New Day - New Strength

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Last summer, I walked down to the beach in the early morning with several of my nieces to catch the sunrise. A few of them got up to see every sunrise of our vacation, but as someone who likes sleep, I opted for just that one. A perfect, clear morning, we meandered down only half awake in the dark. But then the magic started to happen. Little by little, the top of the orange disk started to show itself and then peel away from the ocean rising up into the sky. We all sat quietly as the day started.

In these last few weeks, our lives have completely changed. I don’t need to recount the various ways in which Covid 19 has impacted our lives, because we’re all feeling it. The fact that my annual family vacation and this tradition of watching the sunrise may or may not happen is just a minor side note to the massive upheaval. 

I share this image from last summer because I recently came across this Eleanor Roosevelt quote. Roosevelt was First Lady through the Great Depression and most of World War 2 so she knew a few things about seeing the country through tough times. I love the optimism of her words, but they gave me pause. Are new ideas and strength guaranteed with each morning? Witnessing a sunrise can be a moving experience, but I’m guessing there might be people waking up today not feeling refreshed and renewed. 

Thinking more about it, I realized a few things that might impact whether this quote applies:

Mindset: In early March, Paul and I were busy putting the finishing touches on our new website and gearing up to launch new marketing campaigns after investing a significant amount in hiring a consultant for the last six months. We had several gigs on the calendar for the second quarter and were ready to fill it in lots more. Obviously, that changed.

We could have easily taken a scarcity mindset and focused on what we lost. The number of gigs canceled. The amount of money spent to create a new website focused on in-person events filled with photos of people high-fiving each other. Instead, we focused on the good. What opportunities can we create for ourselves and for others? How did the marketing work we did set us up to better tell our story now?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed - especially after listening to the news. But a slight shift in mindset and re-framing of the situation has made a huge impact in opening me back up to the new thoughts and strength that Roosevelt mentions.

Physical Well-being: Early in the crisis, I read this article by Arianna Huffington about preventing the spread of the virus by taking care of our physical well-being with steps like sleeping and staying hydrated. This may help our bodies fight the virus by strengthening our physical immunity, but these measures can also help our mental agility. 

I find that if I slack off in areas of sleep, diet, and hydration, I will be more likely to feel overwhelmed, stressed, reactive, and get in that scarcity mindset. I’ll be less open, creative, and collaborative. In her book, Thrive, Huffington refers to the airline safety procedure of putting the air mask on yourself first before assisting another passenger. This may be one of those times to remember that protocol in order to be able to stay mindful of our mindset and make adjustments as needed, stay open to new ideas, and to stay strong and ready to respond to the constantly changing situation.

Comfort with Uncertainty: As I discussed in my last post before this all started, I don’t like uncertainty. Luckily, it’s one I’ve been working on because otherwise I’d be in trouble right now! Two weeks. Next month. This summer. The end of the year. There may be a resurgence. Conflicting information. Unanswered questions. 

We don’t know. Plain and simple. We can take individual actions like staying at home, but we can’t control it on a large scale. Letting go of control and accepting uncertainty are hard. But take it from me, when you loosen your grip, your hands become open to holding a whole lot more.

If you watch the seagulls at the beach like the one in this image, they seem calmest when the wind is most active. They open their wings and allow the wind to do the work. They don’t flap against it, they ride it. What if we learned how to lean into the uncertainty, open up, and ride it. Where might we end up? I bet we’d be less tired.

We wish you and your family well as you navigate your way through this time. And hope as the new day comes tomorrow and the one after that you find new thoughts and new strength as Eleanor Roosevelt said. 

If instead, you wake up and it’s one of those tough days that we all have, take care of your physical well-being, check in with your mindset, and try to loosen your grip just a little on trying to get control of the situation. Or at least focus on the things that you can control - cleaning your house, scheduling calls with friends, or planning a family game night with your kids. Most importantly, know that you’re doing okay as imperfect as it may be. We’re all doing our best, one day at a time. 

And hopefully we’re all doing it from home to protect each other.