By: Laurie Martin, May 4, 2020 – As we all struggle to navigate through the forest of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it is important to look for signs of hope and cling to them.
As leaders, you have made it through the initial weeks running on adrenaline as you and your business have had to pivot quickly to address the crisis. While you continue adapting to your makeshift workspaces at home, the realities of emotional, physical, and psychological upheaval are revealed.
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a common thread of stresses related to adaptation and uncertainty. Phrases like: “Since I’ve been home, I have never worked this hard”, “I need stress-debriefing techniques to keep my sanity” and “I can’t stand this!” demonstrate the need to acknowledge the tensions in our surroundings and start a conversation about finding stability and hope.
Here are some tips to consider while coping with your new normal:
- Embrace it: It is important to accept the reality that things will never go back to the way they were. Enjoy the opportunity to be creative and unconstrained from the past as you make new plans and enhance existing ones.
- Choose it: If we do not choose positive thoughts, we will face sadness and experience that “I give up” feeling. Choose thoughts that will motivate you. You must believe you can do something, or you will not even try.
- Stay connected: Fear isolates and distances people. Communication, collaboration, and transparency are key during this difficult time. Promote video chats, share resources, encourage casual interactions and spread optimism. This is also an opportunity to learn new programs to enhance your knowledge and business.
- Share your feelings: It is beneficial to demonstrate the emotional side of your leadership, especially in tough times.. Now is the time to reach out and ask your clients how they are dealing with working from home or with the stress of COVID-19. Sharing your own vulnerability can also help others to do the same.
- Accept diversity: It is important to remember that each one of us has a unique home life. Our lifestyles, habits and priorities all differ.Some may also be experiencing additional challenges such as financial burdens, potential job loss, divorce, illness, etc., and it is important to be mindful of this.
- Stay away from deception and misinformation: Ignore negativity and work from facts – not rumours. Educate yourself by reading reputable, peer-reviewed sources and recognize and address your own fears.
- Set boundaries: If you live with others in your home, working in tight quarters can cause increased stress and frustration. Determine who is going to be in which room, when, and set an agreed time limit for how long. Having clear conversations about how to reasonably share your home space will ultimately reduce conflict. You may also want to consider setting boundaries on screen time and media exposure to reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Create a routine: Building a routine at home will help you foster a sense of normalcy and allow you to stay on track. Wake up at your usual time, get dressed as you would normally, have coffee and breakfast, get your kids ready, and stick to some type of exercise regimen. Stay on top of your nighttime routine as well.
- Take breaks: Take a 5-10-minute break every hour to stretch, breathe, have a healthy snack or get some fresh air.Try supporting a local business in your area by ordering lunch through a delivery service!
- Never forget hope: While COVID-19 is impacting our daily routines, it is comforting to know that there are still moments of strength that help us realize we can get through this. Communities coming together, inspiring stories, and connecting while respecting physical distancing are all signs of hope that we should not ignore.
Although these days are filled with uncertainty and we continue to feel overwhelmed, disconnected and out of control, it is important remember we are all in this together. There will be an end to this pandemic, and we are going to learn a lot about ourselves as leaders and as people.
Laurie Martin, ctts, epc, is founder of Life Interrupted Inc. She is an innovator with an ability to change the way leaders think, both professionally and personally, to enhance their lives. Laurie has over 25 years of experience as a trauma treatment specialist, elder planning counselor, educator, author, crisis/risk deterrence advisor, and mentor. Laurie’s strong dedication is to empower leaders in all areas of life’s interruptions through her successful education and mentorship programs. She connects people which helps to grow the success of leaders and their teams in both business and personal lives.
To learn more, contact Laurie at firstname.lastname@example.org or, visit lifeinterrupted.ca