Updated: Oct 20
By Monika Becker (As seen in the May issue of the APeeling Digital Magazine)
7 Tips to Do Well in Times of Crisis
Have you ever lived through a crisis like COVID-19 before? I have not. While we are socially distanced and further apart than ever, we are forced to get up really close and personal with ourselves and the people we live with … and that’s not necessarily easy, especially in times of uncertainty and upheaval. It can be a huge challenge and/or a tremendous gift.
We have no roadmap for this. We don’t know how to deal with it, how long it will take, or what our life will look like in a week, a month, or a year from now. Everything is different now, our life has changed dramatically, and we just do not know what our future will hold. Changes of that magnitude can be hugely unsettling and scary, and many people are facing big emotions: desperation, stress, anger, uncertainty, overwhelm, fear, and helplessness in the face of this invisible force of nature that is keeping our world in check right now. This is a big deal for many of us. And, even in a situation that seems to be totally out of our control and so overwhelming, there ARE things you can do to help yourself and make your life a little better again. Here’s a list of 7 things to keep you as healthy, grounded, and positive as possible.
1. Stick to a Routine
Design a daily schedule and live by it. A schedule provides you with structure and a sense of solidity, control, and accomplishment in otherwise uncertain times. For example, stick to regular times to get up, eat, exercise, work (if you are working from home), and connect with your loved ones. Make sure to include some variety, as well as abundant time for self-care and fun activities.
For me personally, it looks like having 3 (mostly healthy) meals a day, working more or less 8 hours per day, going for walks, phone calls with friends, and play time with my cat. Then, I allow myself to watch a video at night, which is a relaxing way for me to close off the day.
2.Get out in the fresh air every day
I don’t know what I would do if I could not at least smell and feel the cool air on my skin every day. Whether it’s a tiny stroll through our backyard, an evening walk with my friend, or a 3-hour hike on the weekend, time in the outdoors is one of the most grounding and calming experiences that exist for me. It’s one of my top 3 ‘sanity tools’ for sure.
In case you don’t want to be around too many people, you can go out early in the morning or later at night when fewer people are out and about. And if you can’t go out, open the window and consciously breathe in the fresh air. Enjoy!
3.Connect with others daily
Not all of us are used to being at home so much and being isolated. Connecting to our friends and family can be an important lifeline. So I invite you to stay connected through online messages or virtual meetings, or a simple phone call. Exchange help and support with the people that matter the most to you! I live by myself and am generally really fine with it. However, I too need human connection. As much as I like my own company, it’s essential for me to connect with my friends/family, share my thoughts or daily experiences, crack a joke, or play an online game.
4.Take extra good care of yourself
This includes tending to all aspects of your health and well-being, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. From getting enough sleep and eating well to acknowledging and expressing your emotions, from engaging in stimulating conversations and joking with your friends, to questioning your purpose and making sense of your life – it’s all part of your well-being and health. Maybe you can’t tackle all aspects at the same time? That’s OK! Simply start by picking the area that’s most important to you and begin with something small in that area.
Let me add a special note about your emotional wellbeing. How ARE you feeling? Many people are experiencing feeling stressed, angry, depressed, sad, afraid, or uncertain.
All these are normal feelings given the situation.
How about YOU? Are you aware of and able to express your feelings?
Please do your very, very best to NOT suppress your emotions but find a way that works for us to express and release them: Talk to a trusted friend, your partner or your therapist, write in a journal, or use self-help tools such as the Dalian Method, for example. I have been using the Dalian Method for four years now, and it has been working for me like an ‘Anti-Virus program for my life’. It is the most effective tool I know when it comes to acknowledging and permanently releasing the emotions that are in my way of living my life joyfully and freely. Since I worked intensively with the Dalian Method before the pandemic, I am in the calm, peaceful, and mostly positive state that I find myself in. What a life saver it is!
Another thing for you to consider is offering help and support to the people in your community. It’s been proven time and again that being of service to others boosts people’s happiness, health, and sense of well-being, satisfaction, and purpose. It’s even said that volunteering causes blood pressure and pain levels to go down.
Here’s my COVID-19 example: In the early days of the pandemic, I was wondering how I could support others and I came up with the idea of offering ‘Leader Huddles’. They are free, solution-focused support calls for leaders and managers. There are two calls per week. It gives me a great sense of joy and satisfaction when I focus my energy and good intention on the participants in my Leader Huddles and see that they get great value out of the interactions during the call.
I’m curious, what do you have in you to give? It doesn’t have to be anything big. All that matters is that you offer something of value to another person. On the count of three…GO!
6. Take inventory and see(k) the positive
Many people are concerned about their professional future, and understandably so, because their professional situation may be looking really bleak. How about you? Have you been laid off and don’t know yet if you have a job to go back to or a new one to start? Or maybe you have a business and are not sure yet if you are able to keep it running? Either way, you may need to reinvent yourself to stay afloat and thrive (again).
You may want to go through the following 3-step process:
a.Start by taking inventory of all your skills (big or small) and accomplishments that you have acquired over the years.
b.Write down all the resources that you have access to, e.g. staff, connections, funds, materials, belongings, ideas, health etc.
c.Set up an online meeting with trusted friends or family and brainstorm about new possibilities for each other. When sincere people put their heads together brilliant sparks of ingenuity may come forth that none of the participants would have thought possible.
Give it a try and be surprised!
…and while you’re busy making lists, make one more, namely of all the things that are positive in your life right now and that you appreciate. “Positive?”, you say? Yes, positive! I understand, there are many challenges currently. However, I dare say that you are also able to see at least a few things that are good in your life despite the upset of our crisis. Looking at the good in your life and expressing your appreciation for it will lift your spirit and help shed some light on the darker moments of the pandemic.
Looking at my own situation, I feel very grateful to be able to pivot to 100% digital service delivery. That also includes offering online presentations and workshops internationally in collaboration with my colleagues from different continents. Where I was mostly thinking of in-person presentations and workshops in the past, I am completely shifting to the online world – at least for now.
So, what’s possible and positive for YOU?
7.Look for your lesson
As you are going through this time of crisis and all your associated emotions, I invite you to ponder what this challenging time may actually have to offer you and what you may learn from it – be it big or small. Is it calling for change inside yourself, in your work or at home, or in your relationships with yourself or others? If so, what would that change look like? What can you do – or who would you need to become – to initiate or contribute to that change?
When I look at my own lessons, I’m seeing how much I have been running around before and how much I’m appreciating the quieter pace right now. That’s something I want to maintain going forward. Also, when I look at the huge struggles and pain that are occurring in many other people’s lives, I am feeling a much deeper gratitude for the blessings of my life and for the simple things, e.g. a nice meal, a walk with a friend, or the joys of the spring flowers on my patio.
I feel called to slow down and assess what REALLY matters to ME. I welcome this opportunity to press the reset button in some aspects of my life, and I feel as though it will do me a world of good in the long run.
Do YOU have a hunch yet what your lesson(s) might be? Take some time to sit quiet or go for a walk and ponder. I trust the answer(s) will find you if you are sincere in your desire to know and understand.
Before I let you go, here’s one last piece of advice: Times are overwhelming enough as they are – so please don’t overwhelm yourself on top of it. You do NOT need to tackle all of these things immediately, or at the same time. Just pick one or two tips that resonate the most with you and start there. The most important thing is that you take the first step by doing something, even if it’s a tiny thing.
If you have questions about any of the above or you feel stuck and don’t know where to start, let’s jump on a complimentary Zoom or phone call. I promise you will walk away with at least one concrete idea to move forward in your life...so that you, too, get to survive and thrive in times of crisis.
Stay safe and well!
Monika Becker, helps others identify and live in their values, needs and goals to live
amazing lives. Visit her website Cleardirections.ca
This article was featured in the May Issue of the digital magazine APeeling