The events of 2020 and the pandemic have been difficult, confusing, unpredictable, and traumatic for many. However, despite all of these challenges, a spirit of resilience has shown up. Humans have an amazing ability to adapt to many circumstances and find their way to thrive. This doesn’t mean that traumatic events don’t leave their mark on our ability to cope with the world. As we move forward through the pandemic, paying attention to healing as we navigate our way through the events of the pandemic is critical to personal and professional health.
Healing from a traumatic event – whether it’s a loss, a surgery, an accident, or a financial catastrophe takes attention, effort, focus, and softness. Having had my own healing journey from a life-threatening illness, I’ve learned that healing is best achieved when you first acknowledge your pain and then believe you can heal. Taking one step at a time while leaning on your support system with kindness to yourself and your process allows you to create a foundationally sound healing journey. Based on this foundation, you can create a new and healthier you – as long as you embrace that it will all take time.
Acknowledge Your Pain
When we first faced the pandemic and how it changed our lives, it just seemed unbelievable. The loss of life and the tremendous suffering we faced were painful and frightening. The stress on our society with shutdowns and financial hardships was palatable, and it all happened seemingly suddenly. In its early stages, we didn’t know if our companies would shut down, if we’d have enough food, or if our families would be safe. Our only focus was on survival and making it through. Now that we are starting to better understand how to live with the changing world and as things are opening back up, it’s not unusual for many of us to finally feel the pain and the stress of it all. We’re really going through the emotions of what happened as we’re now coming out of it. To acknowledge this pain is necessary to be able to deal with it. It’s much like any problems or challenges you have in life or at work: what is faced can be fixed.
As I went through the process of first learning about my brain tumor and then dealing with what needed to be done, I know that my focus was first and foremost on survival. It was only when there was some sense of safety after my surgeries that I actually felt the stress and the pain of it all. I fought this pain unsuccessfully for a long time! It wasn’t until I embraced my pain that I was able to heal from it.
Believe You Can Heal
I’ve learned that in my life and my career, I’ve been well-served by believing in a positive outcome. There are so many unknowns in life and so many possibilities. This means that the outcome we desire is also a possibility. So why not expect the best? The belief in a positive outcome help shape your actions, attitude and can actually affect the outcome.
Although at times situations were scary for me, I believed I would heal. This hope guided me to stay the course and to overcome the obstacles-the bad days. I do believe this same principle also applies to work, companies, and businesses. Believing in the ability to recover helps create a forward momentum that can create a successful recovery.
One Step at a Time
Healing, much like success in life, is earned through the accumulation of consistent and focused efforts. Falling down every once in a while is perfectly fine as long as you find your way back up to take just one more step. I know when I was healing, I had to learn to literally take one step, rest, and then take the next step. It was the only way to build back my system. Anything faster or more aggressive would backfire-and I tried to speed up the process many times! The only way to win was by understanding and accepting that it is all done one step at a time.
The same can be true about healing from the difficult experiences that we’ve had during the pandemic. Whether personal or professional, the art of healing is about taking forward steps, one after another. Take stock of where you are and where you want to be. And then take your first step.
Lean On Your Support System
We’ve been told it takes a village to raise a child. When it comes to healing, it takes a support system to help you get back on your feet. The challenge is that oftentimes we’re not clear about who we should use as our support system. This is especially the case during the pandemic when we have had to isolate ourselves from others for safety. However, if you pay attention you realize that you have options. From communities with shared interests (hiking, photography, drawing, history buffs, etc) to friends and family to organizations (charitable or professional) – any and all can serve as support mechanisms as you heal. Learning the significance of having a system and learning to lean on them is critical for the best outcome of your healing journey.
Kindness is Essential
Any step you take while healing must be coupled with kindness and allowing yourself to adjust and learn. Take one step, and let everything adjust, then move forward. Don’t expect changes and breakthroughs overnight. Be gentle and patient with the process. However, ultimately, healing yourself is about having connections with others and offering them this same kindness and care. Reminding yourself that you’re not alone in these experiences can be comforting and help you find ways to bring kindness to others. This will help you heal.
It Takes Time
As you take on the healing journey, you’re best served accepting that it takes time. The steps, one in front of another, move you down your path towards a better life. And yet, they’re earned one step at a time. As you take these steps, remember that creating a sound healthy foundation for your personal, professional, and business lives, is the best way to build. Taking good care to build a solid foundation may take an investment of time but the reward is worth the wait: a true, sustainable, and robust recovery.