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What is Your Pandemic Story?

06/27/2024 Lee Tan

Dr Aditi Nerurkar, a Harvard Stress Expert coined “Your Pandemic Story” and encourages using storytelling to improve our health which also has a profound impact on our resilience.

I have been using this story telling method in multiple settings (corporate, networking, yoga) and when we acknowledge that we collectively went through the trauma, we feel less alone and have compassion for one another. One woman had to walk out in one of my talks as her Dad had passed 3 years ago and she couldn’t say Goodbye. She came back later to thank me for the experience.

We have now entered the Post Pandemic Growth Zone and our brain and body may not have fully processed what we had gone through or the ways it changed us. We still need to recover and recalibrate, otherwise stress compounds and leading to more stress. What is fascinating is the phenomenon mindset change after this Growth Zone. My life definitely had gone in a direction that is more aligned in my values.

Let me share with you my pandemic story and hopefully provide a roadmap for some of you.

What have I gained:

A new business (Well + Being) and am now in a new profession (Prekure Master Health Coach), a new tribe and expanded my network by joining charity, networking group. I have gained fitness by walking everyday in nature (even jogging some days!) Journaling and reframing my thoughts are new skills I have mastered. I also have a new found confidence at public speaking. Having experienced my own family’s health challenges, I am now more empathetic towards others mental health – especially in the younger generation.

What have I lost?

The closure of a pharmacy that I had built from scratch for 14 years has been reframed as new beginnings to lead others through challenging times. I had grieved the loss of this business in a silent nature walk in the Hinterlands – at the start of the walk – I thought I was in a good place but the tears would not stopped at the end as I have had the time, silence and space to process the emotions.

Hard-won lesson & resilience:

I had closed one business, opened another (managed the 15 month construction too), merged another and moved another (yip – I was involved in 4 businesses) – while making 25 people redundant – some of the processes was long, drawn out and difficult. They all now seemed a blur 12 months down the track and sometimes I wondered how I navigated through all that?

How it has shaped me?

I have often wondered why I didn’t burn out?

1) Now that I had completed my Mental Fitness Coaching qualifications that I realised, while learning I was using my Pre Frontal Cortex (my rational CEO brain) and the monkey brain was silenced somewhat. I had also used ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) to help me defuse my thoughts and name my emotions. 

2) Walking in Nature has played a massive part – reducing stress and overwhelm and the clarity and creativity after is what I am addicted to! 2023 was the most challenging year for me filled with the 6 core emotions: sadness, happiness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust and I am happy to share with you that in 2024 I have seen the light at the end of the very long tunnel.