Tips for Coping and Connecting in a COVID-19 World
You Have More Control Than You Think
I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a scary time right now. Our lives have been completely disrupted in ways we could never have imagined. Our country is shut down, we’re sheltering in place, distancing from others and glued to the TV. Whoever thought a perceived shortage of toilet paper could cause panic?
Frankly, I think the uncertainty about the virus, the economy and our future are the hardest part. So much is out of our control. We may feel helpless or caught up in fear. The good news is while we can’t control the virus or external circumstances, we can control how we choose to act and connect with others in this crisis. In short, we can all strive to be High Definition People® committed to making a positive difference. Here are a few thoughts.
A 3-Step Process to Monitor Your Thoughts and Stay Present
With all the bleak news it’s easy to project into the future and feel anxious or even panic. What if I get sick? What if I can’t pay my mortgage or rent? What if we have a bad recession? My 94 year-old mom has been under hospice care for eleven months now, frail but doing well. I found myself thinking, “What if she starts to decline and I can’t visit her?” I was feeling fearful. Dwelling on “what if’s” is a sure way to increase anxiety and rob us of peace.
While you may have bouts of worrisome thoughts just like I do, it’s important to deflect them as quickly as possible. Here are three steps to doing that: 1) Identify what you are feeling, 2) challenge your thought and 3) take positive action. For example, “I’m feeling scared and overwhelmed right now. I’m imagining the worst and it’s not helping. I think I’ll pray, then take a walk and call my friend Lisa. Tomorrow I’ll do a budget and get a handle on our finances.” The key is to guard your thoughts, take it day by day and be kind to yourself!
Connect With and Calm Others
This pandemic has given each of us an amazing opportunity to connect with one another on a deeper level. When you focus on others it makes you feel happy and empowered rather than powerless. Chances are, right now you have co-workers, employees, customers or members, family and neighbors who may need help or just some words of comfort. Rather than simply texting, let’s pick up the phone and have a conversation. Even better use Facetime or Zoom. The key is to move beyond superficial conversation, ask how you can help and be an encourager.
As managers you can support and reassure your frazzled onsite or remote staff. As co-workers, friends and neighbors, let’s share a little humor or needed supplies. Be sure to thank the stressed-out grocery store, health care and delivery workers as well as your colleagues on the front lines. Your customers or members need to know you are there for them with helpful solutions. Most of all, your loved ones need to feel your strength, your faith and belief we will get through this!
Please stay well and let your light shine brightly! I welcome your thoughts, coping strategies and humorous or positive stories.