How I’m living, feeling fulfilled, and not just surviving lockdown…
Hey there, happy Monday! My name’s Charli and I’m an Account Director at Experience Engine. My favourite things are running, snowboarding and holidays in far away, hot, tropical places. All of which have come to a serious halt due to the C-word, except running!
Firstly, for those of you who don’t know me, I’m always busy, love having a routine and love embracing new challenges and experiences. Now, let me tell you a little bit about me and my past, how I’ve come to where I am today, how lockdown has impacted me and what I’m doing about it.
A number of years ago, I was in a very dark place, I felt extremely low and didn’t know how to get out of it. I was in a job that I didn’t feel passionate about and that didn’t interest me, but I knew what I was doing and I was comfortable so I had no interest in moving as I didn’t want unnecessary stress. Prior to this, I used to have so much energy for life and strived to achieve the best from work to sports to friendships but I had become numb and struggled to get through each day, I didn’t want to go beyond my comfort zone so I sought help. Let me tell you, this was not an easy or quick decision, I didn’t want to be judged and only within the last year or so have I become confident speaking about it.
Fast forward a couple of years and with a heck of a lot of hard work and support from professionals and loved ones, I started regaining my focus and was re-discovering my love for life. The motivation I had lost was back and stronger than ever. I joined Dragons Running Club in Yeadon and fought my challenging mind to go to just the next lamp post before giving up, you know that feeling, right? Now, I’m training for a marathon – how did that happen? Like I said before, I love a challenge! The fact that I am able to work in a very busy agency and role whilst training for a marathon is truly helped and actually encouraged by our incredible MD Julie who tells me to stop working and go running – thank you!
I found an industry and career that I love and one which doesn’t give me the fear of dread on a Sunday night preparing for the working week but instead gives me motivation and drive. I enjoy getting up, being in the office surrounded by my team and delivering exceptional campaigns for our clients. It’s busy, it’s fast paced and it can be pretty damn stressful but I have found my coping mechanism that is running and couldn’t imagine it any other way!
Come March 2020, Covid-19 hit us. We had to work from home and the Government enforced measures to prevent the spread. Immediately, I panicked. My team know I hate working from home and would much rather be in the office. It felt like a worst nightmare and I was really worried how this was going to impact my mental health. I sat and I cried, the memories started flooding back from when I was at an all-time low. It took me a good few weeks to accept what was happening around me and for some it may have taken or is taking longer. The first step is accepting what is happening and this can take time, however long that may be.
Once I had accepted the situation, it became a lot easier and day by day, I have felt stronger and taken on a little more. I set myself a routine and a daily to-do list to remain focused and not just sit on the sofa all day, which is easily done! I continue to get up early, wash and get dressed, have my breakfast then make my list and crack on. This to-do list contains things such as ‘go out for a run’ and ‘read for 1 hour’ but ticking them off gives a great feeling of fulfilment and I hold myself to doing them. I make sure there are a range of things to do and keep me focused, usually allowing around 1 hour for each one.
One thing I do enjoy is learning and this is something I have also incorporated into my daily to-do list. I am using my time to work on personal development through reading books, joining webinars and watching Ted Talks clips to name a few. I am also currently studying for a Certificate in Stress Management and I have just been accepted on EventWell’s new Mentoring programme to be a Mentor for Stress Management. With my own personal experience, my passion for helping and supporting people along with my enjoyment for learning, I feel that this is a perfect opportunity for me to pull all of these things together.
So if you’re struggling to come to terms with this crazy situation or perhaps feeling a little off track, why not try one of my top tips for feeling fulfilled during lockdown…
Write a daily to-do list
Keep it realistic, write small tasks and tick them off as you go. It could be as simple as ‘drink 2 litres of water’ or ‘call friends to check in on them’ – anything to give you some structure.
Go out for your daily exercise – walk, run, skip – whatever you need
Fresh air is so important for a healthy mind, I prefer early or late when it’s quieter and I’ve even got Toby (my Beagle) running a regular 3 miles with me!
Spend time outdoors in your garden – or just sit at the front door
The light and warmth of the sun makes you feel buoyant and lifts your mood.
Review your future, set your vision & goals
Now is the perfect time to review which parts of your life you want to continue and which you want to leave behind. I’m currently a first year Mentee with Elevate Mentoring and we had a training session on setting your visions and goals along with the importance of them. Give it a go, it’s definitely given me some more focus! There’s also lots of free courses online to help you achieve your goals, take a look.
Remain in contact with loved ones
Now more than ever, it is so important to check in with your friends, family, colleagues, neighbours – you could even write a letter and pop it in the post. It’s a lovely feeling to receive post and I’m sure your loved ones will appreciate it and be delighted to hear from you.
I guess what I really want to say is everyone is dealing with this in their own way, it’s something which we have never experienced before nor people in the generation before us. Some people will go beyond the norm and keep themselves busy when facing a challenging situation whilst some people will slow down and need rest. Both of these are completely valid and respectable ways to cope. Neither is right nor wrong and what I have explained, is my way. If my way can give you even a little inspiration or if you simply enjoyed reading this, then that makes me happy.