Donita Brown, DBA
3 min readMay 5, 2020


Holding Patterns

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

For a few weeks, I’ve not been able to creatively write — anything.

It’s taken every ounce of energy to write papers for my doctoral program, and to tell the truth, I probably would have taken a pause if I could have — but I’m glad I didn’t. Everything has just taken more effort.

Over the last eight weeks my home, like many others in the United States, has shifted from a place of comfort where we congregate at the beginning and the end of the day to a place where we stay all day. My daughters’ one-week spring break turned into a two-week break, then virtual school from home. My husband’s job changed to work from home, then furlough. My job, the job I dearly love, where I teach college students about management and the importance of managing well, along with leading a health care graduate program, went virtual.

The changes were too much for my brain. I had to hit pause on a few personal projects. I entered a holding pattern.

But we need holding patterns for a time.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Think about the seasons, specifically the trees. The trees hold their leaves through the summer, tight. Then at the right time, they let them go. They embrace their holding pattern.

Trees are spectacular. They are the longest living creation on the earth. Trees are can absorb what we don’t need (carbon dioxide), in fact, some studies show the US Forests help the environment by absorbing up to 10% of the country’s CO2 emissions annually.

I’ve embraced doing life differently over the last few weeks. But I’m also ready for the holding pattern to be over.

Here are a few tips for embracing a holding pattern.

  • Give it a name. Know why you are in a holding pattern. Write it down. Think about the purpose of it.
  • Lean into it. Know it will be over. Holding patterns aren’t forever. Sometimes being in the pause can be nice, it’s a different rhythm to life. For the pause at our house, we enjoyed sleeping later, eating breakfast together, and taking long walks.
  • Decide when it will be over. Put a date on your…



Donita Brown, DBA

Professor, Self-Care Researcher and Coach, Author, and Podcast Host