Covid-19: The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back with Colin Thompson - E027
COVID-19: Did it break the camels back?
Welcome to the first episode of 2021 for the What We're NOT Talking About podcast. The first guest of the year is Colin Thompson, a life coach who shares his experience living in China during the outbreak of Covid-19 and its impact on our mental health. In this episode, we talk about the pandemic that caused so many deaths during 2020 and how we can get it under control in our own lives. He also shares practical exercises that he uses with his coaching clients for coping with anxiety during this time of uncertainty.
If you're evaluating last year and trying to figure out ways for coping with stress, then I encourage you to take a listen.
TODAY'S GUEST: COLIN THOMPSON
> Colin's backstory of moving to China and being in there when the outbreak of Covid-19 hit (04:05)
> How Covid- affected the relationships between people and why divorces have been increased (12:55)
> Colin shares his experience as a black man being in China during Covid-19 and how this might look like (24:48)
> How Colin used the Covid situation to help people through Covid-Coaching along with other coaches from all over the world. They produced 30 videos in 30 days to help people get through this uncertain situation (29:00)
> An exercise from Colin that will help you move forward and accept the new normal (35:30)
E027: Covid-19 The Straw That Broke with Colin Thompson
COVID-19: Did it Broke the Camel’s Back?
It’s 2021, ladies and gents! And this is yet another episode of What We’re Not Talking About. I am so happy that you are still here with me and that you have been enjoying the content that I’ve been sharing with you awesome, amazing, empowered individuals.
This episode is quite an insightful episode. I talk with Colin Thompson, who is a life coach based out of Shanghai, China. He explains and shares his experience living in China during the outbreak of COVID-19 back over a year ago. Then we talk about his experience having helped himself, his family, and also his clients really overcome and settle into this current moment in history which is COVID-19.
Now, for him and his family over in China, the cases are very minimal. The threat to their safety is so small right now. However, when you look over to North America, that is not the case. What Colin shares in this episode is incredibly pertinent to every single individual in the world. Especially us North Americans and Western Europeans out there that are still very much struggling with getting the pandemic under control in our own lives. Also, in the countries that we live in.
Colin share some really amazing and actionable tips on how to continue this fight for sanity, for mental health, and really survival in this unprecedented time. Now, without further ado, the first episode of What We’re Not Talking About in 2021.
Amy: [00:02:41] Welcome back to this episode of What We're Not Talking about. Today, I have with me, Colin Thompson.
Welcome to the show.
Colin: [00:02:49] Amy. Thank you. Well, I'm very happy to be joining you on your show. I always find it enjoyable to talk to fellow Canadians.
Amy: [00:03:03] Yes. I love connecting with connects all over the world and I'm so happy that we were able to connect and talk and have this wonderful interview that we're about to have. I'm really excited because we're going to be talking about a subject that's been on all our minds and also hear a little bit about your experience. Yes, I know I'm being very vague.
But we're gonna be talking about COVID 19 and the impacts that it has had on our mental health as well as the impact it's had on expats that live in other areas of the world that haven't been able to return to their original country or chose not to. So I'm very excited to talk to you today.
Colin, I'd love it if you'd begin by sharing a little bit about you and your journey and what you've been up to for the past 12 months or… Basically, I guess 12 months, because COVID-19 would have started in China roughly at the end of November.
Colin: [00:04:08] Yeah, you are correct. Then a lot of people don't know that COVID-19 actually started December of 2019. We hear about January. And in January 2019, I was here in Shanghai.
So, my backstory, power top of dimension, I am a Kenyan-born Jamaican.
My parents were Jamaican and moved to immigrate into Canada back in the seventies. And then the family immigrated again from Canada to the US. So, I grew up in the US.
Looking at what's taking place now with COVID-19 in the US... It just... Wow. It just really breaks my heart to do a health review, but going back to my story. I went to Harvard university for, I'm proud to say the future vice-president also graduated from there. And Harvard really gave me an opportunity to really get my undergraduate degree and my MBA.
After I got my MBA, I joined IBM. IBM gave me my opportunity to go abroad and brought me here to China back in 2008. I've been here in China since 2008 and really have been embraced by this country.
China was very, very peaceful for 11 years until January of this year (2020). And he mentioned, I don't think there's anybody on a planet who has not heard of COVID or been impacted by in one way or another some COVID and the coronavirus. So, I'm definitely wanting to share my backstory.
I've been here in China for about 12 years.
I was here when the COVID-19 virus outbreak really hit.
I'm happy to say that myself and my family are safe. Most folks here in China aren't safe. I'm looking forward to when the people who are outside of China globally can also say they are safe, also.
Amy: [00:05:55] Yes, absolutely. And I think that is such an important thing to highlight as well. Because we're really not out of the trenches at this point. In fact, it seems to be getting worse and worse in a lot of North America right now.
Colin: [00:06:14] Yeah. You know, it's interesting because the news I see here really talks a lot about the US and outbreaks, but I have not seen anything about Canada. Literally, I have not seen any numbers of… How’s Canada doing overall?
Amy: [00:06:29] Hmm, that's a great question. I think that the places like Toronto, Vancouver, a lot of places in the province of Quebec, have been hit quite hard. Also, in Alberta. Due to government regulations when it comes to mask wearing and social distancing and all those things, people are kind of adhering to the rules, kind of not.
I'm in Nova Scotia. So, I live in Halifax, which up until about a week ago, we had like one or two active cases throughout the entire province, which is amazing. There's like very little spread. However, recently it's... People have been getting a little bit more lax. The holidays have been coming and they've been with family, they've been friends, and now we're experiencing more and more cases every single day.
So, we got there, we were safe.
Everyone was bragging about it. And then of course the little virus came and was like, “Not yet guys. Not yet. I'm coming back for you.”
Colin: [00:07:33] Yeah, not yet. That is… I want to say similar to an extent about how we were here in China. When this hit in January, I was actually down south traveling with my wife and her family, her sister's wedding. And this was during Chinese New Year, which is the largest travel time for Chinese people.
So, the first thing we did when we heard of COVID-19, we heard upon the news, it said, “There's something in Wuhan.” They didn't give much information, but just said, “Don't go to Wuhan because you can't get in. If you’re in Wuhan, don't try to leave. If you have been in Wuhan, stay inside your house.” So we're like, What the F is this?”
And the next morning, literally everybody had on a mask and it's very scary. That means that people know about something, or you're not hearing about it on the news. Everybody heard something which you couldn't turn the TV on and get information. So it makes it very scary. My wife got very anxious.
The first thing we did that day was fly back to Shanghai because we said, “If we're going to be stuck and the city locked down, we won't be locked down at home.”
And the next, I would say two months, were very surreal.
Very, very surreal. Now granted, most folks globally have gone through what we went through for a longer period. But those first two months were very tough, primarily because there was no examples, you know, in the US, Canada, Europe. They can look at what happened in China and say, okay, we’ll see about this before it hits their countries. But, in China COVID-19 was happening in real time.
And again, very, very anxious. We had a tough time initially, but after a few months, few weeks, we really started to adapt and strive through that time. Excuse me, thrive for the time. Not just make it.
Amy: [00:09:21] That's wonderful. And it's really great to hear that. It sounds, like collectively, everybody... Well, maybe not everybody. But a lot of people in China were like, “This is serious and we're gonna do something about it and we're gonna work together and go into isolation.”
And I know the government, it was forced.
However, it still shows that the mentality, in my opinion anyways, of the Chinese and everyone living there was more about, “Let's get this under wraps, let's fix this, let's go through this surreal time of our lives. Let's try to make sure that we protect our neighbors and our friends. And we'll move forward.”
Where when you look at... Now, I don't know about Canada. I do believe there are places in Canada that this happens. But because our population is more sparsely spread out throughout the country, it's not as effective. Whereas when you look at the States that it's just, people are tearing their masks off and going on these ridiculous-
Sorry, if anyone's listening and they find this offensive, but ridiculous tirades like the government can't tell me what to do. And all these, I believe, very selfish acts to just assert autonomy over something that really in the grand scheme of things doesn't matter.
Colin: [00:10:47] Yeah. Well, Amy, let me first, correct. You mentioned that in China, you know, most people won’t fall in regulation about COVID-19 and it will be forced on us. That's not correct. Every single person followed. Okay. Every single person. I mean that, because one, people did not want to get sick, so just to understand what happened.
After the hit, everyday, the first thing you hear about all the news, it's how many people died last night and how many more are affected. And at the time with millions in Wuhan and on the news, you would see- I hate to say this - dead bodies. You would see them being stacked up.
That paints a picture, because in most Chinese homes, you have three generations.
You have a child, the parents, and the grandparents. Let me tell you something. Nobody's going outside at all. So, you really have people who follow it.
Now, I went outside because I was the only one in my house who would go out and buy food and things like that. I went outside and what struck me was how empty the streets were. I mean, I'm a runner. It was the perfect time to go running because there was no out there. And I had never seen an environment that was so busy. Shanghai has 25 million people. So you go outside and there’s not a soul there for blocks and blocks and blocks. Not a single car, nothing. So it was really, really followed.
And I think that's what really allowed China to get past this. Now, I don't think it was so much the government was heavy-handed because they will be. I think people know that they will be. I think it was the sight of the dead bodies, to tell your truth. Because that really made people upset. As you mentioned, people want to make sure they protect themselves, their neighbors, and their family.
So I think that was the main impetus for people to really, really follow the government regulations.
Amy: [00:12:37] Yeah, absolutely. And I remember seeing photos and news coverage of cities in China, where, just like you explained it, it's just dead. There's no one there or they're all inside. And it's just this to use your word, surreal experience, because a city of 25 million people, not one person is outdoors.
Like that's… Wow.
Colin: [00:13:03] Yeah, but you know, the other side, I'll tell you the other side that people don't talk about. The other side is the corona divorces. So, right when things opened back up, literally from, I want to say from July through... No, from June through September, China had the... more people are half of divorces in any six month time period in history.
And that was only about a three month time period. So, what you found was a lot inside... Outside the system is empty. But people who are not used to being inside all the time together, they can't maintain. You talk about people who have trouble communicating with their spouses, have trouble communicating with the kids, have trouble just talking things out, have trouble.
So, you saw a lot and a lot of divorces took place due to the fact that people were inside over an extended amount of time together during COVID-19.
Amy: [00:13:56] Yeah, that's interesting. I haven't really thought to look at statistics like that. That would be…
Something that would be quite a struggle for a lot of people when it comes to not being able to communicate.
I was very lucky as I was single at the time. I had just moved out to live alone. So, I really didn't have that added pressure of processing everything that was happening with someone where we didn't have a good dynamic. My friends and I coined the term... Well, not coined it. That's a bit of a stretch, but we use the term a lot. COVID-19 casualties. So, the idea of a breakup or something like that, but not in the actual death aspect. Instead, the casualties of the pandemic, which is really interesting.
How was it for you to be at home? You mentioned you were a runner, so was that transition into quarantine? And so in isolation, something that was a shock to your system? Or are you someone that is introverted and stays inside a lot? What did that look like for you?
Colin: [00:15:10] I was salty. Okay? I'm not gonna lie. I was very salty because as I mentioned, we actually left the city and Shanghai is city. You know? Imagine New York city. Well, with less crime. Right? And people who aren't quite that mean. But it’s city. And she’s from the country country countryside. I mean, you know, what they eat is in the backyard from vegetables to the animals.
So it's very, very country. Getting out there, getting out of the city, getting some fresh air, I was in heaven.
Then being told four days into our entire two week vacation to go back to the city.
I was very salty coming back because of COVID-19. I was like, “I didn't want to be here and now forced to be here. Not only to be here, but to be inside.”
But, I couldn't have a pity party because, you know, I had to be the... I don’t want to say the man of the house, because that sounds sexist. But I had to be the protector. My wife's responsibility was protecting our baby. Mine was protecting our family, which meant that I had to make sure that she wasn't going crazy. Because she was getting very anxious.
I'm watching the news every day. More deaths, more spread. And her thing was if anybody gets this in Shanghai, in our neighborhood, she is going to go crazy. So, trying to make sure she's okay. Also trying to make sure that my clients are okay because I am a coach. So what I found though, that me spending more time with my clients really helped me stay sane.
I couldn't go outside as much.
But I could turn my bedroom into my office, use Zoom, and really connect with my clients. My clients are now going a little stir crazy because as I mentioned, they're stuck inside. And let me give a little background on the culture here. In China, as well as some other Asian countries, when a couple gets married, it's not so much out of love.
It's more out of, you know, we may be able to be a pretty good family together. More like it’s our responsibility to get married. It's not always about love. I would say less than half of marriages here care about love. It's more about, you know, getting along, raising a family. So then due to that, that connection is not there.
When you're trapped inside the house, it makes things very, very unbearable. So during this time I did a lot of coaching with clients, just helping them get through what we call at the time, COVID culture. We learn later there's no such thing as COVID culture. So me getting through this, it was either for me because I could spend more time helping people get through it and less time just sitting on my couch, thinking about what we're going through, what we're experiencing.
Amy: [00:17:48] Hm. Yeah, that's something that would be quite empowering as well. To help sit there and hold space for your clients as they are also unknowingly doing that almost for you. Even though it's from a sort of energetic space. Because I know you're not going to take over your coaching call with them. But that's really wonderful as well.
How was the atmosphere of Shanghai?
Because I know you said that you really didn't see anyone during COVID-19. But I'm sure at one point when the lockdown lifted and everyone started reintegrating into... I'll say normal life, but I don't think it'll ever be normal again. How did that look? How did that look for your neighborhood? And then also, how did that look for the city at large?
Colin: [00:18:35] Yeah, I think people came together. And I can give you the example of my complex. So, in Shanghai, you talked about China. You don't really have single family homes, right? Healthy yards. It's city. You mainly have apartment buildings, kind of like that. So in our compound, the first week you had nothing outside, just birds all day.
It was a ghost town. Then you see a little boy every day from about one o'clock about four o'clock bouncing the basketball by himself. Well, I think his mother was out there with him, but bouncing basketball, trying to have fun. Can’t stay in the house anymore. A few days later, you would see another little boy with him. Another neighbor little boy.
Of course, his mother will be out there also. There soon, you see one mother here, another mother maybe 15 minutes away. Soon you saw them talking to each other. Then slowly more kids came out.
So, one of the things I found so tremendous about this prior to COVID what parents did, kids really had no life here.
Because they go to school. After school, they'd go to the afterschool program to learn art, to learn death, a piano. On a weekend, more study. The Chinese people feel that the best way for a kid to get ahead is to do extra things. So, kids don't really play a lot of sports, don't really go to the park on the weekends.
It's more study because you have to compete with more students. Right? There's so many people here. What we found is what I saw though, was more and more parents talk during the time. Even us, we have neighbors who we don't talk to, but now we have conversations almost on a daily basis. Our son goes out there.
So what I found so surprising is that we went from not really being a community. To really, really be in a community. And gosh, I been to three birthday parties just this year, last few months, with my neighbors kids. That never would have happened, never, ever, ever would have happened had not been for COVID-19 and people really trying to have a sense of community.
So, what you're seeing Shanghai now. You're seeing as if COVID never happened. The only difference is you may see more people wearing masks. But masks are only mandatory on public transportation now.
Amy: [00:20:51] Hm. Okay. So, what's actually the situation?
I guess I didn't even think to ask what's the situation right now in Shanghai.
Colin: [00:21:00] Well, I think yesterday, they said there were 24 cases here in Shanghai. And most of them have been imported. Now, last week there was an employee at the airport who had tested positive. So, they shut down part of the airport and whatnot. And shut down where he lives. I think they said they tested maybe 70 people.
I don't know how many were positive. But right now, again, there is no anxiety here. Previously, my wife would always be very nervous about going outside. Now we'll go to the park, we interact. It's really shocking, to be honest with you. What's taking place outside of China with China being epicenter. I don't understand. Well, I do understand, but it's hard for me to fathom that it started here and we've all lived in life as if it's not here anymore. And so many other countries are really, really struggling.
Amy: [00:21:54] Yeah, absolutely. And you said 24? It was 24 cases of COVID-19? Wow. For a city of 25 million people, that's a pretty good track record.
Colin: [00:22:05] It’s nothing.
Here, if you test positive, they have a process, right?
Your entire apartment complex is shut down. Nobody in, nobody out, literally, for 14 days. So, you can't go to work. You can't do this. So, a lot of people are bothered by it, but it has results. It does get the results that you want from making sure COVID-19 doesn’t spread.
Amy: [00:22:29] Yeah, absolutely. Now I want to ask you, cause what you just said you don't know how that in other countries that it's gotten the way it is. Even though the epicenter was China. Then you interrupted yourself and you were like, “Well, actually I do.”
So I'd love to know what you think.
Colin: [00:22:48] Well, you know, when I say that, I think more to the US and to Europe. And again, I'm only seeing two things. For Europe, I'm seeing the news. So, you know, I don't know how accurate that is. In the US I see the news, but most of my family there also, so I hear things.
In the U S it's just a very sad situation because it has become political which goes back to why we had to have the whole vote count, right? The whole mailing thing. Because if you were a red guy, you want to say, you know what. I'm not going to wear a mask, going to go get in line, I'm going to go. If you're a blue guy, you bet I'm going to wear a mask. I want to stay home with a mail, my ballot in.
So, it became very, very political and very, very sad to say.
But to be honest with you, back in March, April, I said, when this hits the US it’s going to get very, very ugly because people there will feel they have the right to do what they want to do. And you can not take people anywhere. You can't take people's guns away or the rights away. So if you try to, they're going to bring their guns and you'll have a problem, which is exactly what happened in the US.
Amy: [00:24:01] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Where's your family in the United States?
Colin: [00:24:06] The vast majority are in Washington, DC,
Amy: [00:24:10] Okay. Oh, so there, okay.
Colin: [00:24:12] Right there.
Amy: [00:24:13] A very fun place to be right now.
Colin: [00:24:16] Well, yeah, yeah. I have a brother in Texas. And Texas, they're blowing up also as far as the number of cases and whatnot. But DC is a fun place to be because I mean, if you're black right now, we have Kamala Harris coming in. So, love that. She went to my university while I went to university. So it's a great term, which is in DC. So, it's great. You're right. It's a great person to be right.
Amy: [00:24:38] Oh, that's really cool. That's really fun that you guys went to the same, the same uni.
How is your experience as a black man in China during this?
Because, same situation, we saw things on the news about China and the coronavirus before it really hit us. And I remember seeing one specific… I think it was a news article about how McDonald's I believe it was? Was not allowing black people into their restaurant.
Colin: [00:25:16] Yeah. So, you know, one of the sad things is that there was some ill treatment of black people during this time. And this primarily took place in Guangzhou, which is South China. Guangzhou had the largest number of Black people in Africa, in China there. And primarily because it's really big on import export.
You have Africans from Nigeria, from Ethiopia, from Ghana, South Africa, a lot of different countries who are doing a lot of business there. Now, typically they hadn't gotten the best treatment in the past because a lot of Chinese felt that the Black area, if we're getting two, three. And the ones spending as much money outside of the area.
Now, that took place years ago, but as it relates to COVID-19... and this is one thing that I say Chinese people are very apt to do during the time. For example, the coronavirus hit Wuhan. So, in Shanghai during that time, if you saw a car with a Wuhan license plate, you would call somebody.
You would say somebody from Wuhan was here, and you really acted poorly.
If you had a friend from Wuhan, even if they had been here the entire time you stopped talking to them, stopped communicating with them for whatever reason. So in Guangzhou, what happened was, this is now... let's say this is March, April. They had some imported cases of COVID-19 from Africa and into Guangzhou.
So the reaction was, “Okay. That means everybody's in Africa is carrying the COVID.” So they said, “Okay, due to that, if you're black, you cannot come into the restaurant.” “If you're black, you cannot come into the hotel.” Which was very, very bad. What was even worse was, “If you're black and you have a lease, we are kicking you out today. Because we don't want to get sick.”
That absolutely took place in Guangzhou. Now, luckily the embassies stepped up very quickly and gave a lot of pressure for the local government to rectify things. And they didn't really move. Yeah, they should have, but it have gotten better.
But it's sad. It's sad because they were... Literally think about it. You took the flight from Africa, you get here, and you must do your 14 day day... I forgot what it's called. Fourteen day stay in the hotel, right? Then once you're finished for today. You go out and you can't get back to your apartment, you can't get to a hotel.
Literally, you’re wandering the streets.
And that took place.
It was just something that was just so sad, and I spoke on it before. I'm glad that things have gotten better because that put a spotlight on a lot of things that were negative, but that was down in South China.
And I hope that had that happened here in Shanghai, it would have been different. I hope that they would not have... You won't see any signs that say Shanghai, “Nobody from Africa, nobody black, nobody white.” Now, back in the day, you would see signs that said no dogs or Japanese allowed, but they no longer do that either.
Amy: [00:28:34] Wow. That's insane. Sorry. I just find it so... I don't know. Sometimes I'm so speechless by some things that happen. I just don't get it, I don't understand how the world is so cruel.
Colin: [00:28:50] Yeah, but you know what, Amy? It’s not for us to understand. All right? Don't don't try to understand madness, all right? Just try to help somebody who's gone through it. That's what I've found. And that's precisely one of the things that we did during COVID-19, all right?
Again, I can tell a little backstory here. I have a set of coaches here. In March of last year we came together and produced 30 videos in 30 days called COVID coaching. And this came from my family and friends who knew I was here in China. So, first back in January, February, it was calm. “Are you okay? Are you okay?”
Then it was, “Hey, you just went through this. Help us. Give us some tips to stay safe.”
So, I did a webinar. And after the webinar there, a guy who was a producer, he reached out to me and asked me to do a set of public service announcements to be put on in the US. I said, “Well, I don't think a 30 second PSA is really going to do it. How about I do 30 videos in 30 days?” His response was, “That's a big commitment. Can you do that?” I was like, “Heck yeah! Heck yeah, I can do it. I'm at home. All right? I know we have time to do it.”
So, I reached out to a lot of my coaching friends here in Shanghai. But as we mentioned, there were a lot of other people who had left China and could not get back. So, I had coaches who were in New York, Canada, South America, and Europe. We all came together through these videos, 30 videos in 30 days.
And when we gave tips on COVID-19 coaching. But Amy I'll tell you what we learned after about five videos. There's no such thing as COVID-19 culture.
Amy: [00:3037] what do you mean? Explain that to us.
Colin: [00:30:40] So, the first few days I told the guys, “Guys, listen. We must keep mentioning COVID-19 because that's what the audience wants. That's a hot topic right now. Say COVID-19, you get some views. They want me to always mention COVID-19.”
So, the first one we did, I think was about relationships.
It was about how are you now being able to cope with your spouse and the kids when the house now is the gym, the movie theater, recreation center, the work office, and the restaurant. The house becomes everything. So, how do you make that happen? We talked about spouses whom aren't able to communicate and are having issues, and these issues are due to COVID-19.
And we learned that another example also, is how you look for being able to be productive during the time. People said they can't get the work done because the mind is worried about COVID-19. Very anxious. What we learned was the odds are if your relationship with having issues, those issues existed before COVID-19.
If you're not able to focus and be productive, odds are you had an issue before COVID-19. All COVID-19 did was put a magnifying glass on things. So, if you had a crack before, it’s now getting so much pressure it’s now starting to open up. So, it wasn't really about COVID-19. It was about life. All of these things, people experiencing things they've experienced before. COVID-19 just brings it up to the top.
So, we'd like to say, if you look back six months from now or a year from now and look back on this time, this time will be a chapter in your life. It's not your whole life. So we stopped using the term COVID-19 so much and got back to saying, this is really, really life coaching.
If you're having trouble getting a job, or maybe you have trouble getting a job before COVID-19 so it's not necessarily COVID.
So, when we say there's no such thing as COVID-19 coaching, that's what we mean. All of these topics are really life topics, not COVID-19 topics.
Amy: [00:32:44] Absolutely. And I think that's beautiful. I think that's really indicative to what is going on. It feels like it was the virus. It feels like it was COVID-19 that created the strain on the relationship. But as you said, it's just the magnifying glass.
Colin: [00:32:59] yeah. Now having said that, it doesn't make the shit easier to resolve.
Amy: [00:33:04] Yes. That's a very good point.
Colin: [00:33:07] I will give you an example. There was one friend of mine who reached out. And she said, Collin, my spouse and I, we’re really, really having a tough time. To be honest with you, we don't want to try and fix things now. We want to maintain. If we try to fix things, we will go to world war three. But if we try to maintain things for the next few weeks, I think we'll be okay.
And she asked me what my thoughts were.
I said, “Well, you can do that, but (this is back in April) this may last more than a few weeks. Two, now the best time to address this. Now is the best time to go through the tough time. Talk about it, learn how to communicate, learn how to really give each other personal space inside one house. Right? Learn how to do these things now and get it done. Get it off your checklist. Because if you just maintain, you have an elephant in the room. And in your mind, you know that things aren't right. You're not going to have peace of mind. And, oh, by the way later, when it's time to address this, you're gonna have to go through it again.”
So, that's to address all the issues, everything now, even not about COVID-19.
Amy: [00:34:10] That's perfect advice. And it's so true.
I think that, and I saw it in a few personal relationships, but my friends and what they're going through with their partners and family members and children, where it feels like it's easier to just be like, “Well, when everything is all good and we have the vaccine and everything's great, that's when we'll start again, that's when we'll address it. And we're just skating on through this.”
But this, as you said, it's only going to be a chapter.
But for some people, this could be a large chapter in a... Not a large chapter… Well, a large chapter, but it could also be a very important chapter in their lives. This could be where they learn how to communicate, where they can learn how to process emotions in inconvenient and uncomfortable situations. And I think that's really beautiful that you're able to allow the insight or encourage the insight from your clients to really have that set into their own personal experiences.
Colin: [00:35:19] Yeah, Amy, I'm going to add something here because I want people to tell the truth. Okay?
Stop acting as if life before COVID 19 was the best thing in the world. You know? There was still a lot of negative shit taking place, right? So don't act like last December everything was going great.
Not saying things weren't going great, but you don't want to go back to where you were before. You want to go someplace better. You actually want to go someplace better. And two of the things that I coach people on now who are going through this... I tell them two things. “What is your purpose during this time?”
And they say, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, okay, go back six months. No matter where you were in the world, what you're going through in this COVID-19 time, go back six months. Six months ago to now, what have you accomplished? Above and beyond this.”
“And what have you really, really accomplished? What makes you proud?”
You can say, “You know what? I'm so proud that I accomplished this over the last six months.” And they'll say, “Well… No, nothing.”
Don't worry about that, okay? You now have a chance to fast forward, six months from now, what do you want to say you have accomplished? Identify what that is. And now go after that. So, now you have a purpose. Everything about the politics, the COVID-19, that now becomes noise. Not the bass beat. Right? It now becomes noise.
So think about what you want to accomplish and go for it. You now have purpose. You're now starting to think a little bit more positive. And, in order for you to achieve those things, you have to now start having more and more positive habits. So again, find the purpose and go after it.
Don't identify a year long ago. Freak that. Six months. What do you want to accomplish in six months?
Amy: [00:37:16] That’s really a great exercise. And I'm thinking about in my own life. I'm like, “Well, what have I accomplished for the last six months?” Now, I've accomplished things. I think that's a really great exercise for everyone listening to it. This conversation that we're having really puts it in perspective and maybe helps to encourage the next year to also not be as big of a...
We'll say kerfuffle. Let's use that word as it was this year.
Colin: [00:37:47] Well, you know what? I was so focused on what... Imagine things don't change. Right? Imagine things don't change.
How can you still be awesome?
Amy: [00:37:55] Sorry. What was the quote? So, imagine things don't change from COVID-19 and how we can still be awesome?
Colin: [00:37:58] Yes. Imagine if things don't change. How can you still be awesome?
Amy: [00:38:04] It's a great question. Or do you actually want me to answer it?
Colin: [00:38:07] YES!
Amy: [00:38:08] Okay. That's a great question. Hmm. How can I still be awesome? I can stick to some... I have a really bad habit of being really committed to my self-care regime, and then for a week just pretending like it doesn't exist. And then, you know, having that little beat up on myself. Then going back to it and then a few months later... So I would say more, not more consistency, but like to be consistent and invigorated and actually taking care of myself.
Colin: [00:38:36] That sounds good. That sounds good. It sounds okay.
Amy: [00:38:42] Okay. I like this honesty.
Colin: [00:38:45] Well, I would challenge you to add is, you talked about self-care. Who can you also give some care to? Right? Because we want to also bring at least one person with us. And you know, when I get a haircut, man... I feel fucking seven feet tall when I get a good haircut.
But when I help somebody who's going through a tough time or who just needs some encouragement, I feel like a giant.
And I always try to say, when you are improving your life by trying to go through something, whatever it is, who else are you helping? Because to be of service to others is really, really motivational and really makes us feel good.
I tell folks, “Look, when you are feeling your lowest, or just frustrated, how do you fill up your joy cup? Now, to be honest with you, as a man saying fill up your joy cup, it feels strange. But how do people feel up their joy cup? And a lot of times, the best way to fill up your joy cup is to help other people. It’s still true during COVID-19.
Amy: [00:39:45] Absolutely. I definitely agree with you. And that's something that... It really just adds so much to life because it's not... For me, I have a really hard time not being a selfish person, being just self-absorbed and all about me. And I think that it's a really great way to think about it.
And I'm going to be really honest, I've been feeling a little stuck. I feel like that is actually something that maybe just kicked me in the butt. So, thank you.
Colin: [00:40:15] Good. Thanks for the feedback.
Amy: [00:40:20] Yeah, absolutely. So, Colin, it's been so great talking with you about your experience and all the really insightful and powerful insights that you have that you've been willing to share with us about your experience in China.
Thank you so much for being on this episode of What We’re Not Talking About.
Before we head off, I would love it if you would let the listeners now where they can find you online.
Colin: [00:40:49] So, if you want to learn more about me… And I hope you want to have a conversation with me. As I mentioned, I am a life coach. I can really make time to have a conversation with you. And a beautiful think about 2020 is that once you contact me, we can be on a video call within a few weeks. In some cases, within a few days.
If you go to my website, that's O L I G Y E .com (www.oligye.com), you can navigate to how to contact me and guide. Like I tell you, this is not the time to be shy. This is not a time to be nervous. If you want to have a conversation, reach out to me. Don't worry about reaching out to me and buying a coaching package. Forget that for now, right?
If you just want to have a conversation, if you want to get some tips on how you can sort of be less anxious, have a stronger mindset. Reach out to me. It's just that simple.
Amy: [00:41:46] Wonderful. Thank you so much. And I'll make sure that, that website and any other... Forms of communication, links, all that fun stuff will be available on the show notes description, which is in the description of this episode.
Colin: [00:42:05] That's awesome. I just want to say, I want to thank you because you know, you talk about what we're not talking about. And it's very important that we get past that.
Thank you for the platform.
Because, myself, I enjoy coming out and sharing these ideas and thoughts and experiences. But I think the audience, they’re listening because they want to get some insight, they want to get some teeth, some tips and how to improve their lives.
So, thank you for having a platform that's really helping people. I say there's no COVID-19 coaching, but there is the time of COVID-19. We're in a time of COVID-19 and people are looking for additional support, additional distraction. We talk about if you're feeling bad, stay busy. Well, good gosh. Listening to your podcast is a way of them staying busy.
So, I want to commend you for having a platform and doing what you're doing to tell people.
Amy: [00:42:58] Well, thank you very much, Colin. It's been a pleasure chatting with you.
Before we head off, I would absolutely adore it. If you would share some last words of advice for the individuals out there that are still really experiencing that anxiety from COVID-19 and this seemingly never ending battle that, at least North America is experiencing.
Colin: [00:43:21] So, for people who are anxious, I not really sure I can give a good answer here. Because my wife was also going through bouts of anxiety when this first hit us here.
I really had to sit down and understand how to help her.
And a lot of times it's hard to help the spouse because they’re your spouse.
But I do think I have some experience here. So, you know, anxiety is really more common than people think. Outside of COVID-19 time, I think 1 in 10 of people suffer from anxiety. During COVID-19 time, you can imagine how the number went up. And there are really, I think, two sides.
There’s the physical side. We may feel short of breath, hyperventilate when you get anxious. On a mental side, you may have some very disturbing thoughts, be depressed, or be in a state of panic or worry. Because if you're anxious, you are really concerned about some impending future action.
And some of the best ways that I've found and experienced myself to really not be so anxious. One: stay busy. Find things to do. Yeah. This may be exercise. If your inside the house, it may be cleaning. It may be baking. My wife went to cooking new things to get through this time. Also, focus on what you can change.
Now, if you're anxious about getting sick, then the only thing you can control is inside your house. Make sure you have a very thorough disinfection process for anything or people who come into your house. And if you trust it, anxiety should go down a little bit. Now, you know, if you're worried about your job before or worried about something else, you have to really focus on what things can you change. Really think of something that's less worrisome. So again, go back to cooking, try to have some fun inside the house.
And, finally, understand what is really bothering you.
Once you identify what is the fear, you want to start looking at it and saying, “You know what? Fear is bullshit. So, fear is real. Some people get really, really anxious, but what is going to happen?”
What is the worst that can happen if you're protecting a house and maybe share a process that does not allow the buyers to come in? What are you really fearing there? So, really understanding that that anxiety is more normal. Keeping yourself busy, focusing on what you can change. And lastly, making sure you’re having conversations with your friends and family. It doesn't have to be about COVID-19. Have a conversation, watch a TV show and talk about the TV show, but make sure you have communication because you want to be able to communicate and have people to lift you up. You also want to be there for your family. Especially now when people may or may not recognize an emotional shift in their family members.
You want to be able to support them. And for those of you who aren't anxious, but you've noticed a change in your kids and your spouse and your friends, and maybe they're anxious. You want to give them a phone call, not a text message, a phone call, and talk to them about anything. So, if you're anxious, you'd have a few tips here. But also tell somebody and let them help you out as much. Those are my tips, Amy.