This time last year, as we approached Halloween and the winter festivities, none of us had any idea that our lives were about to change dramatically. We certainly didn’t consider the idea of being forced to wear a face covering to go shopping or get petrol and had no expectation of a lockdown and isolation period which would prevent us from seeing family and friends, let alone going out for dinner. This pandemic is ravaging employment, destroying livelihoods and stealing loved ones. And it’s happening… on a global scale!
As a Transformational Coach and Mindset Trainer, this is a stark reminder that we cannot control the occurrences and catastrophes which take place around us and more importantly, the events and accidents which may happen to us. Of course, this is always true, but the heightened sense of uncertainty and being isolated in our own homes for days, weeks and even months, on end, changes our perception of how the world operates and what life is all about. Right now, we wait patiently to find out if we will have to suffer a second, third, and perhaps a fourth wave of measures, which impact upon our lives.
Multiple sources indicate that we are now living through an unrivalled drop in carbon output, albeit temporary. Apparently, no war, no recession, no previous pandemic has had such a dramatic impact on emissions of CO2 over the past century as C-19 has in just a few months. This is certainly the silver lining for our environment. But what about humans? What’s our silver lining? How can we benefit from lockdown and social distancing?
Now, more than ever, we need to be tolerant, resilient, tenacious and steadfast. Each and every one of us gets to decide how we respond to these events, and it is the decisions we make that will determine our psychological and emotional outcome during the pandemic. Here are some tips and ideas on what you can do to identify the silver lining to this cloud, which will help you remain positive and resilient whilst waiting for the good times to return. Make no mistake, this is a cloud, a large, black storm cloud that took the life of a member of my own family. But this too, shall pass.
1. Consider Your Media Intake
Today, it’s possible to watch the News for 24 hours a day, and whilst it’s important to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing advice and guidance we need to comply with, it’s not necessary to have the News on all day. It can become very addictive, but after a certain point, it can become more upsetting than informative. Make sure the information you are getting is from reputable and non-sensational sources… we are all familiar with the term “fake news”. If television is your only source of company and entertainment, try to watch something uplifting or humorous and if you know that you watch way too much tv on a regular basis, make a decision to watch funny material every day and be reminded of how good it is to laugh, which in turn will allow you to maintain a healthier mindset.
2. Find New Ways to Socialise
Now more than ever, contact with your family and friends is crucial. Even when social distancing rules are in place, with today’s technology, it’s simple enough to stay in touch with your loved ones. Your silver lining in this case, might be to reach out and reconnect with family members that you haven’t seen for some time. Perhaps it’s something you’ve been meaning to do for some time. Schedule regular phone and video calls, plan to have dinner, watch a movie or play games over Zoom, FaceTime, Skype or Houseparty (there are plenty of platforms to choose from). One summer evening we removed some panels from our fence and enjoyed a barbecue with our neighbours, remaining in our own gardens.
If you do find yourself feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, then it is even more important to have someone you can reach out to. By expressing your worries with someone you trust, you’re more likely to feel relaxed and safe.
3. Keep Yourself Busy
Try to participate in activities you really enjoy, to retain some sense of normalcy in your life. Engaging in activities can help you to relax and take your mind away from the difficulties you may be experiencing, or simply imagining. Find time to unwind and remind yourself that these strong feelings will fade with time. During the isolation period, if you find yourself with more spare time at home, why not use this as an opportunity to do more of what you love: gardening, crafting, DIY, reading, writing, and painting… the list really is endless.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill like a new language or gain a qualification or certification for your next career move. From my point of view, as a Transformational Coach and Mindset Trainer, it’s certainly the best time ever to be learning about how your mind works and how you can become self-empowered, build resilience and hope. You can achieve this with books, online courses or by hiring a Coach. You will learn tools and strategies which will be useful throughout your life, with or without C-19.
Helping others in your community is another great way to keep yourself busy and really make a difference to those in need. It can be as simple as doing the shopping for a neighbour, cutting their lawn, walking their dog, shopping with local stores or giving to a food bank.
4. Exercise Your Mind and Body
You can be certain that physical exercise will help to burn off the extra cortisol released in your brain. This is a stress hormone which causes symptoms of anxiety and stress. After it’s released into your body, it needs time to be flushed out of your system and exercise will help accelerate this process.
It always makes sense to nourish your brain and body with quality nutrients which can significantly change the way you think and feel. C-19 has simply heightened the importance of taking care of our mind and body. Take this opportunity to cook fresh food, learn some new recipes, incorporate more fruit, salad and vegetables. Research the foods which can help to get your immune system into peak condition. Filling your body with the right nutrients can help you feel better, sleep well and have the energy that you need for optimal health and wellbeing. My own silver lining was to finally buy a smart watch which allows me to monitor my sleep and more importantly encourages me to ensure I take at least 10,000 steps every day.
Exercise may be the only way you can get out of the house, so take full advantage of it. Go for a walk (take a mask if it makes you feel more comfortable). If you’d rather stay at home, why not try some of the online classes like yoga, pilates, dancing, indoor cycling, low-impact and high impact fat burning? The key to success is making the activity you choose, good fun.
5. Take up Meditation or Mindfulness
Over the years, many of my clients have shared myths and misconceptions around Meditation and Mindfulness, consequently it may not be something you would usually consider. However, these are practices which anyone can do and today there is a format for everyone… checkout Walking Meditations, for example, download an app like Calm or Headspace (you can get basic versions for free). No matter which method you adopt, meditation and mindfulness are great ways to pacify your mind, enhance your sleep, and remain grounded in the present moment when overwhelming thoughts arise.
6. Spend Time in Nature
Research shows that being in nature for as little as 10-minutes each day can reduce our levels of stress and increase feelings of happiness. The sunshine can be a great way of boosting your immunity by topping up your Vitamin D levels. Simply being exposed to all of nature’s wonders stimulates the brain. Don’t just walk or cycle through the countryside, stop and enjoy it, soak it up, ponder on how amazing nature really is, and how little we know about it. It’s been suggested that spending a lot of time in natural surroundings can help people become creative and more productive when they return home. Short-term memory can improve and attention skills may be boosted.
The Silver Lining?
Whenever you are experiencing stress, frustration, disappointment, anger, sadness or internal turmoil, it’s likely to be your intellectual resistance to significant change and uncertainty. In order to move forward, it is important to recognise you are in control of your thoughts and actions. If you are determined to improve the opportunities available to you, it is up to you to make a positive change.
There’s no doubt about it, C-19 is impacting all of us. During this stressful and constantly changing period, many of us are struggling with health and wellbeing, re-assessing work and relationships, contending with our finances and weight. But, perhaps the very fact that this pandemic may force you to stay at home, have some down time, be on your own for a while, provide the time to re-evaluate your values and core beliefs, and afford you with the space you need to reflect on the bigger picture, is the best silver lining of all.
This is not something you have to do on your own. Coaching can help you to think things through, work out what to focus on, what your priorities are, what options are available to you and create a plan of action. It’s time to re-consider what you want your life to look like, so be proactive and take this opportunity to pause.
About the Author: Paul Becque
Paul Becque is a Transformational Coach and Mindset Trainer. He helps people take their ideas and plans from where they are now, to where they want to be. For the past ten years, he has worked with a wide range of clients, seeing them step out of their comfort zone, enjoy real growth and get the results they want and deserve. But change requires action and consequently, his coaching goes above and beyond the usual lip-service and accountability chatter. Exceptional service is found within the experience of lasting transformation and empowerment – this is based on effective choices, powerful decisions, and constructive behaviour. Great change doesn’t happen overnight but you can take the right steps today.
For more than 30 years, Paul has conducted his life as if it were a personal development experiment in an effort to understand the human mind, habits and behaviour. This has provided him with opportunities to travel the planet, talk to audiences around the world and empower others to flourish in all aspects of their lives. However, he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Not everything was a bed of roses. Paul has endured his fair share of dark days, hair-raising moments and occasions when he considered ending it all. It’s these painful junctures that fuelled his compulsion to understand what life is all about, and why only a handful of people seem to enjoy complete success and fulfilment whilst most of us ricochet from one compromise to another in an effort to find some comfort and at best, moments of happiness. You can learn more about Paul at engagewithsuccess.com and request a FREE 15-minute Life Strategy call.