2020 may be defined as the Year of Craziness. January began with a booming economy. Most who wanted a job found opportunities open to them. Children were in school. Colleges were open for in-person education.
Suddenly, virtually overnight, we found our world had changed. When chaos reigns, how can you stay in control of your business, your life and your well- being? Here are four ways which can help you navigate the quarantine and exit the business shutdown in a more positive manner:
1) Maintain a Schedule
Creating a schedule can help maintain a sense of order in chaotic times. Wake up at your regular time. Set a specific time to exercise, to safely connect with others (FaceTime, Zoom, group texts or calls), and to work. If it’s time for a career change, use this “work time” to increase your skill set or apply for new positions.
Having a “to do” list and keeping to a schedule can help relieve some of the stress of this chaotic time by taking control of what we can control. Taking control of what you can makes it easier to let the universe handle the rest.
2) Remain Active
Gyms and yoga studios may be closed, but we can still remain active. If you live near the ocean, walk along the beach. The ocean sounds and smells are renewing. If you live near a nature trail, turn off your phone and listen to the birds and other nature sounds while you walk. They can remind you that there is more out there than what we hear on the news.
Many websites have free yoga and other exercise classes. Schedule one into your day. A good stretch can relieve muscle tension. Who knows? When this quarantine is over, you may find yourself stronger, both mentally and physically. Exercise releases endorphins for an immediate “feel better” benefit. But it also has long term benefits of a stronger body better able to handle stress.
3) Make time for Safe Social Connections
While we may not be able to meet friends at the local hangout for brunch or happy hour, FaceTime, Zoom and other meeting tools have allowed us to maintain social connections in a safe manner. Family FaceTime, happy hours with friends, girlfriend brunches where mimosas and girl-talk flow freely are great ways to continue to stay connected. Stay at home/Safer at home orders may make in-person connections more difficult, but technology allows us to see and talk to each other, whether one to one, or in a group.
Remember to check in with older family members and friends. Isolation can lead to depression and days are longer when all of your normal activities have been cancelled. Pick up the phone and have a nice long chat with your Mom or Grandmother. Take a moment to send a handwritten letter letting older relatives and friends know you are thinking of them. Maintaining that connection helps to relieve stress and is uplifting. Knowing someone is thinking about you even when they cannot be with you is a gift all of us can give to those we care about. You just may find it is a gift to yourself as well!
4) Create a Business Plan
Eventually our economy will reopen. It’s time to make a plan. Your business or job may not look the same as it did pre-quarantine. If you are a business owner, you will need to comply with cleaning, social- distancing and mask requirements for your area and business type. If you are an employee, you too will need to comply with continued distance and cleaning requirements. Masks may be required. While necessary while COVID remains a problem, the psychological effect of seeing constant cleaning, having to wear a mask at work, or being required to remain distant from co-workers can be daunting. Some employees may need to take public transportation to work and may not be ready to get on that train or bus. Make a plan. Will you allow employees to work from home for a bit longer? For those with compromised immune systems, you may need to accommodate their need to work from home longer. Make a plan now so all know what will be expected.
If you are an employee who realizes you are not ready to commute to work via public transportation, create your own plan. Update your resume. Learn a new skill. Apply for more local jobs. Now is the time to prepare for the re-opening of our local economies and to either create an updated business plan, or find a new personal path for your career.
As we navigate our chaotic times and try to create some control, remember that hope is stronger than fear. We may not be able to control the world around us, but we can control how we choose to react to it. Keep a schedule. Remain active. Maintain safe social connections and create a business plan so you know your way forward. These are things we can do. These are things that will help us see the way forward. You CAN choose to be stronger today than you were yesterday. Each new day is a new opportunity to move forward. Take that step and move forward.