By Kenny Leahman
We learned a few days ago of the second Covid-19 related death in our close circle of friends and family. Fortunately, two close friends who had the virus have completely recovered. This whole scenario still is very up close and personal for us.
In response to numerous comments by several close friends and clients about how concerned they are, and the fact that their anxiety levels keep rising, I’ve put together these tips on how to cope. I imagine there are others out there who might also appreciate a few tips and ideas that they might not have already considered, so here’s a start.
Please feel free to pass this on.
Be Mindful: Be mindful of what you’re doing and why! Now is the time to be very conscious of our choices!
Lead: We don’t need a title or a position to lead. I’ve never experienced a time in my life where leadership was more critical. Find ways to lead in your family, in your virtual workplace, in your virtual community and in your neighborhood.
The News: Turn it Off! The same, sad, scary information cycles over and over and can wear you down! Don’t worry about missing something important, because replays are everywhere. Sad news generates sad feelings! It WILL wear you down if you’re not careful! TURN IT OFF!
Engage: We just did a brief, but meaningful “through the glass door from ten feet away gettogether” with a neighbor. It was a big boost for all of us. Now’s the time to expand, not shrink your circle of contacts. Be the one to reach out! Keep engaged! Do NOT retreat! I’m consciously reaching out now to people I miss and haven’t engaged with for a while. Do more Personal vs Impersonal communication! Use tech to your advantage, e.g., ZOOM in on someone; SKYPE! Check out the SIGNAL app if you don’t already have it. It’s better than WhatsApp and more secure. (My Prediction: “Zoom” could be a 2020 word of the year!)
Read: Start or join an online book club! Most books are now online. No need to visit a library or go to the bookstore. Balance out your TV Time with Reading Time.
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) Free! HBR is offering all its Covid-19 related articles free to the public. Check out the weekly, sometimes daily, articles with tips on how to be more productive; how to conduct better virtual meetings; how to juggle family, work and stress; and one of my favorites: Focusing Attention
Learn! A friend led me Great Courses Plus. Now is a great time to broaden our minds and to explore new dimensions rather than letting this crisis mess with our emotions. The more engaged we are with our brains, the more control we have over scary thoughts and anxiety. Learn a new language; Visit the Louvre.
Movies! Film Festivals are coming to you online, including the "We Are One" You Tube Film Festival! from 29 May–7 June with 20 partners—streaming free to cinema fans everywhere. The event will feature programming from 20 top film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Venice Film Festival. Donations received will go to support the World Health Organization (WHO).
Cook! Share with others from your kitchen! We’ve been cooking more for fun! We got invited and joined in on a “share your favorite recipe” chain letter. Chain letters aren’t everyone’s thing, but sharing cooking ideas, recipes, discoveries, and successes can be a great way to engage! Did you just bake or cook something that turned out great? Or if it didn’t, is there someone who could “coach you a bit” to get it right? If you haven’t seen it, the Netflix Series, SALT FAT ACID HEAT is pretty fun and educational.
De-litter your part of the planet: One of my favorite organizations, 4Ocean, is struggling as a result of the current situation and has had to shutter some of its global operations. This week, while walking through our neighborhood—which has a beautiful stream—I decided that I’m going to begin carrying a trash bag on my walks so that I can collect garbage (including stuff that’s in the stream) and recycling or trashing it at home. It’s a great time to begin helping to de-litter our own small part of the planet.
Be Active: Get up and move! Do more walks; go for a run; do the stairs in your home or building more than usual; find an online exercise class or trainer; stretch!
Restaurants—Still an Option: Hard hit and innovative, MANY restaurants are still, or have begun bringing GREAT meals to your doorstep. So far, we have organized two neighborhood ‘virtual dinners.’ We contacted our favorite restaurant, placed one big collective order and had it delivered to our home. We then delivered the food to our neighbors’ doorsteps, shared hellos and virtual hugs through glass doors, then enjoyed a virtual evening dinner together. ‘Twas a big Win-Win in many ways for us AND the restaurant team!
Many restaurants are now offering grocery delivery.
Music: Make a Feel Good Tunes playlist and play it loud! Change it up; Update it often!
Dance: Dance alone or dance together with friends on video! And if YOU don’t dance, watch some videos on YouTube or online of others who REALLY can. Check this one out! Amazingly well done and sure to make you smile! – Vintage Movie Stars Dance to Uptown Funk
Help someone else | Give of yourself:
Find the lonely: Who do you know who’s alone? Find them. Call them; don’t put it off. We’ve done more calls recently with our seniors and have been able to tangibly hear their smiles and gratitude.
SHARE! Find or be an empathetic listener. If you’re feeling anxious or scared, share your feelings. Remember that right now, MANY others are feeling the same way. When I’m feeling anxious or concerned, a great way to get out of my own head is to support someone else. It ALWAYS makes me feel better.
Volunteer: Find an online volunteer option … NOTE: These are all from a quick Google search; I have not validated ANY of them.
Donate! Donations are needed now more than ever! Giving to others ALWAYS lifts my spirits! Use this time to clean out a closet, sort through stuff that’s just sitting unused, and donate! Call a charity and schedule a pick-up from your doorstep or sidewalk.
Use your time wisely: Make a schedule and keep to it. Don’t sleep in every day. Get up, get going, and if needed, because stress can definitely generate fatigue, take a nap at an appropriate time later in the day. But, remain productive.
Hobbies: Return to that hobby you dropped a while ago. I’m playing the piano again, and I’m also going to practice my fly-fishing cast more often (alone, of course, or at least six feet down or upstream from my fishing buddy).
Video parties! We recently celebrated my birthday on Zoom, and good friends have invited us to join their weekly Thursday night video dance parties!
Gardening: I do some gardening in our yard, but mostly in containers. Even if you haven’t ever gardened before, you can order some seeds or even small live plants online for delivery. Getting my hands in the soil, planting, watering, then caring for plants is great for the soul. Nature is miraculous. Bring some of it into your life right now.
Walking outdoors: During a walk alone or with family, look for all the signs of Spring, and take photos along the way of unique and fun stuff.
Share photos: I’m a photographer and am currently sending a ‘photo of the day’ to a circle of friends and loved ones! The photos our daughter texts us of our brand new grandson are a HUGE positive! And then…hearing him coo when we do video calls is enough to chase away ANY dark cloud or sad news story.
LAUGH! Humor is the BEST medicine, especially in times like these. We scheduled a Zoom call with friends for 30 minutes and it lasted two hours! We laughed nearly the entire time. Find funny animal videos on YouTube or your favorite comedian. Find a way to laugh!