It seems like forever ago when I was watching TV, something I never do, and life as we knew it changed forever. “Starting tonight, 6PM, all restaurants will be closed. Schools and Universities will be closed from Monday on. Do not leave your house unless it’s necessary, and don’t visit your family and friends.” And just like that, there was no more school, no more hotels, no flights, gym-time or going to the hairdresser. For me, life stopped right there, in that moment. And the rest of the night there was just one thought going through my mind: “And now what?”
Within a week I was used lock-down life. I actually started loving it! The whole world pressed pause, and honestly…I needed that. Sure, I lost almost all of my work. The course I was going to give for the Maastricht Summer School: cancelled. All workshops for The Student Hotel Maastricht & Eindhoven: cancelled. Three new 1 on 1 coaching routes that were about to start: cancelled. But because of that I had a lot of time and space to focus on myself. There was no more stress, no more FOMO, no time pressure and no social pressure. Just my life, my time and the freedom to focus on what I want to do with it.
End of Lock-down
And here I am again, watching TV, and I see the world slowly opening up. Restaurants, hairdressers and clothing stores are open again, and we can’t wait to get in line! Cars are starting to fill up the streets and we are eager to show our support for black lives, all lives, climate change, LGBTQIA, cultural funds, basic human rights and everything else that matters at this moment.
But what actually matters at this moment?
I feel myself resisting to go back to normal life. ‘The New Normal’ they call it. But what does that even mean? I’m not sure what normal is anymore, or what it means to me. The pandemic paused all our lives and society for months, and I don’t want to forget that. I want to learn from it and do better. Better for me, better for my students and better for the world. So…
Let’s get to it then! Let’s start a life after lock-down!
One of my biggest insights during the lockdown was how important it is to be part of a community. Starting with my friends and family. I gained a few amazing friends during the lockdown, but I also lost a lot of friends during these months. And that’s okay! It’s important that you surround yourself with people that align with your core-values, and that are able to support you no matter what. Lockdown was a perfect crash test for friendships and support systems. The Student Radio Maastricht kept me sane during the lockdown. The community around SRM was an amazing support system to be a part of.
And now that we can carefully get out of our houses again, Activitree has shown to be a perfect community to find new people with common interests and energy, for weekly (low scale) activities. This has also motivated me to start a new online community for (future) start-up entrepreneurs.
Student Radio Maastricht gathering
Of course I already knew self-care is important, but the lock-down showed me just how important it is! It is the difference between surviving or living your life. And self-care can mean different things every day. IN the beginning of the lock-down for me it meant taking a break, just doing nothing for a bit. During the lock-down it meant focussing on my health. Eat healthy food, work out every other day, meditate and go to the home-spa twice a week. And after lock-down? I’m not sure yet!
I will keep working out for sure, I don’t see working or studying as more important than my self-care anymore. Self-care now is part of my daily planning. Right now I take 10 to 30 minutes every day to focus on what I need for my self-care. And that can be a face-mask (the clay ones), a work-out, some meditation or pizza and a beer!
The biggest struggle going into lock-down was dealing with my goals. I had set some very clear goals, none of which I could still achieve with the world closing down like that. And now, coming out of the lock-down, my goals are again my biggest challenge!
Life changed, the world changed and I changed.
So my goals should also change! I remember a quote that resonated with me 100% before the lock-down: “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never the goal.”. Well…I changed my goals! I don’t want to grow my company anymore, I want to grow my (our!) community! I don’t need to be independent anymore, I need to be self-determent. And I don’t have to set and stick to my goals, I need to set and develop my goals. I want my goals to grow with me as I lean and grow myself.
Life after Lock-down
So, life after lock-down is just as challenging as life before and during the lock-down. And luckily so! This means we are still able to grow, learn and develop ourselves, our lives and our future. Maybe even more than ever!
Don’t be too hard on yourself in finding your new path through life. Focus on the community that fits you best. Let them help and support you. Focus on your self-care, to keep the good habits from lock-down life with you now. And most off all, focus on all the new and exciting goals and opportunities that lay ahead of you right now!
Like Yoda wisely said: “Do or do not, there is no try.”. So, get ready, and
let’s start this life after lock-down!
If you are also struggling with ‘the new normal’ or what you want your life to look like after lock-down, find support in the student life community on Instagram @student_life_coaching or Facebook @vankancoaching or @TheStart-UpCommunity.
For all your questions about coaching or guidance, get in touch with me on social media or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Life Coach