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A global pandemic. Certainly not what we all planned for in 2020…

When I awoke Sunday morning, the snow was falling in Denver. I decided to start my day off peacefully, with a cup of coffee, a few chapters in Marie Forleo’s book “Everything is Figureoutable." I even mixed up a pumpkin bread mix to put in the oven. After my relaxing morning, I decided to “be productive.” I cleaned the house for 45 minutes and scheduled a call for my husband and me to connect with our Doula.

I am 21 weeks pregnant, and I can assure you that I had far greater plans for 2020, too. My goals for this year included eating healthy meals, prenatal yoga 3 times a week, acupuncture, connecting with other expecting mamas and putting the creation of a new life before all else. I had a beautiful babymoon planned in Hawaii, along with a one-on-one prenatal retreat to learn to connect deeply with our little guy on the way. I had a baby shower planned in St. Louis with my mom, my grandma and friends and family from back home. But the Universe had other plans for me… 

After my Doula explained to us that our CPR class would have to be online, that we may need to sign up for online birthing classes and that she may or may not be able to be at our birth, I was teetering on the edge. When I got a text from my mom that she wanted to host a virtual baby shower for me, I lost control. And the tears started flowing. So I decided to eat almost an entire frozen pizza to make myself feel better. It didn’t work.

Shortly after, Tommy, my sweet husband, put in his headphones, stepped into his sneakers and headed out for a walk - secretly to get away from me, but he said it was to give me some much-needed space.

Once I caught my breath, I decided to watch Nina Kovner of Passion Squared’s webinar that she hosted for Sola last week: “Mental Health + COVID-19”. As one of the Sola stylists so perfectly put it, “Nina puts words to feelings that haven’t been able to be expressed.” It’s easy to feel guilt or shame about our feelings. But as I learned from Nina, our feelings are valid. 

Here are 8 things I learned from Nina that helped me find light:

  1. Your feelings are valid: even if you are feeling sad, confused, angry, snarky and silly all at once, your feelings matter and should not be marginalized. It’s so important to feel all the feels, even if it’s uncomfortable. Allow yourself to feel…truly, madly, deeply. 
  2. Balance is a myth. Find your new rhythm: some days are going to be super awesome, and other days are going to just suck. It’s ok if some days you work six hours and others you work 12. It’s ok if some days you work out for two hours and others you don’t at all. It’s ok if some days you eat organic, healthy meals and other days you eat frozen pizza and ice cream. We have to manage the expectations we have on ourselves - it’s ok to not have goals during the pandemic! Be gentle with yourself. Do things your way.
  3. Create a schedule and vibe to work from home and feel better about being at home: this might include creating a dedicated space, a creative space, to work in. You might want to create a schedule where you shower, get dressed, eat meals and take breaks (and nap if you need one!). I set up an office for myself which has also doubled as my creative space. I find that it makes me feel better when I put on a little bit of makeup and do my hair…at least enough effort to feel good about myself when I look in the mirror or hop onto a video conference call. The important thing is that you create a schedule that makes you feel good.
  4. Your clients, community, family and friends still need you: it’s important that we don’t allow ourselves to feel “non-essential” during this time. Just because we aren’t living our lives or working in our businesses the normal way, we are still solving problems for people and providing so much value in people’s lives.
  5. Right now, we may be experiencing the stages of grief: we are grieving the loss of certainty, the loss of life as we knew it, the loss of our plans and the perceived loss of purpose. It’s hard! And it’s ok if it’s really hard sometimes… 
  6. It’s important to have self-care rituals: do things that feel good to you! Whether it’s a 15-minute yoga-video, making juice from healthy ingredients, scheduling a Zoom call with my best girlfriends, taking a bath with Epsom salts, listening to music or reading a good book, I am trying to lean into all the ways I can make myself feel a little better. What are your self-care rituals? Nina shares ideas such as creating a gratitude list, meditating, exercising, cooking, being of service to others, connecting with others and here’s the kicker: taking breaks from social media and the news. Whatever you choose to do for you, find your self-care rituals.
  7. It’s important to let go of what we cannot control: “I only have control over my own thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions.” I often tell myself: “don’t let things you cannot control control you.” It’s so important to realize that a global pandemic is completely out of all of our control. Period. What we can control is the way we react to, experience and grow from this challenging time.
  8. “If only I had time…” Nina also shares that we finally have time to do the things we’ve always wanted to do. For me, that’s taking a few online painting classes, reading every day, taking long walks with Tommy and our pup Taj every day and of course connecting more with the Sola community. What would you do if you only had time?

Speaking of time, if you have an extra hour and six minutes, I highly recommend you watch Nina’s webinar. You’ll realize that if you’re struggling, even a little bit, that you certainly aren’t alone. 

Thank you, Nina, for lifting us up 🙌

Click here to watch a full recording of Nina's webinar

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