Updated: Jul 10, 2020
I’m thinking of my clients and colleagues out there who maybe have been Corona-ed (my new word for a person who is sick, stressing or struggling as a result of the impact of COVID-19).
You can be directly affected by the virus in terms of your health, or you may be experiencing collateral damage from the virus in terms of your employment or business.
I wanted to reach out to you to say hello and to ask you what you might need right now and if there’s any way I can help?
If you’ve been Corona-ed you may be:
Sick from the virus so please rest up and get well soon
Stressing about the virus e.g. I’m out of toilet paper what happens now? What should I do health-wise to help contain it? What if my elderly mother gets it? What if I’m in isolation for two weeks with my family – how will we not kill each other? And you may be stressing about work – all events have been cancelled and I’m a speaker, what will this mean for my business? How will I keep my team together and cohesive if we are all working from home for a while? I’m a leader and I’m feeling anxious, how can I keep calm and provide the leadership that is needed for current times? What will this mean for me if I’m a casual employee?
Struggling as a result of the virus. From a business perspective, it could be that cash flow dries up from reduced business or clients not paying invoices on time. You may be in a vulnerable industry like tourism, or you may be a health service provider struggling under the sheer weight of the task at hand
I really feel for you and so wanted to reach out to say that if you'd like to chat about anything please feel free to contact me via my website contact page. Or send me an email and let me know what's on you're mind - I'd like to understand what's going on for my network and also sometimes writing things down can help alleviate anxiety as it gets things out of your head.
Keeping calm in crisis - hacks to reset your brain
It can be helpful to understand the brain science of stress in a time like this as it increases our self-awareness and can help us to self-regulate more effectively.
When we’re stressed we become focussed on self. Our lens to the world narrows. We're operating out of our reptile brain. It’s fight, flight, freeze, appease – as seen by the toilet paper wars – these people are having a stress response of fight!! As a result, they totally lose the bigger picture of caring about other people, their behaviour doesn’t make seem to make sense. In reality though, their brains are in lockdown. I feel this is important to understand as it can help us be more compassionate towards others right now.
Over the weekend I identified I was stressed and anxious and that I’d been thinking all about me, me, me! (good self-awareness).
I realised that my lens had narrowed and that staying in this unproductive state was not going to be helpful or lead anywhere – if I didn’t interrupt it, it was just a downward spiral.
When we’re calm or happy our lens to the world widens and we can see a bigger picture – we see other people, we are more creative, we perform better, we can listen to others.
So when you’re feeling panicked here are some hacks to reset your brain.
This is what I’ve tried over the past few days:
Breathe, breathe, breathe when I’m feeling anxious
Write my fears down and stare them in the face rather than keep them rattling around in my head
Get really clear on my finances and cash flow
Look at inefficiencies in my business and develop some policies in areas I haven’t before
Mow the lawns – get outside in the sun, do physical activity, feel a sense of achievement
Breath, breathe, breathe again!
Check-in with myself - feel that knot of anxiety in my stomach, acknowledge it and breath through it. Ignoring it or pushing it down won't shift it. You need to feel your feelings, name them and just sit with them for a while. They will eventually pass
Stop looking at negative posts on social media and reduce news consumption that triggers anxiety
Not buy toilet paper until absolutely necessary! Give excess toilet paper to family members
Focus on what I can control (see my earlier blog - https://www.cynthiamahoney.com.au/post/how-to-reduce-your-overwhelm-and-keep-performing-in-these-turbulent-times)
Do a risk matrix and get clear on best, most likely and worst-case scenarios and generate ideas on how to manage them all
Connect with others and surround myself with good people – I reached out to my tribe and asked for advice – I received reassurance and practical tips. Someone rang me and shared their risk matrix idea with me
Remind myself that I’ve been through tough times before, back myself, some of my strengths are connection, innovation and creativity which are helpful in times like this
Focus on writing my book – Everyday well-being: simple life hacks for rural and regional women
Keep my mental and physical health and well-being prioritised
Practise gratitude – there is still so much good going on in amongst the chaos
Have empathy for clients and people in my network who might be struggling
Keep eating well and keeping up physical activity
Cuddle my cat and listen to her calming purrs
Be courageous and back myself
When my brain settled down and I was able to stop thinking immediately about myself, I started thinking about how I can serve others – what problems are people facing right now? How are they feeling? What could I do to help?
Send this email to my network to check in and ask what you might need
Look for opportunities and think of how I can pivot – I work on a 90 day plan for new programs but realised that perhaps what I had aimed for wasn’t going to be what people needed right now, so my aim is to be responsive and step into other people’s shoes
Focus on designing a new on-line program – “Lift Up - Leaders Supporting Leaders During Crisis” group coaching program for rural leaders
Re-engineer some of my existing programs to be delivered online (e.g. Well-Being Vacation Workshops, High Performing Teams Program) that I could offer clients that would be conducive to our new operating environment and that would help to keep people connected
Show leadership myself by writing a White Paper called, “Leading Courageously During Crisis” that shares my thoughts that will assist leaders think through the current chaos and give them some ideas to try out
Keep connected with others and continue to be compassionate
Be mindful about what I post on social media and how I speak and conduct myself as emotions are contagious - I don't want to add to the panic or infect others with negative energy and anxiety
Think about how I show up and show leadership in the world right now
What about you? What are the strategies that work for you? What successes have you had in the past in challenging times that you could bring back now? Who do you want to be over the next few months? How do you want to show up in the world? What is the energy and mindset you will bring?
Continue to look after yourselves and each other. I want to acknowledge its a really tough time at the moment. It's OK to be worried. Be kind. Cut yourself some slack and be compassionate to yourself.
Please reach out - you're in my network and I'm here if and when you need me!