The COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. Just a few months ago, we had no idea our ‘world’ would be confined to our homes and social distancing would be a think.
This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is – and how much we need human connection!
While fear and anxiety of the uncertain future is normal and warranted, remember that you are not alone and we are all impacted in one way or another.
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.
Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture – your future. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?
Having a clear vision of how you want your life 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 life?
- How do you want to feel?
- What do you really want to be different in your life?
- What would have to change so that in 3 years your life is spectacular and you feel magnificent about yourself?
- 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!
In health coaching, one of the first things we do is create a vision for how you’d like to live your best life. It can be a very powerful moment and is profoundly motivating. If you’ve ever thought about what it might be like to have a health coach, reach out and let’s set up a free “discovery session”.
2) 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 and to record some of the emotions you are experiencing throughout this challenging time.
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 _________.
You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started.
Some people prefer to journal with a daily prompt. You might like The 5 Minute Journal to help you out. It’s like “guided journaling”!
3) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Level 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 actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too. And don’t we all want to be sturdier humans?
Add some physical activity into your schedule – as little as 15 minutes daily.
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. Sarah Beth Yoga on YouTube has more (free) yoga videos than I can count
- Learn do a push-up. Then see if you can get to 10 (or more – depending on where you start)
- There are also many local gyms offering up free online classes. Orange Theory, local CrossFit boxes and RowHouse offer some to name a few.
- Long walks offer a chance for Vitamin D and allow us to enjoy the great outdoors. Plug in a podcast and learn while you walk. I’m loving Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast.
REMEMBER: BEing stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness.
3) 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Learn the art of Non-Violent Communication with “Say What you Mean” by Oren J. Sofer or “Choosing Peace: New Ways to Communicate to Reduce Stress, Create connection, and Resolve conflict” by John Kinyon.
- Change your habits with “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
4) 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 personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like Coursera, Udemy or Creative Live.
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 at a number of different price points, there will be something out there just perfect for you. And there’s always YouTube!
I am loving some online cooking classes via America’s Test Kitchen. Now’s the time to hone those cooking skills to make good quality food that nurtures us physically, mentally and emotionally.
5) Begin a Meditation Practice
Meditation is a practice that has been proven scientifically to manage stress, give us peace, help us be more creative and be happier (for starters). It’s extremely beneficial and allows us to be just as we are, in the present moment, without judgement.
There is a lot to learn about meditation – and it’s called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it’s also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day – and it’s good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day. Get a book on “Meditation for Beginners” or go to Youtube or Google and search for “How to Meditate”. Another good place to start is “Metta” or “Loving Kindness” meditation. Again, search online and you’ll have lots of options to choose from.
I love using a guided meditation and my favorite app is called Ten Percent Happier. Before each guided meditation, they offer a brief 2-3 minute learning session that helps in understanding a concept. You learn as you go!
They are also offering 3 free months in light of all the uncertainty and anxiety around the coronavirus. Use this link for the promo code: 3 Months free with 10% Happier
I also love everything Nick Wignall puts out and he has a great article on mindfulness. Check it out here.
6) 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 thought about you today when I saw ________.
- I’ve realized that you bring ________ to my life, and I just wanted to let you know.
While we are certainly being challenged by the current situation, we also have a unique opportunity to find the good in this moment.
When we look back at the time spent in our homes juggling jobs, home-schooling, parenting, close quarters, isolation, boredom or fear about the future what do we want to see?
What can we say we did? How did we choose to be? There is opportunity all around us. Are we open to seeing it? Can we move through this time with strength, optimism and hope?
We are stronger and more creative than we even know. Trust in yourself to see the light and then shine on to help others see the way!