When times get tough …

… we make our choices

How has your week begun? Readers in the southern hemisphere are enjoying longer days, even as many of us in northern climes have now watched our digitized clocks drop back an hour. Darkness will arrive earlier each day for the next while, and so it’s little wonder people typically begin thinking around now of special events that brighten lives.

Thanksgiving (for our American friends; this is an October event for Canadians), Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali and other seasonal events are all fast approaching. In many jurisdictions, though, these events are likely to unfold differently than in past years.

Restrictions and uncertainties

This year, November marks challenges or uncertainties in many regions. I’ve heard from an Italian friend about the resumption of restrictions in her country, and the impacts on her life. Other European countries are dealing with more of the same. German readers are in the midst of a one-month emergency lockdown. France is also under lockdown, and the Czech Republic has stepped up restrictions to include a curfew.

Many people in other parts of the globe are also affected, of course. Impacts may range from financial to emotional and everything in between. Just days after participating in first a Scottish Zoom meeting and then a UK Zoom social, I read this weekend about pandemic-related proposals before the British Parliament. MPs will vote this Wednesday, mere days after furloughs concluded for qualifying citizens, on whether to implement another round of restrictions on its citizens. Independent of the COVID-19 pandemic, our US neighbours will soon be dealing with election outcomes.

Doing well?

Many people have had cause for celebrations in 2020. Some have new little ones, or other new people, in your lives. Some are finding these times an opportunity to demonstrate your value, and are going from strength to strength in your careers.

You may live in a region not dramatically impacted by COVID-19 at this point in time. I know some people are doing well regardless of COVID-related challenges. If that’s the case, you’re well positioned to keep a thoughtful eye out for others who may benefit from a positive connection. Whether you send a brief text or message, have a virtual face to face conversation, or decide to make an actual phone call (an increasing rarity, I know!) or send a handwritten note or card, let the closing weeks of 2020 serve as opportunities for you to let others know you care.

You aren’t expected to solve the world’s problems, or an individual’s problems. You can, however, offer kind words, shared humour, and encouragement of hope.

Not doing as well as you’d like?

Some people are not doing as well as you’d like, whether or not you’re working these days. Please remember that tough times don’t last forever; things will improve. While there’s no magic wand to be waved to speed the process along, there are some things you can do to help make your way through these times. It’s helpful for you to stay connected. Tap in to your networks and professional associations, and friends – and extend a hand yourself, when and as you can.

Be good to yourself and to others. Some things are beyond your control right now, so apply your energy to those aspects of life you can control or influence. You may have heard the expression that life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it. This is no mere platitude; it speaks to the importance of our attitudes and the choices we make.

About those choices

However you’re doing, you have the capacity to control your choices and your attitude. You’ll find below some thoughts I’ve been sharing in some of my webinar presentations this year. I hope that, if you decide to read these statements – or something comparable that works for you – aloud to yourself, they become convictions that prove helpful.

However challenging a day may be, we have choices.

I choose to begin this day with appreciation for who and what I have.

I choose to seek out and extend positivity today.

I choose to offer kind words, smiles and optimism today. I choose to share laughter and hope.

I choose to spend time outdoors today if possible, and to exercise. I choose to do something I enjoy.

I choose to close this day replaying in my mind’s eye the day’s bright moments.

Time to walk the walk

I’m speaking literally here. We have a gorgeous day, and it’s time to get outdoors for some exercise right after publishing this post! Take care, and here’s to making the most of your week ahead.

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