Pandemic Perfection
by Tania Carriere
April 18, 2020 - 6:26am

I woke up this morning with a sense of dread. I was greeted by the voice in my head saying “I don’t think you’re doing this right”.

This feeling followed me around yesterday too.

I remember coaching my clients just a few weeks ago…
“everything is going to change, what we do and how we do it is going to shift. Be prepared to let “the way it is” go and accept that we are going to create a new normal”.

-and then the world shifted -

And I said “no problem world, I got this!”
I’m good at change, I’ve mastered resilience, optimism and the art of finding a silver lining.

I am prepared to let it all go, to embrace a new normal, to be resilient and use this change as a pivot point for a brave new way!

I got busy and made a list, “things to do in this time at home”:
re-kindle romance with my hubby of 18 years
commit to my daily meditation practice
cook yummy, healthy meals, from scratch, with no leftovers
read, read, read - only for pleasure - I deserve it!
run twice a day on the treadmill (even though I have NEVER run before). This is THAT time to get fit and lean!

Nice list right?
Seems like me; optimistic, resilient, productive.
Because I don’t want to get to the other side of the pandemic and discover that I have wasted this opportunity, right?

And because I am a best-life coach, I should be able to do this - no sweat.

Except I am sweating.
It is frikkin’ exhausting!

I’m staring at the folder in which I’ve downloaded 16 free mediation apps, knowing I will never open them, feeling overwhelmed and hearing the criticism of the “shoulds” mounting as a chorus in my head.

I realize that the one thing that I didn’t let go of was perfection.

In times of stress, our old coping patterns have a way of springing back into action. Mine is to respond full steam ahead while getting things done right. So I ramped up my writing, my delivery to clients, my virtual-social gatherings. I got busy with good intentions.

Apparently at some point I said to myself “If there is a pandemic, then I will do pandemic well!”
Which is a crazy objective seeing as this is my first pandemic and I have no prior experience.

I hear this “pandemic perfection” in my conversations with clients as they manage the anxiety of not being as productive at work, as wise as parents, as present with friends. Heck - they’re even beating themselves up for under walking and over walking the dog.

And I confess, I ate Cheesies for breakfast this morning. I did so while hiding from my husband. Which is the opposite of both re-introducing romance AND eating lovely home cooked meals from scratch.

But in all of this worry about how it should be done, we are forgetting that this is a time that asks us to create a new normal. We don’t have a baseline for this, there is no “standard” to live up to. And no, we shouldn’t be holding up the old measures as guideposts for our days.

Letting it go means I can say I don’t know what a Sunday is supposed to look like while I am in the third week of social distancing. Is there any reason why I can’t watch a movie at breakfast? Do we really have to eat lunch at noon? If it takes twice as long to write a blog while holding the cat, can’t that be ok?

A part of my new normal is holding myself compassionately and discovering who I need to be, how I need to exist, in this strange new life.

Perhaps the best I can do for myself is to feel my way through the day.

No beating myself up.
No “insisting”.
No trying to do it all like it was done before.

I am replacing perfection with a sense of discovery; the “way it should be” with an inquiry, “how is it now, in the new normal?”

The pressure to do it perfectly can be replaced with the acceptance of what is and the tuning into the voice that wants to guide me. My list can be prompted by my needs as they emerge, because I cannot predict who I will be in this unrehearsed time.

I am inviting myself to sit with self-compassion, gentleness and love. I am throwing out the list. They are a part of the old way.

Part of the new way I am creating is to gift myself tenderness, flow and permission. I’m just going to accept that we are all making this up as we go along.

I’m deleting the apps.
I think I’ll meditate on Cheesies

My husband is upstairs watching a movie with morning coffee, I think I’ll join him.


Dewitt and I are dreaming of the time we can gather again to Discover, Learn and Celebrate in order to move through our new world with intention. If you would like to be on the "first to know list" about ur retreats, please send me a note [email protected]  

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Renie Pooleon April 26, 2020 - 10:08am

Thank you, Tanya for your wisdom. We’re not only moving through this pandemic but also physically moving to a new home tomorrow. Our world is topsy turvy, my mind can’t hold a thought for more than 10 seconds, and I just made the decision to let the movers do the rest to tomorrow. I’m going to sit down, rest, and let the world take care of itself while I take care of me. I picked up my iPad, went to FB and there is Dewitt’s link to this blog. You’ve confirmed my decision. 

I hope the move went well Renie, I KNOW that the decision to take care of you must have been the right one - it always is! best, T

Terryon April 28, 2020 - 5:38am

Thank you. Some days, even down to some hours, I can sit with this time and be peaceful, other days, other hours, I feel like I’m failing. Nice to know I’m not alone. 

I remind myself, each new breath arrives shiny and in it I can start again. T

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