This past year of 2020 has brought us a great deal of uncertainty, unwelcomed, and added stressors. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on more people experiencing mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
So how can we regain control of our current reality and infuse our day-to-day with healthy habits, mindsets, and behaviors? Check out these ten tips:
1. Create a clear picture of the situation. Start by mapping out your position in an objective way by documenting your business's concept, financials, products, tech, operations, etc. Draw it all on a piece of paper. Think as though you are working with these elements as pieces on a chessboard. Afterward, you can input it all into an Excel sheet, where you can add figures or assumptions. The text should reflect your feelings and passions, and the numbers should reflect the reality of your constraints. By writing down the situation and describing all of its intricate parts, you will be able to see blind spots, adopt a new perspective, and make decisions on how to proceed based on all of the factors.
2. Be mindful of your inner dialogue. Your thoughts impact your feelings and actions. Process your thoughts and recognize that you can choose which thoughts to hold on to and which to let go of because they are not worth your time or energy.
3. Differentiate your thoughts, fears, and theories from objective facts. In times of threat and uncertainty, we tend to be much more pessimistic in our interpretations of reality. Ask yourself, "Is this true?" Questioning our thoughts can help us differentiate the rational from the irrational that might not be serving us.
4. Dedicate time to listening to yourself. Throughout our lifetime, we have the opportunity to continually grow, develop, change and uncover our authentic selves. Ask yourself what your passions, dreams, and values are that you feel are core to your DNA. What is truly important for you? To uncover your deeper purpose, try writing a life mission and vision statement that can serve as your guiding compass. Understand what your way of living is and what isn't. There are many workbooks that can facilitate this process, although I recommend Designing Your Life.
5. If you experience negative feelings, ask yourself, "is thinking this way beneficial to me? Does it make me feel better? Does it help me resolve my problems more effectively?" If not, try thinking about the situation from a different point of view––it's all a matter of perspective.
6. Surround yourself with the right people and environment. Identify those who wish for you to succeed, that appreciate you and will help you. You can call these people your cheerleaders.
7. Stay physically active. Being active improves your mood and reduces negative thoughts (it's pure chemistry). Eat healthy, balanced meals––your body's wellness will affect your mind.
8. Talk to people. Initiate coffee meetings with colleagues or friends to talk about what you might be thinking or feeling. Sharing with others will make people open up to you, and you will see you are not alone. Don't be afraid to network with people, as it will make you feel alive and vital. This will get your wheels turning and spark creativity. Great initiatives and ideas can come from the people you talk to.
9. Read, learn, ask, open your mind and heart. Learnability is the most crucial skill nowadays. Reflect to yourself on all the things you are talented in. Work with your strengths and personal assets to learn more practice more.
10. Believe in yourself. If you could do it once, you can do it again. There is no better evidence than our past achievements to remind ourselves of what we are capable of.
It is particularly easy to become overwhelmed in times of stress. Remember, it is possible to cultivate and practice the behaviors, habits, and mindsets that will keep us on track. If we flip our lens on 2020 to one of the positive outcomes, we can look at the COVID period as an opportunity to practice becoming a better version of ourselves. After acclimating to the initial pandemic shock, now is the time to integrate the lessons you learned throughout COVID and act on them.
I would love to hear your comments and feedback. What practices have you found to be most helpful in managing these uncertain times?