Forgiving Yourself and Others

This coming week I’ll return to talking about careers with a focus on living through the pandemic.

For the last blog entry of the current week I want to talk about something no one else has talked about:

Forgiving yourself and others.

I think too that each of us needs to forgive the pandemic for disrupting our lives. The outbreak isn’t a real person yet it has damaged a lot of us.

Anxiety and depression were on the rise when people were forced indoors for months on end seemingly without end.

Individuals who work the 12 Steps in addiction recovery are supposed in one of the Steps to make amends and ask for forgiveness.

My contention is that even though a person might not have an addiction you can benefit from taking an inventory of your actions. And asking for forgiveness if you feel something you did harmed another person.

Living through the lingering COVID-19 outbreak I think is the perfect time to engage in a self-improvement project like this.

It’s because in our lifetime none of us has ever had to cope with a setback as challenging and severe as the pandemic.

This is the perfect time to forgive yourself and others.

How many of us can say we’ve been doing everything we’re supposed to do every day of the week?

We are human beings not machines. And sometimes the best of us break down.

Forgiveness is called for. To forgive is to heal.

Planning Each Week

In recovery as in life nothing is guaranteed.

Having a setback is often the only predictable outcome.

You might be rolling along and then something happens to change everything.

I’ve learned after living indoors for over four months that not everything in life can be controlled.

A person can choose their response. How you respond is within your control.

And sometimes how you respond isn’t always healthy.

The goal as I see it becomes to forgive yourself dust yourself off and get back up and try again the next day.

This is why in my estimation it’s not helpful to try to plan what’s going to happen five years from now.

Danica Patrick the race car driver in her fitness book Pretty Intense tells readers to do one healthy thing. Then do the next healthy thing. And one healthy thing after that. And so on.

This is how I’m planning my life while living through the COVID-19 outbreak which hasn’t gone away.

Breaking down my goals into weekly segments. Doing one thing in one day to manage this pandemic with its corresponding setbacks.

I call this the “one thing/one day” tactic.

To compartmentalize activities this way makes it easier to live through the uncertainty and unpredictability of what’s going on.

In two weeks I return to my job. I’d like to talk in here about the nature of returning to a job while the outbreak is still in effect.

Benefit of Having a Routine

The number-one benefit of establishing a routine is to feel like you have control over what’s happening in your life.

Ever the trouper that I am it wasn’t until this month that I understood exactly how hard it’s been for me to live under quarantine.

What helped was having a consistent routine all along since my job shut down in March:

I exercised every week for one or two days each week with only a few weeks of not exercising.

I cooked my own dinners 5x per week throughout the last four months.

Having a routine gives a person stability.

A lot of things aren’t under our control. “Let Go–and Let Life” is my motto for accepting what I can’t change.

It hit me only recently that my old routine wasn’t working pre-pandemic. Post-pandemic I was given the hidden opportunity to make changes I might not have made before.

Having to “put out fires” and respond to repeated “emergencies” is no way to live our lives.

By establishing a routine we take back control over what happens in any given week.

Inside of the unpredictability of the COVID-19 outbreak is indeed a silver lining for all of us:

The ability to reclaim our power as individuals living our lives.

My book-publishing goals have been put on hold. Yet inside of this dashed dream I take joy in keeping the 3 blogs.

My intention is that readers can learn from my insight and observations.

Hope is called for. Optimism is called for.

A better day lies ahead. I firmly believe this.

Step 4 – Persevere

I’ve started Step 4 of the 90-day action plan. This is the Persevere step.

For going on four months I was forced indoors because of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City.

New York State went from having the highest number of cases to having the lowest infection rate as of today.

My goal had been to use my paycheck to buy food. Which I was able to do for the duration of Step 3 Perspire.

Living indoors I wasn’t tempted to buy things impulsively that I didn’t need.

Today and in the coming four weeks this is when I’m supposed to use tactics to persevere in maintaining this goal.

After I publish Working Assets my goal is to publish a personal finance book for peers.

To feel like you have control over the direction of your life is imperative. To have control over what you choose to spend money on is the first step in gaining economic freedom.

A shift in behavior can create a corresponding mental shift. And two goals can co-exist at once. Like my goal of cooking my own dinners 5x per week and creating on Sunday a routine for the coming week.

By relaying in this blog my progress with my own goals I strive to empower readers to tackle their own objectives.

To create lasting change you and I need to be able to maintain the new behavior for the long-term.

I will talk in the next blog entry about the number-one benefit of establishing a routine in a time like this pandemic and beyond.

Creating a Weekly Routine

I find that imposing a structure to each week is a way to feel like you’re in control.

Creating a routine on Sunday for the coming week is my strategy for getting through the pandemic and beyond.

Automating recurring tasks can help.

I have my groceries delivered the same day every week. I budget in a set amount to spend on this food delivery so that the cost doesn’t fluctuate.

As I might have talked about before in here and in my Flourish blog it’s imperative to take care of your mental and physical health in a time like the pandemic.

The outbreak is still in effect in most cities and towns in America.

If you ask me this is the perfect time to create a routine.

I recommend the Julie Morgenstern book Time Management from the Inside Out 2nd Edition. She gives readers ideas for breaking each day into time zones.

In the coming blog entries I”m going to talk about setting up a weekly routine in more detail.

In August I would like to return to career topics.

Accounting for Time Off the Job

A gap in employment due to COVID-19 doesn’t need to be accounted for.

Time off before the pandemic–before March 2020–can be talked about.

It helps to have done volunteer work, learned computer skills, or otherwise been active during the time you weren’t working.

Even caring for an ill family member is a justified reason for a gap.

Should you have a mental illness and not have been doing anything while unemployed:

Doing volunteer work and better yet volunteer work linked to the job you want to get can help.

Doing an unpaid internship while you’re collecting government disability benefits makes sense too.

Log on to Idealist or VolunteerMatch or Internships for search options.

Strategies for Resiliency

In the webinar on managing stress the instructor talked about these things as well:

Building resiliency happens when we are able to feel we’re doing the best we can.

You might not feel like you have control. In fact I believe each of us has more control than we think we do.

My strategy has been to re-frame what I think about a situation or circumstance in my life.

Though the situation or circumstance might not change right now or ever I find that once I change how I view what’s going on it’s easier to cope with.

One strategy for resiliency is to ask what do you want to keep in your life and what do you want to discard.

Setting short-term goals and obtaining support for this is critical.

In the time of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak [which has not ended] I have set only two short-term goals.

Setting up a new weekly routine is my current objective.

I’ll end here by saying what turned around my recovery for the better was when I changed what I thought about having an illness.

Viewing what happened to me as the catalyst for finding my life’s purpose helped me put things in perspective–another strategy for resiliency–maintaining perspective..

Bouncing Back

Last week I attended a webinar on managing stress in a time like the pandemic we’re living through today.

It was said that the art of bouncing back is the ability to modify thoughts actions and behaviors as needed in order to succeed.

The goal is to focus on your zone of control to engage in behaviors that build resilience.

The FORCE of resiliency is comprised of:

Flexibility

Optimism

Resourcefulness

Curiosity

Empathy

To be curious about alternatives to choose from as options to employ strikes a chord with me.

In short keeping an open mind and trying a variety of techniques to see what works.

For too long I’ve put off starting the art practice I want to have. I might have talked in here before about having a practice:

A culinary practice. An exercise practice. And for me I’ve wanted for years to have an art practice.

Seeing how you can impose a structure to your routine could help if you ask me.

I find myself with two and three hour chunks of time. Breaking up the day into time zones for activities can help.

Julie Morgenstern wrote about this in her book Time Management from the Inside Out.

How can any of us bounce back when we feel like we’re adrift with no anchor?

Resiliency requires that you first acknowledge where you are and what capabilities you have right now.

The metaphor is that of “ducks”–where like a duck you have everything together on the surface and underneath you’re pedaling with challenges.

I’ve had my share of challenges since March when my day job shut down. I’m glad we have returned to work this month.

Most people bluff. It’s rare that a person is outspoken about struggling. Maybe you don’t want to appear weak in a country–America–where the myth of rugged individualism persists.

Though I’ve struggled I can vouch for the benefits of cultivating the FORCE of resiliency.

Empathy is called for now more than ever in society.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk more about strategies for resiliency.

Summering in Place

I would rather celebrate Juneteenth than the Fourth of July.

No–I don’t like barbecues because I don’t eat hot dogs and hamburgers. Nor do I like sitting around a patio table doing nothing but talking.

A friend invited himself to my house. On tap: a salad and green beans and chicken cutlets. A lemon pie for dessert.

While the outbreak continues I will talk in here more about goal-setting and bouncing back from a struggle.

I’m set to attend a Zoom meeting on resume and career help during the pandemic when people are losing jobs.

Will give the details in here about what I learn. As well I attended a webinar on managing stress. I’ll share these tactics next week.

For readers everywhere I wish you buona salute that is good health on the Fourth of July.

As Italians say when we raise our glasses in a toast: Salut!