We have just passed the one-year anniversary mark for COVID-19. About a year ago we went into shut down mode.
COVID is the disruptor that has thrown the world off its axis. The world shut down and we learned and are still learning how to deal with the new world. Most of us learned to adapt. We put on face masks, we are social distancing, we put off any kinds of celebrations, we stopped travelling and we stopped physically seeing our friends and families. Instead, we learned to use zoom, teams, Skype, Facetime, and other online platforms that allowed us to be together virtually. We could play games with each other, have virtual drinks and dinners to keep the connection.
A full year later, we are excited about the news that there are vaccines to help the world become normal-ish.
With the last year in lockdown, the cumulative effects of COVID are taking their toll on us. There is more stress, unemployment, mental health issues, and prolonged lack of human contact or interaction.
Lately, I have been seeing messages everywhere that say the same basic thing, take care of yourself, take time to pause, reflect and refresh. It’s like this message is following me around and so I say…
Take care of yourself
While we wait for COVID restrictions to end and vaccinations to reach herd immunity levels; take care of yourself. We have been running on stress, overwhelm and burnout. While some stress is helpful to stimulate peak functioning, too much stress has the opposite effect. That’s why it is important to take a break, pause, reflect and refresh. The break gives us a chance to reset, catch our breath and really see what is going on. We can see things anew, things that we have stopped seeing. We can start engaging in those things that build us up and get rid of those things that tear us down.
Take a physical break
Take a holiday. It doesn’t mean you have to go away physically, but you can if you are able to. It means take a holiday from the thing that is creating the stress or overwhelm. The holiday could be a simple walk in the woods or along a beach. Nature has healing qualities, take advantage of them, they are free. You can look at photos of holidays in the past or family/friend functions that you enjoyed. These simple acts can help you feel like you have gone away and refreshed yourself by leaving you with the feel-good hormones.
We also need to let go. Many of us feel that things will fall apart if we are not there to care for them. That’s just not true. Life will go on. Did you ever hear of an organization collapsing because someone left it? No. Someone else steps into that gap. If we don’t let go, we won’t move forward. If we don’t let go, we will never grow. Letting go is a part of life.
I’ve noticed that when I reset and let go, life gets better. The answers come for the problems I have been trying to solve. I make better decisions and I am less stressed and worried about things. I am more creative and productive.
Learn to relax.When you take care of your mind and body, you’re better able to cope effectively with challenges in your life. Get quality sleep, try out a new exercise or use physical relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation
Always working, thinking and producing is counterproductive. The body was not designed to go 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Even God rested on the seventh day. Rest gives you time to regenerate and remove some of the harmful hormones and toxins that have entered the body because of the overload you have put on your system.
Mind your mindset
This is a big one! Your mind is a powerful tool, use it to your advantage! Think differently on purpose. What you focus on grows. Focus on those things that will lift you up, inspire you and re-ignite you.
Our thoughts can wear us out, especially if they are constantly negative, fearful and stressful. Take control of your thoughts. This requires discipline and practice. Refuse to listen to thoughts that keep you in the muck, fight back. This also helps to keep things in perspective. Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones; from “I can’t do this, to, I got this.”
Rewire your brain to look at things from a more positive perspective. Think of failures as learning opportunities. This requires discipline and practice. The reward is that it makes you more resilient and you rebound more quickly from setbacks.
Many leaders and top entrepreneurs practice gratitude. This requires discipline and practice. It helps to refocus thoughts from a mindset of lack to one of abundance, from the negative to the positive and from roadblocks to opportunities.
What are you grateful for?
Be kind to yourself
We can be kind to others, but somehow, we think it doesn’t apply to ourselves. Be kind to you.
What I do
Almost every morning I have a yoga stretching routine that I do. Because I sit all day long, I find that by the end of the day my muscles are tight, so stretching in the morning is sooo nice! If it isn’t that, I walk. I live in a neighborhood where there are so many trees that my walks are peaceful and calming. That might not be for you, maybe its running, cycling, high intensity workout, Pilates, or something else. The physical activity removes the stress that has built up in your body and clears the mind.
I also like to do some deep breathing exercises. This helps to reduce my stress. I find that I do this almost instinctively, especially when I need to manage a stressful situation. The breathing helps me to relax, reflect and refocus.
Do something nice tor someone else-it will help them, and it will help you.
We can’t keep going if our tank runs out of gas. We need to take time for ourselves. It will help us build up our physical and mental reserves so that we can keep going and live our life to the fullest.
Make this a priority in your life!