Is it Really Possible to Embrace Change?
We all know that 2020 has been a year like no other. Amidst the challenges, it has offered us an opportunity to reflect on our lives and our world… Not to diminish the tragic events that have happened and continue, there are a few radical shifts emerging as a result of the pandemic.
Mental Health in the Mainstream
I want to be bold — I believe the mental health stigma has lessened because of the pandemic.
Why do I say this? I say this because people are talking about mental health and wellbeing in everyday conversations! We end conversations by saying, “Take care. Be safe”. We wait to hear the answer and listen to how people really are doing. We reach out spontaneously to check on each other and we share more of the truth.
We all have had low days since March, and as a result we have personal experiences that are recent and relatable. We have seen people in leadership positions come out and show their emotions and be vulnerable.
Because of the pandemic, we can now identify with how it feels to experience varying degrees of anxiety, depression and know the reality that you can’t will yourself out of it. It will shift and in the process we have learned new ways to adjust our expectations, cope and have been tested repeatedly.
A recent article surveyed people unhappy at work and are considering changing careers as a result of the pandemic. The people who were unhappy felt unsupported at work. Those people most satisfied with their employers were the ones who felt most supported in managing work life balance and mental wellbeing during the pandemic.
“Those employers [during the pandemic] who have invested in their people, have supported their wellbeing and their mental health, they are doing better in these results, but also the mental health of their people is also better.”
Talking about mental health is becoming the norm in the workplace. Nice.
We have expanded our capacity to feel our feelings.
Yes, the holiday season is filled with festive cheer, shiny gifts and bubbly drinks but for many, there has been an undercurrent of sadness and anxiety during the holidays.
For high achievers and big dreamers, this time of year reminds you about those big resolutions you didn’t reach. For people who are missing loved ones, you may experience a deeper sense of loss and grief.
Before, these heavier emotions were buffered with parties, friends, gifts, and the general push to share the holiday cheer. This year, we sit in this new stripped-down reality. We are aware and are more practiced to sit in the discomfort and the wholeness of our experience, the light, the dark and the varying degrees in between. And there is less shame for reaching out for professional mental health. Here are a few contacts to explore in Canada, US and the World Health Organization.
We see that life is bigger than just us.
This year has been transformative in that we see the connection between our individual self and the collective. We see the systems that shape our society and that on the whole, they are unequal and dysfunctional. The pandemic uncovered the injustice and governments are actively and more transparently looking to improve! There are many examples right now in the news about healing Race, LGBTQ+, Gender Equality and Indigenous Reconciliation issues. Look how policy is changing by reading about these two examples: Hawaii is using a feminist perspective to rebuild their economy! And how Canada is looking to create Universal Child Care!
This is the gift of 2020.
We have learned that a fulfilled life is not about the hustle and busyness and accumulation that the majority of us participated in; all working to support the belief that who is most busy is most worthy.
We have learned that a fulfilled life is not about the extreme glitz and decadent celebrations, previously lusting over exotic holiday locations; the more luxurious images serving as proof of a fabulous life.
It is about being close to the people in our lives, the people we love.
It is about the importance of health, justice and being supported in performing meaningful safe work. Brene Brown states, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences”.
Right now, we are vulnerable. And so, here we are in the middle of the biggest meaning-making opportunity of our lives! If you want to learn from all the lessons presented in 2020, and you want a fulfilled and meaningful life — ask yourself this question:
How do you want to be as we move into 2021?
The time is now, this is the real opportunity to embrace change, when we are vulnerable and without distraction.
Embracing change has some key ingredients: awareness, intent, desire, forgiveness and hope. When you focus on examining yourself in relation to these ingredients to embrace change, you surrender the desire to control. In acceptance, you find peace and the freedom to reimagine this holiday season and the possibilities of 2021 will begin to emerge.
If you would like to make and accept change in your life, and you need assistance or guidance on how to begin your journey, visit me online at Embrace Your Life Coaching.