A blog post from Lorna
These are extraordinary times. I have my three sons back from Uni and other 'world adventures', it's an unexpected absolute pleasure to have all my boys at home at the same time.
In considering what I might talk about here, I want to start by saying that I hope I can put forward some ideas for things we can all do to support each other, not just our businesses; each of us as individuals, spread all around the country, with similar issues learning to cope with living in restricted circumstances and hopefully coming through with both our sanity and our businesses intact.
Those who know me well will know that a couple of years ago I had a minor stroke and, alongside the extraordinary support my AestheticSource family gave me, I turned to meditation 'to get me through'. Now, fully well, I am continuing actively to explore meditation and spirituality. In fact, I feel younger, stronger, healthier and most importantly more positive than I have for decades. Wow, how useful this has proved in the past few weeks!
Like many of you, I am a do-er. As a nurse, I am struggling with the fact that I am still working full time on our business and only volunteering in the local community. As a trained but recently retired nurse, I have now re-registered and am ready to work on the front line. Still, my commitment to AestheticSource means I also need to listen to the Governments plea to businesses keep the economy going where it is appropriate so to do. This is a conflict. This is stress-inducing. We all have similar challenges.
We are all going through different layers of stress; each layer is personal, each important to understand and to recognise in ourselves.
We are taking our communications more and more to the digital world. More than ever, we are communicating on online platforms and trying to find ways to share our feelings and frustrations remotely.
We are all being asked to 'social distance' or 'self-isolate', this is the opposite of what we may feel is right for us; personally, I have a huge desire to reduce the 'emotional distance' that this creates.
While 'stress' does not have a legal definition, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as 'the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them'.
So what can we do practically to reduce our exposure to stress, and to support each other?
Here are some things you can do instead, courtesy of my friend Anne:
TURN OFF THE NEWS. Or at least limit your watching. Do you really need to hear an update every five minutes or every hour about what's going on? How is that helping you?
Here are some things that you can do instead:
- Laugh. Out loud. Long and loud. Laughter has been shown to strengthen the immune system, so watch something funny and see what that does for your spirit.
- Write that book you have inside you that you never have time for. One line, one paragraph, one page at a time.
- Work out every day - get outside, get a different perspective and get some fresh air (unless you're in isolation). Go for a walk. If you can't go out and you're healthy, put on some music and dance your heart out. Everything is online now,
- Become a more skilled cook or baker. Be adventurous and try things you haven't experienced before. (Now that's a good rule for life. Period.)
- Learn a language, so you're prepared when you start travelling again.
- Meditate. (C'mon, you knew that was coming.) I always recommend to my clients who are just starting out to begin with 5 minutes a day. It's more important - and effective - to create the habit and start off small than to be a weekend warrior meditator.
- If you're already meditating, do it twice a day.
- Clear out your clutter. One corner, one drawer, one closet, one cupboard at a time.
- We're built to care for and about others, and that's a lifesaver at times like this. Anxiety pulls us into ourselves, and we can get caught up in a never-ending self-focus.
- Who can you help while still keeping yourself safe? Can you donate five or ten dollars to the food bank? They're desperate for money now to feed those in need. Can you send a letter or uplifting email to a relative or friend who might be isolated and feeling alone?
- Don't underestimate the power of connection. FaceTime or Zoom with people you care about. It's wonderful to see their faces. We need human connection at any time - but especially now. And it will have the added benefit of taking you out of yourself and decreasing your anxiety.
- Watch what you talk about. Don't allow the focus of all of your conversations to be about the virus and fear and anxiety and helplessness.
Copyright Anne Pustil, MEd, CCC, 2020, http://www.CoachingInANutshell.com
I would add, spend time developing your knowledge and skills. But be selective. It would be easy to drown in the volume of online content now being advertised to us. When you work out your daily schedule, build in a session of learning as often as it appeals to you, then chose the content you will focus on. Take notes, and then keep a file so you can not only review your learning at the end of the session, and the end of each week, but also as a record of how much you have done through this – something to celebrate when this is all over, and we can rebuild our businesses, with fresh eyes, new knowledge and I sincerely hope a kinder, more thoughtful and more positive society.