How can we adapt to new circumstances in the virus reality?
I happened to find myself in completely new circumstances many times in the past. I’ve been moving around a lot and easily stepping out of my comfort zone. However, the biggest challenge I faced so far in terms of major lifestyle changes was moving from Warsaw to Shanghai in 2012. Imagine that for a few seconds, you could put yourself in the shoes of a European girl in her thirties, blond and over 180 cm tall, which due to some life opportunities finds herself in China. Does it sound exciting or scary to you? I consider myself a bold person and open to experience in every facet of my life, so I took it as an opportunity, and I was truly awed and inspired by the many culture differences. It was hard as hell at times and probably there’s been more downs than ups, but I am sure it made me learn, grow and adapt to the changes of life. I had to reinvent myself in the new conditions and decide whether I would fail or thrive. I was most challenged by the language and culture barrier in my professional life but little by little I made friends, I networked, I started selling my bags in various pop ups, I found an agent who set up my online shop in Chinese on WeChat, I registered my trademark in China and I was even featured on a local magazine’s cover for expats. I made myself busy and I was expanding fast until the next transfer when the new reinventing process started all over again.
Reinventing yourself is about shifting the way you think in order to accept reality without interfering, and to notice opportunities rather than setbacks. You can’t control the outer world. Even though you might have had an impression that you are in charge of things being under your control, it’s an illusion. You can’t change the reality, you can change your attitude though and remain flexible to whatever life throws your way. And while there’s no guarantee that reinventing yourself will lead to more happiness, better health or more satisfaction with life, it will at least give you a learning experience.
Reinventing yourself doesn’t require you to change things on the outside. Instead, you might make a few changes on the inside. We happened to face an unprecedented situation with the virus affecting everyone’s lives and leading to a global reassessment of values and economic crisis. How can we adjust accordingly to the uneasy and uncertain times? Here are some guidelines that you might find useful. They are based on my personal experience and reflection so take whatever resonates with you and it’s okay if you don’t find anything for yourself at the moment.
- Shift your attitude. You don’t necessarily need to do anything to reinvent yourself – at least not at first. Start by shifting the way you think. Developing an attitude of gratitude or choosing self-compassion may be the best way to transform your world. Be grateful for what you have and don’t try to control reality. You don’t see the big picture yet. Zoom out and trust in creating a positive change post crisis. Even the most challenging change can be a new beginning and it can open the doors to help you more deeply understand, learn or live a more fulfilling life.
- Embrace change. Make bold moves if you feel ready or if life forced you to change your circumstance. Don’t stick with the status quo if you don’t feel comfortable. Consider the above. Women have been reinventing themselves for decades – they just didn’t necessarily call it that when they went to work in factories while the men were at war.
- Embrace spirituality. Not religion. Spirituality. Sounds too new-agey to you? It’s just words. It doesn’t have to involve some sort of spiritual awakening or rebirthing of your inner child. Do what work best for you. I recommend meditation. It works for everyone and it’s free.
- Change a habit. Whether you want to go from being a couch potato to a fitness guru or you want to give up smoking, identify habits you’d like to change. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Pressure creates tensions. You might also change your habit to judge others.
- Develop a new hobby. Learn a new skill. A new hobby or resurrecting the one you’ve neglected can bring out a new side of you. Take piano lessons, learn reiki or discover how to build a website. Doing new things or doing things differently might be the key to self-awareness.
- Treat yourself with kindness and self-compassion. Always. Despite the outside circumstances.