How to Reduce Stress During the Transition to the New COVID-19 World

This COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. Just a few months ago, we had no idea our ‘world’ would be drastically changed to being confined to our homes! 

This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is – and how much we need human connection!  

Remember you are not alone. Because what is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted! Your neighbor, mom, boss and friends as well as your counterparts around the world are all going through something similar. 

So, it’s important to remember: 

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Viktor E. Frankl 

This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we’re going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it. 

Here Are 5 Things You Can do to Make Your Personal Life Better: 

1) Create a Healthy, Supportive Routine 

When we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do now), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule. 

While we’re all stuck in anxiously waiting at home, it’s easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality. 

This routine or schedule can be as simple as: 

  • 6am – Wake-up 
  • 6:30am – Breakfast 
  • 7am – exercise 
  • 8am – Spend time with kids 
  • 9am – Plan day 
  • 9:30am – Learning or a project 
  • 12.00pm – Lunch & time with kids 
  • 1-4pm – Learning or a project 
  • 5pm – Make & Eat Dinner 
  • 7pm – Spend time with family 
  • 8pm – Put kids to bed 
  • 9pm – Reading, Journaling 
  • 10pm – Bed 

Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time. 

It’s also important to recognize weekends because it’s too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include: 

  • Sleeping in/later bedtime 
  • Brunch 
  • “Treats” 
  • Movie night with popcorn 
  • A virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues 
  • A larger project, perhaps some art, craft, gardening or home redecoration. 

So, create a routine for a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it’s important for you – and especially important for children – to have predictability. 

2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility! 

Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health but feeling more physically powerful helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too! 

So, add some physical activity into your schedule – as little as 15 minutes daily. Maybe by the end of this you’ll be fitter or even be able to do 10 (or 100!) press-ups! 

There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas: 

  • Take up a yoga practice – excellent for strength-building, flexibility – and calm! There are lots of online options. Here is one with everything from 10 minutes for beginners to an advanced practice. Fitness Blender on Youtube has more (free) exercise videos than I can count 
  • Learn do a press-up or push-up. Then see if you can get to 10 (or more – depending on where you start)! 
  • There are so many online fitness classes on Youtube – for beginners, experts – with equipment and with no equipment whatsoever. PopSugar Fitness has many options to choose from. 

REMEMBER: BEing stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness! 

3) Start a Journal! 

If you’ve always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It’s a great way to get to know you. 

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you know I love journaling.  It helps in all situations.  It helps you become better, stronger, and more successful. 

It’s great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with: 

  • Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________. 
  • One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________. 
  • I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________. 
  • One thing that’s surprised me recently is _________. 
  • What matters most to me in life is _________. 
  • Describe your ideal day _________. 

“A journal is expressive by nature and it contains feelings, emotions, problems, ponderings and it is more reflective on the meaning of life being lived.” Lynda Monk 

You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started. 

4) Send “Real” Snail Mail Letters or Cards 

Go old-fashioned. Who doesn’t love to receive a lovely card or handwritten letter in the post box! Rediscover the lost art of letter-writing and make someone’s day. 

Yes, you could send an email appreciating someone, and that’s great. But imagine your recipient’s face as they pick up that hand-written card in the mailbox. 

Wondering what to say? Write from the heart! Here are some ideas to get started: 

  • I really appreciate having you in my life because ________. 
  • I love hanging out with you when we ________. 
  • I’ve realised that you bring ________ to my life. 
  • Or, just use a simple: I’m thinking of you. 

GREAT TIP:  Have your kids make cards and send them to family members, neighbors, and friends. 

5) Help Others 

Helping others is empowering and makes us feel better. Here are a few ways you could help others. 

  • Check in on a neighbour or friend and see if they need anything. You can do this by phone, or in person, remembering to maintain a 6 feet distance. 
  • Offer to get someone groceries if you’re going. 
  • Help someone less technically savvy learn how to use Zoom or WhatsApp or whatever they need to get online. 
  • Host a virtual get-together with your regular friends. 
  • Reconnect more deeply with friends or relatives who have moved away. 

Here Are 5 Things You Can do to Make Your Business Better 

6) Learn with Non-Fiction Books: 

Use this time at home to educate yourself with non-fiction books. There is so much to be gained – like self-confidence, negotiation skills, health (sleep, nutrition), how to have difficult conversations and much more. 

What keeps you up at night? There’s probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There’s probably a book about that too! 

Here are some book ideas to get you thinking: 

  • Be more productive or creative with “The Now Habit” by Neil Fiore or “A Whack on the Side of the Head (How You Can Be More Creative)” by Roger Von Oech and “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink. 
  • Think (or rethink?) how you live with books like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan (also available in a young reader’s version), “Slow Food: Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures” by Carlo Petrini, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich, “Doughnut Economics” by Kate Raworth. 
  • Get personally inspired with “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts” and “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, or “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. 
  • Up-skill yourself with “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen. 
  • Learn about the human mind with “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell or “The Whole Brain Child” by Daniel J. Siegel MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD. 
  • Get healthier with “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker PhD. 
  • Be more confident and discover your strengths with “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman” or “Now, Discover Your Strengths (How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage)” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. 
  • Finally, read a memoir! Choose someone you admire, get inspired and learn how other people think – and live their lives. 

Reading one book will expand your mind, reading several of these books is going to make you more interesting, help you learn new skills – and maybe even make you more employable too! 

7) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning: 

There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they’re growing by the day! 

Grow your business or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and use to improve your business with online training providers like Coursera or Udemy

Here are some of my favorites: 

Marketing:  Ryan Deiss’ Digital Marketer or Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing

Blogging:  Neil Patel’s How to Start a Blog or Yaro Starak’s Blog Profits Blueprint

Podcasting:  Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income

If there’s a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any – and check money-back guarantees as you need to! 

And with so many learning options ranging from FREE to tens of dollars to the low hundreds of dollars, there will be something out there just perfect for you. 

8) Explore your Business Vision: 

Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture – the future of your business. What do you want from your business? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision your business in 10 years? 

Having a clear vision of how you want your business to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action and make change. Soon, we’ll all be super-busy again – and a vision might be just what you need stay focused! 

Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper: 

  • What do you desire or yearn for in your business? 
  • How do you want to feel? 
  • What do you really, really want to be different in your business? 
  • What would have to happen in 3 years’ time so that your business will be spectacular, and you feel magnificent about your business? 
  • What’s your dream for this lifetime? Imagine you’re 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy? 

TIP: Remember to think possibility not probability! Don’t limit yourself and your ideas because you don’t believe something is likely. Instead believe it’s possible – and even if you don’t get all the way there, you may get close – or even find something better along the way! 

9) De-Clutter 

I bet you have some organizational things on your to-do list (like going through your filing cabinet, organizing files on your computer, making a new binder for your client information, setting up a workable schedule) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done! 

Get organized and decluttered before the transition period is over so that you have control over your life and business – and therefore feel less helpless! Plus it’ll feel amazing just to have it done. 

Organize your files, your books, your photos, desk, your to-do list. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes! 

A simple 3 Step Method to go through your stuff: 

  1. If you’re keeping it, be sure to DECIDE where it will “live” from now on. 
  1. If you’re not keeping it, create two piles: 
  • Things to DUMP 
  • Things to ARCHIVE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people). 
  1. When you’re done, put each pile into files or boxes, and then once this crisis is over you can get rid of what you no longer need. 

TIP: You don’t need to do any of this ‘in one sitting’, do an hour a day – you’ll be surprised how much you get done if you keep it up for a week! 

10) Grow Something – OGet an Indoor Flowering Plant! 

There is nothing quite like growing something – whether it’s flowers, fruits or vegetables that makes us feel good! Even if you have an office, you could grow fresh herbs on your windowsill or balcony to cook with! 

  • Get some seeds, (a pot and some soil if needed) and get started. 
  • Many plant nurseries are still open, or you could order seeds etc. online. 
  • Follow the instructions – and remember to water it! 

If growing something is just too much work, get yourself a spring bulb or succulent (cacti) planter, or you could get an indoor plant like a Spathiphyllum* (Peace Lily) is good for cleaning the air of pollutants (and easy to take care of). 

* Be aware that some plants are poisonous to pets – so please check. 

As we transition back to some of our old ways, remember that the world has changed.  We now live in a  new normal. 

All of the above are a part of my “normal” day-to-day routine.  However, I am focusing on decluttering and learning new skills.  These two are needed as my world, just like yours, has changed.   

I discovered that I needed to do some reorganizing of my business and learn a few new skills to get me through this transition.  The one thing I am learning is how to create a podcast.  It is time for me to take my business to a new level, and what better way to do that than learn a new tool. 

It’s a new world and a new business for me. 

Which strategies above resonate with you? 

Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what – you’ll find a way. 

This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. And when it does, you’ll be proud you made the effort to learn something – whether it’s about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill – and who knows what else! 

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