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4 ways I am working on handling the COVID change.
We are living, and working in, unprecedented times. In less than a month our whole home and work routine has been upended, our business model has changed, and many of the usual ways we would manage energy and stress are not available to us.
Because of my experience in managing change amongst other things, a few people have asked me what I, personally, am doing. So I thought it may be helpful to share some of the concepts that I have found helpful in the current situation and what I have done with that information to try and stay positive and focussed. That said, I do want to re-iterate that when it comes to any kind of change, the stages of transition might be generally the same, but our journies are individual. What works for one person may not work for another, and that's okay. I am sharing my 'way' in the hopes it may give you some ideas, but if none of it is right for you, then set it all aside!
Here are a few concepts/ frameworks that help me to identify what is going on for me and what I need.
- The SCARF model of threat and reward. This model by Dr David Rock of the Neuroleadership Institute looks at our triggers. Right now COVID-19 is pushing a lot of my buttons, so my actions are designed to push them back in a good way! You can read more about the SCARF model here. https://qrisnetwork.org/sites/default/files/materials/SCARF%20A%20Brain-based%20Model%20for%20Collaborating%20with%20and%20Influencing%20Others.pdf
- Anxiety can be caused by anticipation. We wind forwards in our heads and start imagining the future. While that can help us to be prepared, it can also increase anxiety. Staying in the present can help. You can read a good article on anxiety here. https://hbr.org/2020/03/anxiety-is-contagious-heres-how-to-contain-it?autocomplete=true
- The power of the mind and the link between body and mind. Our whole body is a system, you work on one aspect it affects all of it, so if I want to be healthy overall I need to work on mind and body health. I talked at the Facebook Live on Monday about the impact of meditation and how beneficial it can be. You can read more about that here. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#317d35931465
So, what did these insights and understandings turn into for me? Essentially there are 4 actions that I am trying to take every day to help me handle the impact of COVID-19 on my life.
Controlling what I can control (and letting go of the rest).
I can’t control everything. I would like to! But that is simply not realistic. So I put my efforts into what I can control; having sufficient groceries, setting activities for the kids to complete, scheduling my work day, checking in with clients and team members. These things I can control. I can’t control if everyone else complies with physical distancing, but I can manage myself. I can’t control how other people act and react, but I can control myself. When I find myself getting frustrated, I ask “what is in my control in this situation?”, and then focus on that.
Taking care of my overall well being
Walking the dog, doing an online fitness class, practicing a morning meditation, eating better. These are all the things I am paying attention to. There is a clear connection between mind and body, so the more active we are, the better our brains work. I am also destined to be in a house full of snacks for the next 3 months so my waistline will not thank me if I don’t pay attention to it!
When I think about the SCARF triggers mentioned above, certainty is one of those triggers. Even though certainty would be lower on my priority list, things don’t get much more uncertain than they are now. Having a routine can help with certainty, so over the last week I have focussed on establishing a new routine at home and also seeing it as an opportunity to do some things I know I should have been doing up until now, but struggled to work into my existing routine, like meditating and having a proper lunch break!
Avoid winding forwards in a bad way and looking for the opportunity in uncertainty
Anxiety comes when we wind forward and start to imagine scenarios we can’t impact, control or feel un-prepared for. When I find myself doing this, I have been choosing one of two options. Firstly, I try to find the opportunity in the uncertainty. There is nothing inherently good or bad in uncertainty, the good and bad comes from how we approach it. So, what positives can I see in the future scenarios I am thinking about? How can I use the uncertainty to get more of what I want in the future? Usually that helps me think positively about what is to come. If that doesn’t work, then I try path 2, which is to come back to the present and ground myself here, rather than staying worrying about the future.
Some days I am successful in all this. Other days less so! But each day is an opportunity to get better at it! Hopefully some of that helps! These are unprecedented times, and there is no right way to handle this type of change. There is a lot of 'advice' out there and you can't do it all, so figure out what helps you and focus on that.
As always, our goal is to share useful information and practical tips for all the tough people stuff that may help you figure out what is right for you and your team or organization. If there are topics you would like us to cover please let us know and we will build them into our social media schedule.
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