My husband and I spend a LOT of time together. We live together, we eat together, we sleep together AND we work together. People, many people, have asked how I do it. How do I spend so much time with my husband and not want to kill him?
The truth is that before COVID, we lived in a very harmonious manner. From the minute we woke up, we had a routine…
We got up, got showered, got dressed. Allan made coffee, we prepared our lunch together and we went to work. I spent the day in my office on the phone — coaching our clients, podcasting, training, etc. Allan spent the day in his office — working on all things operational and ensuring everything ran smoothly behind the scenes.
At the end of the day, we hopped in the car, went home, had dinner, and eventually we reconvened on the couch for a bit of downtime, which was always interrupted by a phone call (or four) from the kids.
Another part of our routine was that on the 10th of each month, we celebrated our Lunaversary (the monthly anniversary of the day we met) by exchanging cards and spending some time to acknowledge the importance of our relationship.
Our routine was peppered with a lot of travel and social interaction. There was a lot on our plates, but it was easy and we were on the same page about most things.
Then COVID hit… and… things got a little tense. Our five kids all returned home to live under one roof. One of them had a hard time with all of the COVID restrictions. He struggled without social interaction and no job to go to. His frustration got the best of him. He got overheated and he needed to have the outside door open — it was still only 8 degrees Celsius outside. We froze and Allan tried very nicely to offer different solutions. They did not go down so well. The house felt like an ice storm had fallen upon us.
While the other kids walked on eggshells, they too had their own issues.
One son was moving to Montreal — what furniture should he buy for his apartment? When should he move? What would life be like in Montreal with COVID? How would he afford all of his new expenses?
My daughter was enrolled in a virtual internship program with a professor who was difficult to work with. Every time she submitted her work, the teacher was less than satisfied and did not provide any clarity about how to improve. “You need to figure that out on your own,” she would say — leaving my daughter, who is used to A+ grades, outraged and unmotivated.
Another one of our kids started dating a new girl virtually and was trying to figure out how to meet in person, which provoked a whole slew of anxiety and upheaval for Allan and me.
And yet another was dating someone who absolutely refused to have any physical contact due to COVID restrictions, even though they had been dating for well over a year.
The house was spinning…
On top of all of this, we were informed that we could not go to our physical office because there had been two COVID incidents in the office next door to ours. Allan and I were relegated to working from home — at our respective desks, side by side, in our bedroom. I kicked him out of the “office” every time I was scheduled for a confidential coaching conversation.
In order to concentrate while I was on the phone for non-confidential calls, he put on his headphones, blasted his music, tapped at his desk and sometimes even sang (although to be fair, he did it subconsciously).
Due to COVID, we also needed to make some major decisions related to our business and we did not always see eye to eye on how to move forward.
The situation was seriously stressful for both of us. Conversations got heated and one could say that the harmony that was the foundation of our relationship had begun to erode. What’s worse is that we dealt with it all by eating and drinking all the wrong things in order to stuff ourselves with short term relief.
Luckily, things never stay the same. Change happens whether we choose it or not and over the past little while, quite a bit has changed.
Each of the kids found a way to move forward professionally in their respective fields. Three of the five moved to Montreal for work opportunities, one moved back to his apartment downtown and the one who’s still with us found a way to meet the virtual girl of his dreams. They are each engaged in work that ignites them and are socializing in ways that keep them connected to a small group of people in a safe and thoughtful way. It’s amazing what happens to my mood when my kids are in a good place!
After an honest conversation about our workspace, Allan agreed to move his computer to another room — one where he can listen to music, tap and sing as loud as he wants. I have remained in our bedroom, with my door closed for all my conversations — confidential or not. Allan still makes the coffee every morning and for that I am extremely grateful. We have resumed some of our core routines — the ones that create harmony in our lives: listening to music we love together, meeting up on the couch for a bit of downtime before bed, sharing meals and spending a bit of time together without other people (aka our kids). We still celebrate our Lunaversary monthly, which keeps us connected and grounded. And we’ve re-focused on our relationship as a priority in our lives.
After a couple of months of letting my health go down the drain, I decided to leverage this ‘stay at home’ mandate as the ideal time to reign myself in, hire a health coach and focus on eating in a healthy and loving way. It’s been six and a half weeks and while I am still at the beginning of this journey, I am starting to see and feel a massive difference in the way I look, the way I move and the way I feel.
Frame of Mind Coaching™ has turned the corner too. At first, we definitely felt the huge impact of COVID. Traveling for presentations and speaking engagements were gradually cancelled and our method of meeting and enrolling new clients was cut off. In addition to that, our revenues took a nosedive as so many of our clients were busy just trying to keep their own ships afloat and decided to put coaching on the backburner. But this too provided us some time to reconceive how we grow our business, how we increase revenues without the need for me to spend my life on the road and how we roll out new programs that address current needs and budgets (like Group Coaching with Kim! and JournalEngine™ for Coaches and Course Runners).
COVID has made me stop and reflect. It has forced me to ask myself the two critical questions that I ask all of our clients: What do I really, really want? What’s stopping me from having it?
I discovered that what I really, really want is to feel good physically and grow my company without jeopardizing my physical and emotional wellbeing. The thing that got in my way was the lifestyle I had chosen — travelling two to three times per month — which caused me to start and stop my health journey every time I traveled. I felt like I could not make consistent progress.
I also discovered that my relationship with Allan is amazing — when I take a little time for myself every day. Time to think, create, write and take care of me.
Let’s be honest with each other — have your relationships been impacted by COVID? What about your physical health and emotional well-being? Do things feel stressed and tense in your world?
If this is the case, it might be a good idea to take a step back and create some time and space for yourself. Ask yourself what you really, really want and what is stopping you from having it. And… if you are really bold, journal on these two questions and send me your responses. I would be happy to schedule some time for us to talk and review your responses!