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Today I thought about two people I know. One lost a lot of weight over the pandemic, the other gained weight. What led to those different outcomes? Let me be perfectly clear. This blog is not about weight loss or gain. I want to explore weight in relation to the pandemic, specifically, how the forced changes in behaviour have affected us in so many ways that we can only start to untangle now, two years after COVID became a household word.

Weight is not the issue

In fact, physical weight is not the issue. Emotional weight, however, drives this narrative. While physical weight may be the result of the emotional weight we’ve carried over the past few years, our main challenge revolves around how we handle our emotions.

When we struggle with hard emotions, we want to suppress them. We don’t want to feel strong emotions, particularly negative ones. They’re uncomfortable. Unwieldly. Hard to control. And we all know how out of control we’ve felt at times in the past few years. The pandemic is beyond any one person’s control.

Numbing and Avoidance

So, we seek ways to numb and avoid those feelings. We turn to alcohol or drugs … or food. I can control what I put in my body. And when I control myself or others around me, I feel a (false, fleeting) sense of safety. What I’m really seeking is a haven, a place of respite. It’s not about food, alcohol, or drugs at all. It’s about finding ways to take care of myself in whatever way I can.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Anything I look to externally will never fulfil me. I’ll need more of it – over-eating, starving, drinking more and more  – to feel the same sense of safety I felt initially. Spiralling up or down doesn’t matter. Spirals always end somewhere. What happens then? I feel stuck and lost. I’m at the end and need to find my way back.

Removing Emotional Weight

There are ways out. Here are six (6) of them:

  1. Our bodies tell us so much. But do we listen to what they have to say? Remember the vagus nerve – it informs the brain 80% to 90% of the time, not the other way around. It runs from our gut to our brain. When we talk about gut reactions or butterflies in the stomach, we’re not talking metaphorically as we’ve been led to believe. The body can teach us what the mind doesn’t know.
  2. We don’t need to accept binary thinking – this or that. Consider that one way is true and so is another. Like the “Yes, and” game we see at improv shows, “yes, and” teaches us to build, re-adjust, and change as circumstances change.
  3. Talk to a safe friend about how you feel to gain clarity instead of feeling judgement, toward yourself, toward others, toward the pandemic.
  4. Journal your thoughts if you don’t want to say them aloud to get them off your chest and on to paper.
  5. Pray for guidance and surrender your worries to forces greater than yourself knowing you don’t need to figure it all out yourself.
  6. Choose to see you are loved. You belong on this earth and are connected to others.

See the video below for a visual summary of these techniques.

Header Photo by Graphic Node on Unsplash

The pandemic stole so much from us. Slowly and stealthily, we will bring it back. It starts with us and it starts from within. Once we love ourselves, real change happens. That’s when we can make an impact on the world around us and build the kinder, gentler world we want to live in.

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.

MM

I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.

MO

Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.

LE

I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!

VB

Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.

MM

I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.

MO

Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.

LE

Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.

LM

Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.

CP

From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.

AG

Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.

VB

I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.

OS