As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, we continue to face challenges with the changes to our daily lives, as well as conflict within our own interpersonal world. Our ability to adapt and “go with the flow” is tested multiple times throughout every day! We are left with uncertainty and confusion when watching or listening to the news or social media, and even government information is contradictory. As we yearn for some sense of control, we find less the more we search. It’s awesome that so many are “handling this surprisingly well!” I have compiled 5 tips from friends, family, colleagues, and clients on ways they are embracing the opportunities that are presenting in this whirlwind of COVID-19.
Before diving into the tips, I need to address the Power of Perception. What you see is what you get! This common saying is perfect for these times! Humans tend to limit themselves by looking for negative things. In this context “negative” is something that takes away from our lives or changes what we are doing or want to do. This survival skill is essential to help us avoid dangerous or life-threatening situations. However, during times of crisis and uncertainty this can quickly turn into a black hole of life-suckingness that seems to be everywhere. Whether it is from watching hours of news on TV, reading endless news articles, or engaging in social media for extended periods of time, these activities usually increase feelings of inadequacy and frustration and enhance the fear of the unknown. This pandemic is worldwide, and with the advancements in technology the world is not as foreign as it once was. Opening yourself up to be bombarded with the world’s problems, leaves little time, space, and energy for your world – which is also referred to as being in your vortex, the life we live, family units, etc. Your world is what you put energy into and create around you. So… remember the POWER of PERCEPTION and ask yourself… What am I looking at?
1. Challenge Your Thoughts – Focus on the Positive
You can train you brain to rewire itself by simply changing what you want to focus on. There are many books on this topic. Feel free to search for one that appeals to you! One I would like to mention is The 5 am Club by Robin Sharma. Although the book focuses on the importance of a morning routine, the message more broadly addresses the need to challenge your thoughts and the way you do things. This usually requires us to slow down, reflect, and be in our feelings. Ironically, that seems to be the world we live in right now, so what better time to start bringing more positivity into your life.
Ways to do this include spending less time and energy on things that bring fear, shame, and guilt, and more time and energy giving yourself compassion, empathy, and praise through doing things that bring happiness, joy, and a sense of accomplishment. For example, many people are out of work right now, which leads to fear of how to pay the bills, shame around not saving more or having so much debt, and guilt of not being good enough. Though these feelings are real, we can choose to “beat ourselves up” about it, or we can challenge our thoughts and find different ways to respond. Such as acknowledging that these times are unprecedented and most of the WORLD is not prepared, embrace that everyone’s world is changing due to COVID-19, and give yourself credit for what you are doing during this stressful time.
If you find that you are bored and not doing anything during this stressful time, no worries it is never too late to start! Keep reading for some ideas!
Practice the mindfulness technique of only focusing on one day at a time. Some days will be amazing and others less amazing, but by keeping your focus on the present moment you will be able to optimize the opportunities the day presents you with. Allowing yourself to live day-by-day reduces stress, helps you slow down, appreciate the little things, and do more things that make your heart happy. It also helps reduce fear, anxiety, and worrying.
This past week I saw more people walking their dogs as a family, riding bike, skipping listening to music, doing yardwork, painting, ect. Having a clearer schedule allows time for whatever feels good in the moment.
3. Create A Balanced Schedule
Now you know having space to make your heart happy is important, but what about the craziness that being stuck at home, especially with kids and/or having to work from home, can bring? Creating a schedule for structure can help everyone involved. I recommend making a basic schedule that has time for meals, work/school work, play time, “TV time”, and self-care time. Once this is created you can spend time every morning or evening planning out the day (or next day) to more accurately represent meetings and/or other obligations. By creating a schedule, it creates the routine of waking up, getting ready for the day, and having a feeling of accomplishment. It is imperative that you bring balance to your schedule! Balance work and play! Play includes anything that makes you happy and brings you joy!
I do want to emphasize the need to schedule time for self-care! Right now the world is slowing down, and so you should be too! This means making time to give to yourself! Eating healthier, taking vitamins, and doing other things to boost your immune system are great ways to care for yourself. The action of caring for yourself is the part that sticks with you! ***This does not happen when connected to electronics! Having a day to binge watch Netflix can bring joy and relaxation, but it is the act of having discipline and control over how much you are watching that gives the self-care to you.
Also to clarify… creating a schedule does not mean jam pack your day with a million things to do. This will lead to burnout and frustration, and since you will be stuck at your house with the stress and anxiety of what you are not accomplishing, you will create that black hole of doom I discussed in the opening paragraph. The goal is to set yourself up for success! For kids it helps them have a visual to support when is work time and free time like they experience in school!
4. The Time To Do Things You Never Have Time To Do!
This by far has been the thing that most people who are doing well right now report! They are loving the opportunity to do things that they’ve wanted to do but have fallin off the priority list. Some are enjoying taking care of their yards, planting flowers, building a garden, working on home projects, going through boxes that have been stored under the stairs or other hidden closets, organizing paperwork, going through the mail, etc. Finding things that help declutter your living space helps make it feel like a fresh place where you want to be.
As you create a schedule find days or times when you can work on some of these projects. Some people like having a whole day to just knock out the project, and other like to schedule small amounts of time everyday to chip away at it. Whatever works best for you is perfect! Getting started is usually the hardest part, so again find ways to not get overwhelmed and set yourself up for success!
The other day someone was telling me their goal for COVID-19 is to feel more comfortable doing things online. Their goal is to learn how to use different platforms (like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, etc), and to connect with people online. They shared there has been more and more pressure to utilize these platforms, but staying true to tradition this person always felt they needed to be face to face to “get a feel” of the other person. So now that we are practicing social distancing, they feel it’s the best time to learn and practice using these new platforms with people they already know and trust! Great use of this time and flowing with what the world is offering us!
5. Visualize Your Future
Take time to reflect on your life, especially where you are at in this moment, and start to paint a picture of what you want the future to look like. It can be specific or broad, detailed or generalized, fantasy or realistic… although I always recommend going big while visualizing! You don’t know what can happen if you stay in the box of the reality you’ve created for yourself. This exercise does NOT focus on the how’s. Those always seem to work themselves out as you go (and usually don’t workout as you plan, so it’s better to not spend time figuring out the how). It is focused on feelings, emotions, and the sense of intrinsic control you gain over your life.
I feel this is a good time to share how this has impacted my life. About 6 years ago, I was sitting at work, doing a job I had been volun-told for, and I realized how dissatisfied I was with the amount of time and energy I was putting towards this work. I realized that I felt unappreciated. The amount of work/energy was not equal to the amount of appreciation/satisfaction I was receiving. I missed my family and felt like I was missing out on so many things in my kids lives. I took time to reflect, and realized that the things that are most important to me are family and traveling. I wanted to have more time and energy available to be present in my family life, and wanted to have enough money to be able to travel. Upon visualizing what this looked like and felt like, I then began making decisions based on how they impact my desire to be with family and travel. 6 years later, I am working for myself so that I can control my schedule, I am finding ways to be able to “work” even while traveling, and I have been able to create a family system that promotes creativity, individuality, teamwork, hardwork, and togetherness. Now that my kids are getting older, I find my heart filling with joy knowing that I can be available for them and my husband, because I stayed true to the world I wanted to create for myself!
As we continue to navigate uncharted territory, finding ways to incorporate these things into your life will increase your adaptability! When we can flow through changes, we naturally flow toward what makes us happy. So ensure that you’re clear in what you want and this is in-line with your perspective in this moment! If you find that you are not clear in what you want or are having troubles identifying the blocks in your way, please reach out to me for assistance. I specialize in bringing Crystal Clear Clarity to those I work with! You can contact me at www.crystaldeichert.com!
Although these are only 5 tips, remember that we are not alone during this time! Even though we need to keep distance between us, we do not need to disconnect from each other! Let’s remember to take care of ourselves and each other by building community in creative ways!
Crystal Deichert LPC, of Positive Assist, offers a full suite of counseling and holistic services for those wishing to get unstuck and move forward in their lives. She is trained in several evidence-based modalities and holistic approaches to help her clients see their barriers through their soul’s perspective allowing them to break free and fly. If you’d like to discover your true self, you can schedule a free consultation at www.crystaldeichert.com, by calling 720.767.1994, or emailing [email protected]. Check me out on Facebook at Crystal Deichert LPC