Eighteen months ago, I had a vision of doing a few little one day events with my irish sport horse JD. It had been years since I had really jumped for real, but he would perk up and get very keen when we popped over ridiculously tiny jumps, and he felt safe, so I thought we were up for it. Maybe my years of being a show horse rider were over, and I could go camping at events with all of my brave and accomplished friends?
Yeah, maybe not. To cut a long story short, I had a jump lesson, stacked it, and broke my pelvis and back in a few places, and that pretty much put me into lockdown in our house for 12 weeks. No driving, the first six weeks I couldn’t even get outside at all, as our house has steps to get into it, and the next six weeks after that I was on crutches and not terribly mobile either.
Not a good injury to have with a two storey, split level home. I pretty much spent most of that 12 weeks in our bedroom, with my laptop and phone and not a lot more. It was very tough, mentally and physically, for many reasons!
I learned a few really valuable lessons though, and I thought I would share them in case you ever find yourself in any kind of lockdown where you can’t do the things you want to do.
#1 – I got dressed every morning.
It sounds like a bit of nothing, but you know how if you know you’re not going to leave the house for a day, there is a strong urge to have a ‘jammies’ day? Yeah, after the first 2 hours, I’m telling you, you are going to be going at half speed AND you may not smell all that amazing by the end of the day. So I had help to shower and dress early every morning, even though I was getting straight back onto the bed for the entire day. It made me feel more purposeful, and it also kick started my day by drawing a line in the sand between ‘sleeping’ and ‘awake’.
#2 – I set a purpose for each day.
In the beginning, the purpose was simple, as there was a lot of pain, and some wicked pain meds to go with it, so I would need to sleep and rest often. So it might have been to write two posts and engage with my audience a few times during the day, or to reach out to clients and check in with them, and that was all I could do. As the time drew on, the tasks I set myself became more complicated and purposeful. And any day I didn’t achieve it, I just hit reset the next day and didn’t beat myself up about it.
Writing down what I was planning to do in a notepad each morning helped keep me focussed on moving ahead, not sitting feeling bad about where I was.
#3 – Sunshine was my friend.
I was lucky enough to be in a room with 3 pretty big windows. I made sure my other half would open the blinds all the way up so I had as much light streaming in the window as possible. There’s probably some science-y thing about how sunlight helps us produce some chemical in the brain, I don’t know about that, I just know that a dark room equals a miserable Melody. I couldn’t get outside, but just having it come through the window was great for the soul!
#4 – I slowed down and got clear on what I wanted to do.
I’m a high achiever and some would say I am hyperactive… So going slow comes HARD for me! But with the hustle and bustle of business and daily life, you rarely get the time to stop and think deeply about what you REALLY want and how you’re going to get there. You pedal as fast as you can and you often take every side road anyone else points you to. So being able to stop and think and work out what was really important in both life and business, so I could start to think about what I wanted to change.
#5 – I talked about the positives and I laughed a lot
I cracked a lot of jokes, and even made a bit of fun of myself at times. Making other people smile has an incredible healing effect on us all, and I found that I was in a position to do that, sometimes at my own expense, and bubble wrap suits for me came up (and continues to) in conversation a few times… what’s that saying? If you can’t laugh, you’ll cry? They aren’t joking. Laughing out loud probably also has some sciencey thing behind it, but all I know is it feels good!
#6 – I focussed on what I COULD do, not what I COULDN’T.
Instead of thinking how unlucky I was to sustain 7 fractures and a monster concussion falling off over a ‘small-ish’ [tiny] jump, I tried to focus on the fact that I knew I had no permanent damage, and that was lucky in itself. It was mm away from being catastrophic for me, a sobering thought indeed, but I knew that with time, I would recover, and ride my horse again. I would celebrate being able to lean and reach something, or get onto my wheelchair, or later on, use my crutches to go to another room in the house. I was on my own for a lot of the day, after the first week or so my other half had to go to work. He would help get me sorted in the morning, make a day of snacks up into a cold-bag and that would sit on the bed for me. (and do my horses, and look after our son, he was a legend to be honest!) so getting around was a bit tricky at times!
#7 – I used the time to network and plan
With short bursts of energy at first I could easily do a lot of social media engagement, and then later, sit down (metaphorically, cause, I was sitting/laying down 24/7 really!) and just focus on planning out a heap of things for my business, blogs, some new resources, and a few new pathways I wanted to take the business down. I began to build better relationships and connections with my audience, and in turn, that brought me their trust. I actually think my audience saved my sanity, I had so many people to connect with and feel ‘useful’ when my body wasn’t being incredibly useful for me, that was really valuable to make those connections.
#8 – I had to be myself
I had to abandon the idea of doing ‘hair and makeup’ for doing video calls with clients, and once I got comfortable with the ‘I just got dragged through a hedge backwards’ hair fashion statement I was making I then began doing short live videos in my group to share some business tips, just in a more ‘casual’ way than I had before. I realised very quickly that people didn’t really care what I looked like or how perfect the setting was, it was the words they connected with and if I helped them with their business with my Fraggle Rock hair, they were good with that.
These are all just some of my thoughts that may help you if you find yourself in a lockdown situation this year anytime. It’s not great, I get that, but you can choose what you make of a shitty situation and decide if you are going to let it be a really negative experience, or whether you turn it into a positive for yourself AND your business.
You may not have a choice about going into lockdown, but you sure as hell have a choice how you deal with it.