These are unprecedented and uncertain times; the COVID- 19 global pandemic has us bombarded daily with Armageddon type updates and seen our children and pets become our co – workers. Our power and freedom to steer our day by getting out and about and making plans has been removed and we are advised to stay indoors or at best, practise ‘social distancing’. For many of us, we feel as though we are living in a state of stuck.
How do we survive this state of stuck? As 40% of our well-being can be attributed to intentional activity, there is a both an opportunity and responsibility on us to focus on how we can survive and thrive in these uncertain times. Here are our tips at Change Grow Succeed to help you achieve just that:
- Deal in FACTS and not FEAR
They say that the anxiety surrounding the virus can be as bad as the virus itself. Ekhart Tolle, who wrote “The Power of Now” tells us that fears are stories we tell ourselves. It stems from our mind creating an anxiety gap around something that MIGHT happen, as distinct from something that is happening right now. In effect, fear feeds off our mind living in the future. With this in mind, stick to trusted news and media sources and aim to limit this to once or twice daily. Aim to reduce your social media/ phone scrolling activities to minimise your exposure. Our minds can cope with the present moment, mind projections cause anxiety and this certainly doesn’t serve us at this time.
- Schedule your time
Our routines have gone out the window and working from home (WFH) has become the new ‘norm’. For a lot of people, WFH may have been a ‘nice to have’, whereas now, it’s imperative and requires a whole new mind set (and patience as you navigate your new working rhythm). Having a designated office ‘space’ is imperative and not blurring the lines between work and home life are critical in setting you up for success (i.e. if your designated space is the kitchen table, ensure to put everything away when you’re finished!) Research also suggests that our output is greater when we work in 45- 50 minute sprints taking a bio break in between. This is something that I have certainly found to be true.
In my view, another critical factor is to schedule your down time. For me that includes activities such as reading, walking and listening to music. We don’t usually give ourselves ‘permission’ during the day, but let’s be intentional about nourishing ourselves at the moment.
- Connect with Your People
In an era of imposed ‘social distancing’ and ‘isolation’ it has never been as important to reach out and connect with our tribe. What’s a tribe? A modern take on the term ‘tribe’ is accessing and connecting with those people in your life who nurture you, who make you laugh, who inspire you and who accept you, warts and all! It provides us with a sense of belonging which is critical to basic human functioning.
We are all driving in our own lanes, this is the time to come out of these lanes and connect with each other as we used to; aim to call instead of texting your friends. Face time, Skype and Microsoft teams are platforms that I have found helpful for face to face connections and of course Zoom or Google Hangouts are great for multi- party connections!
- Give Back
Connection is ingrained in us but it also works the other way; studies have shown that volunteering makes people feel physically healthier and reduces stress. As human beings, we have the innate need to contribute to those around us. Whether it’s something small like being there for a friend or something bigger, giving back to society, it makes us feel alive. Never has there been more an important time to align and give back than now. There are many options available to us regardless of our age or ability. Initiatives to support front line workers, checking in on the elderly or vulnerable in our communities as well as checking in on friends all has a big impact. What can you do to give back today?
- Find Joy
Many of us are over- loading on thinking with negativity flooding our brains from the outside world. To counter that, I’m suggesting ‘Finding joy’ in simpler moments; be intentional about enjoying a walk or a book. Pause to a play board game with the children or volunteer your time or effort to a cause in need. Remember all those things you have on your to- do list that you never have time for? Or what about those other projects you wanted to research but never had the time? Now is your opportunity to catch up on your reading, your research or pause to spend time thinking about yourself, your vision, your goals. Practise gratitude to help you re- boot and re- focus if you’re feeling frazzled or stressed.
We may be forced to think outside the box or re-invent old ways in these uncertain times but the sense of community and ‘togetherness’ is palpable. Be mindful of where are how you are spending your energy. Find the joy in your day. Know your purpose and Have Hope! It will help to cultivate a more balanced outlook and reminds us that all will (once again) be well in our world.
Gillian MCGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach, Master Trainer and Public Speaker. For more information, you can contact her on http://www.changegrowsucceed.com