’ve formed will leave with COVID-19. Life has been challenging for many, for different reasons, but I want to hold myself accountable. When I started Chikmedia, it was in part, to create a work-life for myself that would allow me to slow down, smell the roses and reinvest into myself daily. I’m not quite there yet. Before the pandemic, I found myself circling back to the same stressful, daily mode of operation I had lived inside with other jobs and as the future unfolds, I’m applying the breaks to anything that causes mental anguish in my daily life.
These are my key takeaways, most good, one bad, from COVID-19 that I hope to incorporate into a post-pandemic lifestyle.
Things can wait. I am an anxious person, so when I am given or assigning a task, I feel it needs to be completed immediately. I stress unplugging or heading to bed if my To Do list isn’t nearly complete. As a business owner with multiple clients, this is impossible. There will always be work to be done. Always. However, with our current situation, I am finding that people are much more relaxed, more understanding of timelines and more respectful. Collectively, we are experiencing a worldwide happening together, and compassion is at an all time high. Can we hold onto this? Can we remember what it was like to allow people the time they needed to get work done? Can we allow ourselves to exist in a slower paced life where quality over quantity prevails? I sure hope so.
We need to place a higher value on businesses whose products are intellectual property. I have been guilty in the past of asking consultants to provide free services because something was “for a good cause.” As I watch the pandemic unfold, I appreciate that so many people want to contribute to the community and quickly took to social media to encourage their friends to support local businesses. However, most service-based companies are not considered as part of that equation, and in fact, asked to donate their time and guidance: a key piece of what they sell. It has put a lot of pressure on my fellow consultants to follow suit, and start producing expert content to help guide other small businesses through their own pandemic-related crises. Intellectual property is valuable, ideas are valuable, education and experiences are valuable. I plan to be more self-aware when asking people for contributions and favors in the future. If someone is an expert in something, they should be valued for it.
Meetings don’t need to be in person. As an entrepreneur, with no brick and mortar, I have nowhere to host meetings. This has resulted in a weekly schedule that is virtually unmanageable. On a daily basis, I spend nearly 3-4 hours in the car driving from meeting to meeting so I can give my clients face time. I miss seeing clients and my team, but I have realized what a magical tool video conferencing can be. I can collaborate with my team, brainstorm with clients, and read facial expressions without leaving my home 10 times a day. Of course, I am in no way suggesting that in-person meetings won’t still happen, but I look forward to balancing my schedule so I physically have time to get work done.
Self-care for the mind is critical. This is something that pre-pandemic I was fairly bad at. I’m a decent boundary-setter most of the time, but granting myself permission to relax and unwind is really challenging. Now that I am locked in my home, I am getting work done much faster, and therefore finding time to read books, take my dog on long walks and spend quality time with my husband. For this, I am the most grateful.
People react differently to situations and that’s OK. Some of us have curled up into a ball and cried. Some have leapt into action. Some are a mix of both. Some are enhancing their business offerings, some have closed up shop. There are days I feel good, calm, peaceful. And there are others where I feel like I am crawling out of my skin, longing for something to look forward to. The bottom line is that feelings need to be processed and each individual is unique in the way they do so. So let’s stop trying to force a way of being onto others and just focus internally on how we can be supportive while still maintaining our own mental health boundaries.
And there you have it, my friends. My (goal) new way of operating as we see this pandemic through. I am hopeful for the future, my business, my clients, for everything. Let’s continue to hang in there together and to perhaps learn a thing or two from this experience. <3
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