The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our lives almost overnight. Our routines have been disrupted and the way we interact with each other, when face-to-face, is with tremendous care and caution. We are faced with the challenge of working from home while juggling all the distractions that come from life at home. Balancing the needs of family members, sometimes young kids, while meeting the demands of work is something very new for many and these adjustments are increasing our stress and anxiety levels. It doesn't take the mind long before it starts composing worst case scenarios and begins to wonder when this will all come to an end. During this critical time, it is especially important for us to find ways to remain composed, focused and productive.
In general, when things don't go the way, we start to point fingers at others and start playing the blame game. We've been blaming others since our childhood. It's almost a knee-jerk response and a mechanism we use to not accept our responsibility to the problem. However, there is no end to it and there is no winner. The problems with this game is that it only leads to more frustration, anger and stress which takes away our clarity and peace of mind.
Life will always provide us with incredible opportunities for growth and it will usually do that by throwing a wrench into our current plans. These obstacles allow us an opportunity to raise our self-awareness about how we react to such curve balls and what kind of person we become. Does our best side come out when challenged or does it turn us in to Mr. Hyde? Does it trigger our more compassionate and caring side or does a more selfish and indifferent aspect of our personality emerge.
In an attempt to create a more positive mindset towards our current situation and have a more mindful approach I’d like us to reflect on the following questions:
What is this situation teaching me about me?
How can these unforeseen obstacles help me I grow as a person?
Are any new opportunities arising as a result of this?
In addition to asking ourselves these questions, here are some mindful tips that can help us manage our stress, remain positive and come out the other end with a transformed approach to work and life.
Breathe Deeply — Take five deep breaths, filling your lungs completely, while focusing just on the breath and then thoroughly exhale breathing out all of your anxieties and fears. Mindful breathing can lower stress and helps put things in perspective. Encourage this as a family activity.
Take a Moment — Bring your awareness into your mind and take inventory of all the thoughts that are racing around in your head. Then breathe them out and empty out your mind even if it’s only for a few moments.
Express Gratitude — Focus on some of the positive situations happening in your life right now, whether small or big. This is a great way to shift your mood.
Appreciate Someone — Take a moment to appreciate a colleague, family member and friend for their good qualities and contributions.
Digital Disconnect — Take this rare opportunity to eat more meals with your family, spend quality time with them and connect deeply with each other while leaving all devices aside.
Sleep Tight — A lack of sleep can affect mood, judgment, memory and your overall health so make sure you’re sleeping enough so you can have clarity and focus to tackle whatever may come next. Try and put your phone away at least 20 minutes before you go to bed.
Eat Mindfully — Maintain a well-balanced diet and try to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and plenty of water. Staying hydrated can also lower stress.
Create a Schedule — The home can be filled with distractions so it is important to create a schedule for yourself, actually write it down, and try your best to stick to it. This will help you remain productive and provide a sense of accomplishment, instead of frustration, at the end of the day.
These suggestions will not only help us during the current pandemic and time of social isolation but will support us during whatever moments of confusion, crises and challenges we may face in the future. It’s also a great opportunity to make a commitment to ourselves to emerge from this situation with greater resilience, maturity and compassion.
Pandit Dasa is a mindful leadership expert, motivational keynote speaker and author who has spoken at Fortune 500 companies and helps organizations improve employee engagement, retention and workplace happiness. He helps individuals develop positive leadership qualities, lower stress and anxiety, increase focus and productivity and boost emotional intelligence.