As we navigate the cultural adjustments going on right now, I wanted to share some things that are helping me not lose my sanity and helping me keep calm in a time of crisis. I know that worry is counterproductive, but I am an anxious person and am in need of some practical steps to help me with anxiety. I am sure you can add to this list, so please feel free to do so.
Here are eight things I am doing during the coronavirus season. Please know that I am navigating these days imperfectly and will clumsily learn along the way. I like the idea of learning and helping each other do this.
1. Staying connected.
Even when things are normal, we need to connect with people. Now that our environments and options are very limited, we have to be much more intentional about this. Naming our concerns and fears and talking to friends about them is extremely helpful, so I am connecting with my closest friends by phone or Zoom each week. I also know my destructive worry habits (news addiction and carbohydrate comforts), and I talk about those with my friends. I am also doing this with my daughter who is single and living in an apartment out of state.
2. Maintaining a schedule.
I work better, think better, and am a nicer person when I have structure. I am scheduling my work time, exercise time, meal times, and dog walking time. Creating a new normal will help me be focused and stay productive during this season.
3. Limiting my news intake.
I tend to get glued to various news sources in times like this, so I am trying to watch news at designated times during the day. I watch local and national news for an hour in the morning, look at news apps a few times during the day (rather than a hundred times during the day), and view an hour of news at night.
4. Serving my neighbors.
I reached out to my neighbors, and I have a number of elderly neighbors who will likely have some needs over the next few weeks. We are all now connected digitally, and we are all communicating with each other like never before. Someone dropped off St. Patrick’s Day cake at my house yesterday to say “thank you.” This doesn’t help with my carb comfort habit, but it is extremely kind.
5. Meditating on who God is and His role right now.
Worship music and the Psalms are powerful calming factors for me. As part of maintaining a schedule, I am taking time each morning to center myself with these sources.
6. Staying active.
For now, we are free to roam about the outdoors. Daily walks with my wife and our dog are proving to be therapeutic and super helpful. Now, I just need to up my game on planks at home. My kids are out of the house, but if you have young children, I am sure you are getting creative with them when it comes to schedules and activities.
7. Laughing a lot.
It’s hard to laugh in the midst of worry and panic, but laughter really is good for the soul. I have actually watched two Netflix comedy specials to make myself lighten up. Obviously, I need to use discretion in my Netflix choices, but there are some fairly healthy appropriate comedians out there.
8. Working continues.
I lead a staff of people, and we have a team of smart, gifted leaders. If we have to work 100% from home, I plan on treating my work hours the same. I will utilize Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other useful tools to keep us all connected and moving ahead with creative responsive work. I plan on dressing for work and keeping a structured work schedule.
Leading ourselves well in times like these is extremely important. People need you right now like never before. Let’s navigate these days wisely together.