Preparing for the season ahead

Facing into the autumn/winter of 2020, we’re well resourced for what lies ahead.

We’re certainly better off than we were heading into this year’s spring and summer. We have valuable experience of living, and working, through a pandemic. We’ve learned a lot of lessons, and have the benefit of the wisdom that accrues from making many mistakes.

However, that wisdom only becomes valuable when we apply it. Here are some reminders to get us moving in the right direction.

1. Different game, different rules
If we approach the months ahead in the same fashion we did last year, we’re setting ourselves up for suffering. The game has changed so we need to play by new rules. Old routines need to be shaken up. We need to be proactive in designing our days and weeks for the reality we’re in now. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it has to be worse. We have the agency to make it work.

2. Overcompensate with joy
The universe provides us with a lot of spontaneous joy during the summer months: longer days, better weather, more pleasant outdoor experiences. Knowing that it doesn’t fall into our lap as easily for the next while, it’s time for us to make an investment in joy. You may not have a more useful question in the coming months than asking, “What will I do today to generate joy?”

3. Align expectations to your own values
Comparison with others has limited benefit. At times like these, we need to reset our expectations to fit our own individual reality, not anyone else’s. By getting clearer on what we value and then honouring those values consistently, we can avoid the trap of feeling like we’re doing this wrong.

4. Apply those learned lessons
It’s possible you’ve forgotten a lot of what happened earlier in the pandemic. That’s ok, we’re not machines. But much of what you’ve learned about what works for you (and what doesn’t) is still valid – as long as you make the adjustments now to apply those lessons. Take time to take stock on your experience. Then act accordingly.

5. Be your own best friend
This isn’t the time for tough love. More than ever we need compassion, especially in our self-talk. Rather than being hard on ourselves, we can work to set ourselves up for success. We can adjust our lighting. We can celebrate the small victories. Do the same for others, if you can.

Remember, preparation trumps worrying. Every time.

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This post was adapted from one of Aodan’s Sunday morning newsletters, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of readers. Give yourself the gift of that weekly wisdom by signing up here.