May Day has arrived, bringing us a three-day weekend and a call to support and celebrate all of the brave, strong and resilient workers who have made it through 35 days of lockdown. Some have been suddenly thrust into the world of remote work, others saw their markets dry up and had to shut their doors for a month, and thousands of essential service and healthcare workers have been out in the field, risking their health and wellbeing every day to ensure that the needs of the nation are met.
No matter how rough this first phase of lockdown has been for you and your work life, we are finally coming out of the thickest part of the woods. Freedom Day gave us a rest before the final push, we’ve had a three-day week, and now we can fall into a well-deserved three days of rest, relaxation, recreation and preparation for what’s to come. We know from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 23 April address that things will not just be returning to normal, but rather we will be moving into a more relaxed stage of lockdown. And so, even though we aren’t in the clear yet, this doesn’t mean that you can’t turn over a new leaf right now!
Here are four easy ways to make Workers’ Weekend your fresh start:
Many of us have spent this lockdown going through the beautiful and often frightening process of introspection and self-reflection, examining who we are, what we want and where we want to go. And it’s time to journey down that path once again, except this time try to specifically focus on how you handled the lockdown, examining if there are any things that you should change or work on to make this next phase more manageable. Taking a good look at how you fare under extreme circumstances is a great way to gain insight into who you are, and how you can become more resilient in the future. If you want to process things even better, try taking your reflections outside of your self – write it all out, ask a friend or family member to go through everything with you, or consider booking an appointment with a coach or therapist. Laying everything out in front of you and employing the help of another pair of eyes will allow you to more easily spot patterns and problems with your thoughts, behaviour and emotions. Be honest with yourself and your support system about your thoughts and feelings and, most importantly, handle yourself with kindness and without judgement. Whatever may have happened during lockdown, you did the best that you could in the circumstances – and that’s all you need to do going forward.
If there is one thing that lockdown has taught us, it is that people need people. Going into this next stage, it is essential to have a solid support system set up so that you will remain strong and resilient no matter what challenges come your way. Surround yourself with loved ones, peers, colleagues, friends and family, as well as anyone who cares deeply and sincerely for your health and happiness. The people in your trusted circle should not only want the best for you, but should also help you to get there in their own unique way. Some people are a shoulder to cry on, or great cheerleaders; others may be there to give advice, point you in the right direction or challenge you if your behaviour is destructive to your future and wellbeing
Take a good look at the people around you and whether they bring trouble or triumph to your life, and hold on to those who will play a role in your success and happiness.
Tip: Check out Stacey Flower’s fantastic TEDTalk on The Five People You Need to Be Happy if you’re having trouble finding a solid support structure.
There is nothing worse than going through life feeling like you’re always a few steps behind. Take some time this weekend to think about what supplies and strategies could have helped you through the first stage of lockdown, and make sure that you have those on hand for the journey that awaits! Maybe you need more healthy snacks in the house, or some basic exercise equipment like a yoga mat or skipping rope. Maybe you can write out a daily routine for yourself, or treat yourself to some nice stationery to help you get more organised. Perhaps you should invest in your self-care and book a visit with a therapist or try out meditation.
We are about to go into a new battle, so make sure to fully equip yourself with any armour, weapons and strategies that you need to make it through!
Reflecting on the past, surrounding yourself with good support, and making preparations for the future are all wonderful and essential practices, but they count for very little if you don’t know where you’re going. While this is an uncertain time for all of us, there will always be goals we want to achieve and things that we want to improve on – and the time to reach your full potential is now.
This weekend, find a quiet space and spend some time really thinking about everything you need to be doing in order to reach a place of health, harmony and happiness, setting a strong and clear intention to do the work to get there. You create your own future, and you deserve the very best.
The journey ahead of us is not an easy one, but we are a country of the brave, the inspired, the compassionate, the intelligent, and the strong. The work may be tough, but we are tougher.