These are challenging times for all of us during this global pandemic while we struggle to adapt to our new way of life. Not only are we in a health and economic crisis, we are in an emotional crisis as well. In just a matter of weeks, our lives have changed and continue to change by the day.
There is a sentiment that is common amongest all of us, one that we can call Grief. We grieve for the life that we once had, for feeling isolated, for a world that’s changing, etc. We even anticipate grief that has not yet occurred through our worry.
During this episode, we talk about the stages of grief, and tools that we can use to get through this period in a stronger and more positive way.
I hope that this episode leaves you feeling more hopeful and positive as you find your own way through this new reality.
Mentioned on the show:
That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief – Scott Berinato, Harvard Business Review
David Kessler – Grief Expert
The Business of Thinking Big Podcast – Lianne Kim – Navigating Crisis Part 1 – Emotions
View the full transcript
Listening to another podcast episode from Liane Kim’s, The Business of Thinking Big Podcast on emotions inspired me to create this podcast. And if you haven’t checked her podcast out, I highly recommend – it’s one of my favourites.
[00:00:59] I’m recording this at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic where we are all in isolation. In a matter of a few weeks, we’ve gone from not really thinking that this is going to affect us too much to all of us cancelling our March Break plans and to now being in isolation with most businesses and schools closed down.
The news is very bleak and it’s really beyond distressing to see what’s happening in different parts of the world. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a really hard time. I’ve felt a roller coaster of emotions, including fear and sadness and anger. And really, I’ve just wanted to put my head in the sand so many times. And often I’ll find myself in tears while watching the news. And it took me a while to recognize what I was feeling until I read an article that my friend Libby Matzko, who works in psychology, sent to me, and I recommend reading it.
I’ll put it in the show notes. It’s called that Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief from the Harvard Business Review by Scott Berinato. And he references David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief.
[00:02:11] It mentions that we are all experiencing is grief, grief for our routines, for our old way of life going away, for feeling isolated, for a world that’s changing, for fear of economic troubles. And then we’re also feeling anticipatory grief. We anticipate grief that might happen like economic toll or getting the virus or your family getting sick or just wondering how long this is going to take. This really resonated with me because I couldn’t put a finger on how I was feeling and what I was feeling. And whatever your situation is, you’re probably feeling this in some form.
And I want to say it’s normal and it’s totally OK to feel this way. It’s good to name it and it’s good to recognize it and also not to suppress your feelings because that won’t help either. So if you need to cry or shout out, do so. It’s really OK. And it’s good to process your feelings. I know many of us focus on positivity and that’s important, but it’s also important to make sure you process your feelings.
[00:03:23] There are different stages of grief. The first one being denial. So I’m sure we’ve all said this at some point that “This virus – it won’t affect us”. The second stage is anger. “Oh, really? I had to stay home during March break?” I know. I was really not happy with that. And the third stage is bargaining. “This should only take until Easter”, according to a famous politician. The fourth stage being sadness. “When will this end? I want my life back.”
And the fifth stage being acceptance. “This is happening and I need to figure out my new normal.” And I think I’m on the acceptance side of it. But many times I go back to sadness.
[00:04:08] And so I’ve had some strategies that have helped me. And I want it provide you with tips to help your mindset at this time, because it is so important to take care of our attitude first. The only way we can actually help others is to start from a positive frame mind. So if you think of the oxygen mask in an aeroplane and the fact that, you know, they tell us to put our oxygen mask on first before we help our kids, it’s the same kind of thing – you need to protect yourself. So I’m going to give you my top 10 tips for protecting my energy and protecting my positive state of mind.
[00:04:50] The first is around the anticipatory grief. How do we stop ourselves from worrying? The article talked about getting into the present. And so rather worrying about what has not yet occurred.
We can focus on the here and now. And so if you haven’t tried meditation or breath work, now is a really good time.
There are tons of meditation apps out there that you can use to help you with this or even YouTube videos. Headspace is one. And I personally use Pellington meditation. So try meditation. Also try thinking about what is happening in the present rather than thinking about the past or the future.
[00:05:32] The second is focusing on what you can control. I find this really powerful and helpful. You cannot control the news, the amount of toilet paper available, the virus, but you can control your mindset, your mood, how you treat others, how you use your time, your physical activity, your nutrition, and most importantly, staying home and your physical distancing.
[00:06:01] Number three, how can this be a blessing? So think about how can this be a blessing for your family, for your work, for society, etc.? For me, I know it’s given me the gift of time.
I’ve always wanted more time. I wanted more time to be creative, to spend time with my kids, to learn to exercise, and recently to exercise. Just because of being super busy, it hasn’t been as big of a priority. And now we have the ability to do that. So think about how this can be a blessing for you.
[00:06:40] And number four is self-care. This is hugely important, especially now when we’re trying to improve our immunity – this means sleep, workouts, eating well, drinking lots and taking time for meditation. I see all those as being very critical in self-care. I have a coach who asked me when was it that I felt most powerful? And I’ll tell you, it was once when I was in the best shape of my life. It was many years ago that I was training for a fitness competition.
The routine and the discipline it took to work out to eat perfectly was a lot. But I look back on that at that time and it was probably the healthiest I’ve ever felt and the best I’ve ever felt. So now I’m making a commitment to work out every day, whether it is simply just a walk or doing weights in my basement. I have a little gym set up there, a spin bike, and I do cardio and yoga in front of an app that I use. And I also ensure that my kids are exercising.
So we do something called Mom Gym where I help them work out and we follow along with different exercise routines. And it’s a lot of fun. And definitely what it does is gets me more energized, gets my endorphins going, clears my head. And I can tell you that I definitely come up with my best ideas when I’m exercising and I’m moving. And then eating well is really important. I know it’s hard when we’re all at home and we always want to munch on things and we’re all baking at this time, but try to eat well 80 percent of the time at least and focus on clean eating, limiting processed foods.
I’m sure you understand all the drills about what clean eating is, but really it’s just limiting your processed flour and sugar and those things and focusing on clean foods that are at their purest forms and then sleeping at least eight hours a night, seven to eight hours at least, I think. And so I see that as a pillar of feeling better – when you take care of yourself, you sleep well, you exercise and you eat well.
[00:09:05] And then number five, setting up your day for success. So I don’t know if you have a morning routine. A lot of people are talking about morning routines these days and I don’t have one that I’m married to yet. But what I do find super helpful is to start my day with intention and to think about at least three things that I’m grateful for. And also think about what would make this day amazing. What do I want to happen?
So at the end of the day, I feel like, man, I’ve had a great day and given it my all. And the other thing I do is I work on affirmations and how I want to be and feel and act. So I know that some of you might think, ‘I don’t think I believe in affirmations. And so it’s not for me.’ And I was like that for sure once. But I truly believe that our affirmations are super powerful because what you say brings about your thoughts and feelings and eventually your actions.
So I say things like, I am worthy. I’m strong. I am unique. And I make sure to do that so that I start my day with positivity. And the other thing I do is visualize. So as I’m visualizing how my day is going to go, I think about what I need to do to be successful and and to make it a great day. And I visualize how I’m going to act and think and everything.
[00:10:42] And number six, give yourself some grace. This might not be your most productive time, and that’s OK. I mean, we’ve got kids at home while we’re working. They’re interrupting me while I’m working. I’m sure they’re going to come in while I’m recording this. And so if we can just focus on getting one thing done in that day, I think that’s pretty good. So a lot of you are probably type-A people.
You have a list of things to do. I know I did. And I’ve just tried to recently give myself some grace and slow down and try to appreciate things more and know that when I’ve done something, I should just give myself a high five.
[00:11:29] OK, next one is number seven. Try to look your best. And you know, it’s easy to roll out of bed and sleep in and not make an effort. But what is really helpful is if you actually set a schedule, you wake up, you get dressed, you try to look good and feel good. And I know that there are studies out there that show that when you do make an effort, you actually you feel better and you also you also perform better.
[00:12:04] Number eight is finding a buddy or somebody to help you like an accountability buddy or a Facebook business group or a coach finding somebody to help you. If you’re not feeling motivated and if you are just feeling down, it’s super helpful to talk to somebody about it.
[00:12:25] And number nine is to limit your social media and news and restrict it at a certain time to a certain time and definitely not before bed. So I’ve learned that the hard way many times. I watch news before bed and it really is not setting me up for a good night’s sleep because then I start to worry and so on.
So it’s important to protect our energy and definitely be careful about what we’re watching, what new sources we’re watching, and also how much we are are exposing ourselves to that kind of sad news. And do use social media and technology to connect with people – getting online with friends, using Google Hangouts or House party or….there’s so many things. There are so many ways to see and connect with people these days. And I found that really helpful.
[00:13:23] And then lastly, turning to faith. So I know not everybody has a faith that they follow. But I find it very helpful at this time. A teacher of my son sent us a beautiful email during March break and she quoted Matthew 6 and she said that Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. He says, “Can any one of you by worrying at a single hour to your life?” He does this because he knows that worry and stress doesn’t do anything for us. It doesn’t help our mental, spiritual and emotional health. Certainly not our immunity.
And he does this because he loves us. So do not worry. You are well taken care of. Try not to worry. I know it’s hard. It’s hard not to be fearful at this time, but it helps me to have faith and know what I believe in. And I do find that prayer is helpful. And it’s bringing us closer together, and closer to our faith more than ever.
[00:14:31] And so I hope this helps you during this period of time. These are the tools that I use to create more positivity in my life. This list is ever growing. I’m finding more tools every day. And as I listen to others and read more, I am learning more and more. And I just wish you the best.
I hope you stay safe. Do reach out if I can help you in any way. And I’m sending you so much love at this time.
Stay safe. Keep well. Thank you for listening.