“We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond.” ~Lionel Kendrick
We are taking a temporary pause from our blog series on the four types of conversation because we see a need to change to a conversation that most of us may need right now – how to deal with the present situation in which we find ourselves. In the current age of COVID-19, we need to be agile, responsive, and responsible – and “respond-able”. To this end, we are switching up our blog topics for the next several weeks and starting a virtual discussion group called: Zen Fridays -- open to anyone.
The coronavirus pandemic came on quickly, creating fear, worry, disconnection, anxiousness, and an immense amount of change in our lives at home and work. We offer the following tips and tools to build resiliency and cope with the rollercoaster of emotions and changes we all are experiencing AND we want to be in dialogue with you to hear what you are learning and/or doing as well.
It is normal to feel fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and more. Though staying there is not a good long-term strategy. It is very important to acknowledge and name your feelings and to face reality, but not get stuck there. We cannot control the circumstance, but we do have the power to choose how we respond. Here are a few of our ideas:
1. Choose your mindset and perspective. What we focus on grows. With the uncertainty of the current situation – along with how well our media is keeping us informed – we can get immersed in the current events and then feel emotionally drained and hopeless. I personally get overwhelmed thinking about all the possible worst-case scenarios, so I have chosen to focus on what I can do/manage ONE day at a time or one week at a time. No, I’m not putting my head in the sand, but I’m just not going to dwell on the future exclusively. Then tell myself: “I can do this!” “We can do this!” And I’ve done this before (not exactly this but other crises like 9/11).
2. Appreciate the adventure of uncertainty. When we take the perspective that this is an adventure, we become a victor because we are choosing how we deal with it and are no longer a victim. We are going to be challenged. Most likely, it will be a roller coaster ride and many of us like those kinds of rides. No matter, this is an opportunity to experience something new. What will that something new be for you? Working from home? Getting good at technology? Intentionally staying more connected to those you care about? Cooking at home? Reading or writing?
3. Connect & offer to help others. This is not a time to “go it alone.” Sure, maybe you do relish the solitude, but we’ve learned that no matter how introverted someone is, we humans are wired for connection – we find that even our cats are wired for connection. Now is a good time to use that old-fashioned technology called the telephone. Yes, you can actually talk into its versus only texting on it. Try out WebEx, Zoom, etc. for meetings but please turn your camera on. Ask for help and offer help to others. When we help others, we feel a sense of contribution and accomplishment and fulfillment (our heart warms), and we lose our sense of hopelessness. Once we knew we might be able to offer help – we got excited – and the crisis receded into the background. That is why we decided to increase our blogging and add Zen Fridays Discussion Groups. And many of our colleagues are also doing the same. We’ll try to share those as well.
4. Take good self-care. We cannot emphasize this enough. Take care of your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Getting proper nutrition provides a good immune system. Getting enough sleep and daily exercise. During stressful periods, taking care of yourself helps you retain your energy and stamina. Things we recommend: gratitude journal, meditation or mindfulness practice, laughter (James tells the funniest jokes at odd times!). It also helps you be calmer and more centered. Do what makes you feel most grounded (being in nature or near the water - if you do it safely, meditation, reading a good novel, etc.)
5. Look for the learning We grow with crises. What are we learning? How are we growing individually, as a family, as teams, as a human society? What needs to change now and in the future? What we learn now will help us and others far into the future. See that perspective shift!? Maybe you’ll even innovate something as a result of this like how to work virtually.
We want to learn collectively – we are a tribe and tribes stick together. What are you finding that is helpful for yourself, family or team during this time?
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you find ease.
We are grateful to have you in our lives!
James Jackman & Lori Heffelfinger