2020 has been a wild, unpredictable storm for all people on Planet Earth. Most of us had never lived through a pandemic, nor did we ever imagine we would. Humans – we settle into a state of complacent comfort, never thinking catastrophe will come our way, especially as we get older and feel like we have “seen it all.”
So, what do we do when the unimaginable happens? Some people become panicked, crippled by fear either physically or mentally. Some people go into denial – act as if nothing is really happening. Some people who are more wired to handle problems – the driving personalities of the world – rack their brains, searching for action steps to take, and inevitably get bogged down in exasperation at not having immediate solutions. Some retreat, shutting down emotionally or mentally. We are witnessing all the gamut of reactions and responses, especially if we are in a business that manages or deals with people.
In America, added to an already unthinkable challenge as humans, we are grappling with political wars and civil unrest. It is the toughest time in most of our lives.
How do we help the people we work for and with?
How do we deal with the volatile emotions, the unpredictable reactions and all the mental anguish?
It has to start with You.
As a Professional Coach, this is the number one thing I am helping most of my clients work through currently. There is only so much you can control, and right now many things may feel completely out of your control.
Here are some of the suggestions I have offered as a coach to help my clients regain some calm and sail through the storm, maintaining temperance in the tempest:
1- Go on a healthy Social Media Diet
Some of us get our news and updates from social media. But we can become bombarded and overwhelmed with the noise which only adds to our stress levels. Try taking off the notifications on your phone. Only check social media once a day or even every other day. Social media and news first thing in the morning can be especially damaging to your mood and outlook. Start the day with something uplifting – reading, exercise or just sitting with a cup of coffee out on your balcony, backyard or living room, staring at the trees.
2- Organize your space
Your physical environment has a powerful impact on your mental environment. Whether it is your office space or living space, having a sense of order and organization will help your mindset.
A clean and orderly space will also help your productivity. Sometimes I will spend a whole coaching session just helping my clients with this one powerful step, getting organized and systemized.
3- Make time to exercise
Many of my executive clients struggle with this one. Some are already pumping out so many hours of production in a day that there is just “no time to exercise.” To that I say, you can’t afford not to exercise. Especially in the grips of a global pandemic, exercise – getting the body moving and heart rate pumping above 100 BPM’s for even 20 to 30 minutes a day - will help boost your immune system and your mood. You are the production vehicle – take care of that machine.
4- Find Joyful moments daily
Whether it is calling a good friend, volunteering some time, painting, dancing, laughing through a sitcom or just enjoying a hot beverage while staring out at the trees, find joyful moments daily, multiple times in a day if you can.
Your mindset is going to guide you through the most difficult times or drag you under. You choose how you will navigate. You control your mood if you can actively find ways to boost it. Find whatever activities can do that for you. Then, indulge in them as many times a day as needed.
5- Practice Stillness
Whether you prefer to pray, meditate, or simply sit in silence and breathe, the act of sitting still, focusing on your breathing and the present moment, is highly therapeutic and powerful in boosting immunity to the stressful conditions that surround us.
When you are sitting quietly, breathing normally and focusing on either relaxing your body, beginning from your head and working your way down to your toes, or focusing on something positive, the problems that feel like particles swirling around in the wind, begin to settle down. As they settle down, you will start to feel a greater sense of calm in the moment. The more calm moments you can achieve in a day, the more you will begin to feel uplifted and hopeful or at least not as exasperated as you were before. This will help you remain in control when dealing with difficult people or situations and is vital to your overall health.
6- Practice Patience
Patience is one resource that Americans especially have a major lack of.
We are impatient with ourselves, our circumstances and others around us. We want to push for solutions before the cake is cooked. We cut people off mid-sentence, refuse to truly listen. We are not understanding ourselves or each other because we are not even trying.
We need to start practicing patience in every aspect of our lives. When you see someone doing something that really irks you, stop and consider that you cannot control what they do and just continue to lead by example. If you hear someone saying things that you are vehemently opposed to, consider that there are things you don’t know about that person, underlying reasons for what they do, and just be kind in your thoughts. Breathe through it.
Be patient with yourself. If you are trying to lose weight, find a job, meditate more, or whatever goal you are working toward, do what you can towards achieving, but be kind to yourself on days when not much progress happens in that direction. These are highly charged up times, stress levels are at an all-time high, be gentle with yourself if you have “off” days. We are all experiencing this collectively. That may not help you feel any better, but at least you don’t have to feel like you are going it alone.
Together, with more patience, more kindness, more active listening, and a willingness to understand each other and our individual plights, we can sail through this storm, find temperance in the tempest.
-Mitch Savoie Hill, Certified Professional Coach/Speaker
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