You’ve Got This!

Ijeoma Nwaogu
15. Thrive IN® - Quarantine Edition - You've Got This

Welcome to Thrive IN® and greetings from Houston, Texas. This is Dr. IJ, your very own life coach. Thrive IN® in is a life coaching podcast for you, my college student. And believe me, you are in the right place if you’re eager to grow into your greatest self, while making the most of your time in college. This is a special COVID-19 session where I’ll speak to you in regards to this new reality.

And I really want you to know that you’ve got this, you know. We were in February and everything was going well and then all of a sudden we start hearing all this news about this Coronavirus that was going through China and then it became this pandemic and it happened so quickly. I mean, this was just what -last month where it started coming to the United States. Was it a month or two ago, and all of a sudden, we’re all working from home, we’re all going to classes from home, everything is canceled, everything is shut down. And all the plans we had for ourselves just totally changed.

So I get it. I mean, adjusting to this new normal, this new reality is something that we never anticipated. We never predicted that this brand new decade would open with a pandemic. I mean, we’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetimes. We never would have expected such a thing in our lifetime. So one thing I like to tell folks is that we’re experiencing collective trauma where everyone in the world is impacted by this Coronavirus. So with that, with this sudden change of our reality of our daily lives,

it comes with distress and it leads to trauma and trauma is a big word. But that’s really what we’re walking through. We’re walking through trauma. If you’re feeling exhausted or unmotivated or shocked, or, you know, uncertain about what’s going on, that’s part of trauma, and it’s okay. And you’re not alone in that. And my encouragement to you is that you show yourself some compassion and gentleness and kindness as we all navigate this because it’s not easy.

You know, you might be beating yourself up for not being productive or not wanting to go to your zoom classes or not having the motivation to finish a paper or study for an exam. And it’s totally okay. It’s totally normal. Yeah, it’s an adjustment. This new reality requires an adjustment and it might take longer than expected to reach a place where we feel at peace, or we feel productive, and that’s okay too. As long as you know, you want to get there. Give yourself some grace to go through the motions in getting there. I just want to normalize that you might be feeling sad. You might be feeling lonely, your normal network of people that you’re around: your friends, your acquaintances- you don’t get to see them as much.

You don’t get to hug them or give them a high five or whatever. You don’t get to see your people and as social beings, we certainly need people in our lives to thrive and to survive. So this new adjustment is difficult for many. If you’re feeling anxious or uncertain, makes total sense. We don’t even know when this Coronavirus thing is going to truly and truly be controlled. And I know as you know, I was listening to a doctor online talk about how it takes almost a decade to even be successful in creating a vaccine. So he acknowledged that the vaccine to be developed for the Coronavirus is going to be expedited and they’re trying to work really hard to get that vaccine going.

But it’s just really uncertain to know what’s going to happen with the rest of this year. What is school going to look like for the new Fall semester? And I know many of you are wrapping up this semester getting ready to enter finals. And you’re just wondering like “What’s the summer going to look like? Am I even going to be able to like go to the pool or go to classes in the fall.” Will I even enroll if it’s online, so many questions, but know that that’s a normal thing to experience and I know who may be dealing with some family financial burdens.

Because of this, maybe your mother or father got laid off and it’s affecting the family or their job is jeopardized or your positions become jeopardized. If you’re working and I know it comes with a lot of financial burdens. And if you had to go home back to your family home, I understand that for many, it can be uncomfortable because depending on your family dynamic, maybe you don’t get along with a sibling that well or a parent and you don’t have the same level of autonomy as you once did when you were in college, you Have to navigate different interactions with people at home.

Yes, that could somewhat be a difficult thing to navigate, but you can do it. You might even be grappling with this idea that some big plans that you had this year have been canceled, you know. Graduations have been canceled so many things and you probably wanted to really thrive in a leadership position and then all of a sudden it’s been thwarted because you have to move out of the residence halls or you’re not on campus as much so your plans have been shifted or cancelled.

And then you might even be wondering like, “Am I even protecting myself well? I know I have to like go to the grocery store, or wherever I really have to go to. But am I even protecting myself well? Do I need to wear gloves? Is this mask even going to help? You know so many questions about are you protecting yourself and there’s not even a shortage. There’s like no hand sanitizer. There’s like no disinfectant wipes. No, Lysol spray, I can’t even find those things in the grocery store.

It’s been like several several weeks. I can’t even find those things. So, not having some supplies can be stressful as well. Yeah, that’s something that you’re probably thinking about. But I want to share with you 11 things to consider as you successfully navigate this new reality that we’re facing. One, I just want you to know that it’s okay to lazy out because grief can certainly be exhausting. If you’re on Zoom with your class and you’re on it like almost every day, there is such a thing as Zoom drain because of perhaps you have to stare everybody in the face for an hour or so.

And you are reading people’s nonverbals. They say that your nonverbal communication it often says more than what you actually say with your mouth or with words. So when you are looking your entire class in the face, not only are you hearing people talk or your professor talk, you’re also picking up on all these nonverbals if everyone is using video for their class, that can be draining. You get tired of seeing people’s faces, right?

Just know that That’s normal. You might not be able to put your finger on it. That’s something I experienced, too when I had to meet with some people for work, like every single day. I’m like, gosh, “why is it that I don’t want to talk on Zoom!” Zoom is a wonderful tool, but like, I don’t want to talk on Zoom, because I’m tired like it’s draining. And again, I couldn’t put my finger on it. But that’s what it is like, you’re constantly looking at these people in the face, picking up their nonverbals listening to what they say, and it gets draining.

And it’s also a reminder that the world is not where we want it. So much so that we have to use Zoom. So it’s a constant reminder that the world has shifted dramatically in a way that’s uncomfortable. But overall, I just want you to know that it’s okay to lazy out because that lazying out is a chance for you to rest to heal your body to heal your mind to just remove all the things that are distressing, and it’s okay to lazy out in this moment. We’re going to trauma. Allocate some time for yourself to “lazy out” or to rest

and to just do nothing right. Or entertain yourself and watch Netflix. That’s what everyone’s doing these days you know that. Lay on the couch lay in your bed, do nothing. Stare at the ceiling and just think and reflect. Which leads me to my second thing for you to consider is self-reflection. I truly believe that the world was spinning out of control. Like before this COVID thing hit, I was like, gosh, something’s gotta get like the way the world is spinning and spinning. Everybody’s hustling and going to class going to work. Everything is so task oriented and just spinning out of control, grabbing a coffee, leaving the house, running to class running to work like it was just moving, moving, moving, moving, and I feel like the universe is using this as an opportunity for everyone to calm down.

Calm down.

It’s uncomfortable in a way but it’s also an opportunity for us to reassess what’s important in life. Think about who you want to become. Think about what you want to change. Think about what you want for the world because I feel that within our sphere of influence, we can utilize our strengths to make the world a better place. I know that sounds so woowoo and lofty but we are designed to give back to the world and utilize our strengths and learn from our experiences so that we can improve the world. So I want you to use this downtime, use this time at home to engage in that self-reflection. To think about these questions that I’ve posed to you.

And to get you clear on what you want to see happen once this COVID thing is done with. What do you want for yourself? How are you going to try to be cognizant of what’s important in life without spinning out of control? How are you going to balance yourself -I know balance may not be that feasible, but how are you going to achieve peace and harmony and flexibility in your life versus this GO GO GO task oriented only lifestyle right? How are you going to incorporate the things that are important to you in life, the things that actually matter.

Now my tip number three is to journal that’s part of the self reflection piece is to write, write and write. Write in your journal, what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, what you’re experiencing, what you’re going through. It’s kind of therapeutic in that it helps you to just engage in that reflection and to see your thoughts in words. Also use your journaling as an opportunity to be grateful. Write down like five things every single day that you are grateful for. For me, I’m grateful that I am alive. You know that I get to learn in this process that I’m healthy, that I get to still work. Name what it is for you. Are you happy that you get to spend more quality time with your family?

Are you happy that you get to even journal every day to reflect on your experiences? Are you thankful that you have the internet even be able to connect with your family, with your friends, with your classmates? Think about that for yourself and I encourage you every day to write what you’re grateful for. Number four, exercise. Me, I’m someone who does not like to exercise but I recognize the many, many benefits that it gives.

Even if you do like 10 jumping jacks, 10 to 40 jumping jacks every day, it helps you get those endorphins flowing and feel better overall, because you’re not getting to go out into the field, go out into the school, you’re not able to necessarily go out as you used to. Try to commit to some form of exercising, doing 20 sit ups every day. 30 jumping jacks, whatever that’s lightweight that you can do. Or if you really do enjoy exercising, then I’m preaching to the choir, right.

My fifth piece of advice is to reconnect with nature. You probably are already doing that. Taking those walks, but making sure you’re still social distancing and keeping your six feet when you walk by someone. But reconnect with nature. Not just to take a walk just to get out of the house. Be intentional about it. Think about the beauty of what you see. Think about the clouds. I know I’m sounding really like woowoo again, but think about the clouds and how magnificent the clouds are. Think about the birds chirping. Think about the sun and how powerful it is. Look at the grass and appreciate the beauty that it offers and being so green. And again back before COVID hit, many people don’t really take that opportunity to be meditative when it comes to nature. So this is an opportunity to again be grateful for the nature that surrounds us. to be grateful for what we’re able to see and feel and smell and sense.

And I know there’s some evidence behind that where when we reconnect with nature, we feel more like ourselves. It promotes peace within us and all these different benefits. I encourage you to research that and look it up. Number six, catch up with your loved ones. I’ve been reconnecting with so many of my classmates and reminiscing on the good times and I still have to reach out to my family but this is a chance where you don’t get to use the excuse, “I’m busy”, right? We’re all at home. Yes, we can still be busy at home. But because we don’t have that physical contact with people as we once had set up a Zoom meeting with your siblings or your family, with your friends with some of the people you used to hang out with and reconnect with loved ones. Those aunts and uncles that you need to catch up with and let them know how you’re doing or check on them.

This is a wonderful time to do just that. Number seven is to sharpen your LinkedIn profile as well as your resume. Usually when things were operating as normal, you were focused on like, all the other things going on on campus, right? This is an opportunity to sit down, work on your LinkedIn profile, work on your resume, sharpen it up, maybe you get a friend or a mentor or a family member to look at your resume for you to really get it sharp for you.

Number eight, I encourage you to pick up on a passion project. What are those things that you are really passionate about doing? Those ideas that you want to see come to fruition. This is all time to lay out a plan to create, to develop, to really focus on this passion project that you have. If you want to build a website. If you want to sell something that you make. If you offer a service, like if you’re an editor and you don’t mind editing people’s essays and things like that, zero in on this idea that you have or ideas and really lay the foundation for it during this time. And normally you may not have time to focus on this passion area of yours, but this is the perfect time to do just that.

Number nine, learn a new marketable skill. If you want to learn how to use Illustrator or different Adobe programs, this is a really good time to do that. If you want to learn how to cook better, to sharpen your cooking skills. You’re at home, why not. Think of a skill that will benefit you when you go out into the world after this COVID time.

Number 10: Make sure you’re staying protected. We may get so used to being at home and all that and then we feel well, “let me just go out I’ll be okay without a mask.” No, no, no, you need to stay protected. You need to maintain social distancing, you need to do what you got to do to stay protected. COVID is not a virus that anyone needs to play around with. If you get it, you might be very susceptible to really suffering from it. I know many people may even be asymptomatic, but you don’t want to take those chances. Stay protected. Wash your hands.

Don’t forget to wash your hands after every exchange with the public. Wear your masks. Just protect yourself. Your health, your well being matters. And my last piece of feedback is to seek coaching. As I mentioned before, this might be a time where you’re really grappling with what your future holds like what is your purpose? Like, why is this happening? Will I be able to go back to college? Will I be able to afford college? Will I be able to do the things I wanted to do at my university?

Will I be able to achieve some the goals that I want? What will all of this look like for you? And I know that this is a period of incredible uncertainty, and to gain that clarity and that confidence. Again, I encourage you to connect with a coach like myself. I would be willing to coach you to help you uncover some of the challenges you might be grappling with as you are curious or uncertain about what’s going to happen after this COVID period.

I would love to help you in that regard to be someone you could speak to about your concerns, and to help you craft an action plan to get you to a place where you feel better about your future, and you’re confident about it. So I’m getting ready to wrap this thing up. I really just wanted to highlight that our bodies are important. Our family members are important. Please please please protect yourself and take good care. Be yourself.

Do what you got to do to make sure you are at peace, yet productive the way you want to be. Community is important. Be connected to those people that you haven’t talked to in a while. And finally, my question for you is this: What will you commit to during this time to feel at peace or to feel more productive? Well, that’s it Thrivers. I invite you to connect with me at thriving podcast.com. On that website, you’ll find great resources that are just for you.

And if you love what you heard during the session, I encourage you to rate and review this podcast on Apple podcasts. This is gonna help other college goers find the show and learn more about it. Now, don’t you want all your friends to have this information too? Be sure to share this with a friend and send me a message on topics you’d like me to speak about. Feel free to follow me and like me on social media at the handle DRIJCLC, which stands for Dr. IJ College Life Coach again that’s the DRIJCLC. I’m wishing you a safe, happy and thriving week. Join me for the next session. Love you.

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