Can you feel the uptick in stress? In you? In the people around you?
I wanted to write you a quick note to acknowledge the stress that many of us are experiencing and remind you to continue to find the good in change. Embrace uncertainty. Help others. Be a global citizen. Be compassionate. Be strong. But I think you already know that. You’re likely already working to the best of your best abilities during this time of high stress.
So I thought I’d take a few minutes to talk through how I’m framing the global shift we’re all experiencing.
We are in hand-to-hand combat with an invisible and real threat. While there is a bevy of behaviors that our medical world is suggesting — like social distancing and frequent hand washing — we’re not yet addressing the psychological aspects.
Chronic stress can compromise your immune system. Your psychological framework and mental skills are your tools for managing stress. The more dynamic your inner-skills, the better your immune system can work to combat pathogens like COVID-19.
How? Work more from love and compassion, not from fear.
We need each other during this time of high stress and uncertainty. The coronavirus is forcing the global community to come together and re-connect with purpose. But this new way of life (i.e., working and schooling from home, avoiding contact with others, etc.) can become overwhelming and downright scary for some.
If you’re rolling with the required adjustments right now — nice work. It’s a powerful demonstration of the inner-work you’ve put in to be able to “be you” under high-stress conditions. Take this time to do two things:
1) Simply be grounded, be compassionate, and continue to be optimistically curious when you’re around others who are not able to do so. It’s a massive gift.
2) Share the mental skills you’ve been investing in with others to be able to adjust to this unfolding, unpredictable world.
If you find yourself struggling more than you’d like — here are a few quick reminders of what you can do right now:
1) Label emotions. It’s a skill. When you notice a feeling, simply label it.
2) Be where your feet are. Check into “this” moment. Bet you’re probably ok if you really took a moment to reflect.
3) Talk it out. Explaining how you’re feeling with friends and trained professionals can help to shift perspective and feel more connected.
4) Write it out. If talking isn’t your thing, spend time journaling to make sense of what you’re feeling and the thoughts that are working for you (and not working for you). Reflect on the person you want to be, your life purpose, the goals you have for this year. You know the drill…
5) Practice mindfulness — now’s the time. You’ve been wanting to meditate, right? You know the proven benefits (in health, parenting, performance, sleep, and more). You also know it’s a path toward wisdom. Commit to anything from one to twenty minutes a day. You pick 😊
6) Eat well. Invest in high-quality foods, leafy vegetables, superfoods, etc.
7) Move well. Prioritize healthily movements during your transition phase. Yoga, Tai-Chi, Pilates. Go on a brisk walk or an intense run. Find a digital coach for at-home resistance training.
8) Laugh well, and play, play, play. Find ways to express joy: work on puzzles with the kids, reminisce about fun times, or watch movies that make you belly laugh (or at least get the corners of your lips to turn upward).
9) Sleep well. Make it a priority. Your immune system and the rest of the world are counting on you here.
10) See others. Really see them. Spend the time to see and feel how others are doing, even if you can’t be physically near them in this time. Commit to the courage to reflect back how you imagine they’re doing. Be open for them work at that same level of care with you, too.
11) Be Grateful. Take a moment to write down a list of people you want to connect with and jot down what you’ve always wanted to thank them for — how they’ve helped you become the person you are today. I double-dog dare you to call them and share.
13) Read the time-tested books. Here are a few of my favorites right now.
14) First thoughts. Make a decision on what you’d like your first thoughts to be. Write them down. Build a checklist. Before you get out of bed, how do you want to start your thinking patterns? For me, it’s gratitude and a quick intention to be there for others.
15) Love. It’s a verb; do it… a lot.
16) Smile. It’s amazing how this works.
17) Explore. What is amazing right now? What could be amazing?
18) One Infinity (the numbers 1 and 8). We’re all trying to sort it out. Life is a mystery; love the mystery, and love the part you play.
And, if you’re really struggling, get with a professional. In my humble opinion, psychology is one of the most beautiful sciences; its primary mission to help humanity flourish. Here’s a resource if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Simple Joys, My Friend.