Remember you are not alone. Because what is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted. Your neighbour, mom, boss and friends as well as your counterparts around the world are all going through something similar.
Here are 10 ideas that I feel will be of help during this strange and difficult time.
1) Create a healthy, supportive routine
Days can begin to blend into each other.
A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality. Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time.
It's also important to recognise weekends because it's too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include; sleeping in/later bedtime, brunch, "treats", movie night with popcorn, a virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues, a larger project (perhaps some art, craft, gardening or home redecoration).
So, create a routine for a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it's important for you - and especially important for children - to have predictability.
2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility!
Add some physical activity into your schedule - as little as 15 minutes daily. Maybe by the end of this you'll be fitter or even be able to do 10 (or 100!) press-ups!
There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas;
- Take up a yoga practice - excellent for strength-building, flexibility - and calm! There are lots of online options. Here is one with everything from 10 minutes for beginners to an advanced practice. Sarah Beth Yoga on Youtube has more (free) yoga videos than I can count
- Learn do a press-up or push-up. Then see if you can get to 10 (or more - depending on where you start)!
- PE with Joe (on YouTube is my favourite)
REMEMBER: BEing stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness!
3) Learn with Non-Fiction Books
What keeps you up at night? There's probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There's probably a book about that too!
Here are some book ideas to get you thinking:
- Be more productive or creative with "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore and "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink.
- Think (or rethink?) how you live with books like "In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore
- Get personally inspired with "Dare to Lead: Brave Work.” by Brene Brown, or "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl.
- Up-skill yourself with "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most" by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen.
- Learn about the human mind with "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell or “Drive” by Daniel Pink
- Get healthier with "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams" by Matthew Walker PhD.
- Finally, read memoir! Choose someone you admire, get inspired and learn how other people think - and live their lives. An excellent example is “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
4) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning
If there's a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any - and check money-back guarantees as you need to! But a lot of the ones I have checked out are free.
5) Explore your Life Vision
Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action and make change. Soon, we'll all be super-busy again - and a vision might be just what you need stay focused!
Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper;
- What do you desire or yearn for in your life?
- How do you want to feel?
- What do you really, really want to be different in your life?
- What would have happened in 3 years time such that your life is spectacular and you feel magnificent about yourself?
- What's your dream for this lifetime? Imagine you're 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy?
TIP: Remember to think possibility not probability! Don't limit yourself and your ideas because you don't believe something is likely. Instead believe it's possible - and even if you don't get all the way there, you may get close - or even find something better along the way!
6) Be in the moment
This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING.
"Mindfulness@work" by Anna Black is an excellent introduction to the subject with several easy to do exercises that would work for anyone that I have used in my leadership training courses.
This is a PRACTICE - meaning you will have to do it over and over again - bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it's a great skill to have to take back to "normal" life.
EXTRA TIP: Reduce or minimise how often you watch and read the news! And DON'T read or watch the news (or articles about COVID-19 or similar) just before bed!
What are your favourite comedy shows? I am watching reruns of “Modern Family” as well as “Gavin and Stacey”. Is there a comedian you like?
Netflix and similar have so many watching options, so find something that makes you laugh.
8) Start a Journal!
It's great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:
Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.
One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.
I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.
One thing that's surprised me recently is _________.
What matters most to me in life is _________.
Describe your ideal day _________.
Getting organised and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives - and therefore feel less helpless. Plus it'll feel amazing just to have it done.
Organise your closets, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organising. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!
If you need some inspiration (and great clothes-folding tips) you could watch the Marie Kondo series on Netflix!
10) Help Others
- Check in on a neighbour or friend and see if they need anything. You can do this by phone, or in person, remembering to maintain a 6 feet distance.
- Offer to get someone groceries if you're going.
- Help someone less technically savvy learn how to use Zoom or WhatsApp or whatever they need to get online.
- Host a virtual get-together with your regular friends.
- Reconnect more deeply with friends or relatives who have moved away.
Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what - you'll find a way.
This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. And when it does, you'll be proud you made the effort to learn something - whether it's about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill - and who knows what else!
If you need any help with any of the above, I am available via zoom or mobile to provide coaching support.