This COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. Just a few months ago, we had no idea our 'world' would be confined to our homes!
This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is - and how much we need human connection!
Remember you are not alone. Because what is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted! Your neighbour, mom, boss and friends as well as your counterparts around the world are all going through something similar.
So, it's important to remember:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor E. Frankl
This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we're going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it.
Here Are 15 Things You Can do to Make Your Life Better while Physically Isolated:1) Create a Healthy, Supportive RoutineWhen we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do at the moment), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule.
While we're all stuck in anxiously waiting at home, it's easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality.
This routine or schedule can be as simple as:
It's also important to recognize weekends because it's too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:
2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility!Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health, but feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too!
So, add some physical activity into your schedule - as little as 15 minutes daily. Maybe by the end of this you'll be fitter or even be able to do 10 (or 100!) press-ups!
There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas:
3) Learn with Non-Fiction Books:Use this time at home to educate yourself with non-fiction books. There is so much to be gained - like self-confidence, negotiation skills, health (sleep, nutrition), how to have difficult conversations and much more.
What keeps you up at night? There's probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There's probably a book about that too!
Here are some book ideas to get you thinking:
4) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning:There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they're growing by the day!
Grow your personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like Coursera or Udemy.
There are many other providers.
If there's a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any - and check money-back guarantees as you need to!
And with so many learning options ranging from FREE to tens of dollars to the low hundreds of dollars, there will be something out there just perfect for you.
5) Explore your Life Vision:Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture - your future. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?
Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action and make change. Soon, we'll all be super-busy again - and a vision might be just what you need stay focused!
Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:
And if you'd like some help with creating a vision for your life, I'm offering a free Life Visioning Coaching Session. Just call me Deb Higgins at 910-444-8963
6) Be in the moment:In THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.
This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING.
This is a PRACTICE - meaning you will have to do it over and over again - bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it's a great skill to have to take back to "normal" life.
So, when you notice you're worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the "latest" is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, "It's OK. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment I am OK." You can also add or say, "In this moment, my children/husband/family are safe."
EXTRA TIP: Reduce or minimise how often you watch and read the news! And DON'T read or watch the news (or articles about COVID-19 or similar) just before bed!
7) LaughDistracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better!
Laughter releases helpful chemicals in our bloodstream - Endorphins (our natural "happy" drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily "reward" system). My favorite comedian right now is Sabastian Maniscalco. You can see his comedy routines on You Tube. He is a guaranteed laugh fest!!
It's great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:
You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started.
Many years ago, I started a journal that I wrote poetry in, that somehow morphed into writing song lyrics, and I ended up writing a song for Richie Havens that was played during the Mandela Concert in Yankee Stadium! You never know where your journaling will take you, so start one now. It might be good to write down the history of what we are going through now for others who may one day have to walk in our shoes.
9) Be Kind!Kindness and compassion are one of the most powerful tools any of us have in our toolbox right now. Many of us are largely housebound, never mind the fear that you or a loved one might actually catch the COVID virus! So, of course we're going to feel unpleasant and weird.
And living your values could be the single most important thing any of us can do right now.
Here's an exercise you can do:
"If you don't know or are not sure of your values, now is a great time to learn. I'm offering a free Values Session or Values Review Session just call me at Deb K. Higgins Coaching (910) 444-8963 or go to my web site debkhiggins.com to learn more about how coaching can help you through this difficult time.
12) De-ClutterI bet you have some organizational things on your to-do list (like going through winter clothes, sorting out toys to donate or tidying the laundry closet, garage or shed) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done!
Getting organized and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives - and therefore feel less helpless! Plus, it'll feel amazing just to have it done.
Organize your closets, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!
* Be aware that some plants are poisonous to pets - so please check.
14) Send "Real" Snail Mail Letters or CardsGo old-fashioned. Who doesn't love to receive a lovely card or handwritten letter in the post box! Rediscover the lost art of letter-writing and make someone's day.
Yes, you could send an email appreciating someone, and that's great. But imagine your recipient's face as they pick up that hand-written card in the mailbox.
Wondering what to say? Write from the heart! Here are some ideas to get started:
There is a lot to learn about meditation - and it's called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it's also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day - and it's good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day. Get a book on "Meditation for Beginners" or go to Youtube or Google and search for "How to Meditate". Another good place to start is "Metta" or "Loving Kindness" meditation. Again, search online and you'll have lots of options to choose from.
It helps to have a quiet space without interruptions - which many of us don't have at the moment. And for some people, trying to meditate when anxious can be stressful. If this is the case, listen to a relaxing guided meditation instead.
Another idea is to listen to a sleep meditation or "Body Scan Meditation" before going to sleep.
Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what - you'll find a way.
This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. And when it does, you'll be proud you made the effort to learn something - whether it's about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill - and who knows what else!
Deb K. Higgins is a Career and Life Transition Coach who received her MS in Social Work at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She worked in mental health for several years before starting her own coaching business. Prior to her work in mental health Deb worked at Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute and New York University where she counseled hundreds of students in career choices and job acquisition. You may reach her through her web site at www.debkhigginscoaching.com or by calling her for a free introductory session at (910) 444-8963.
There aren’t too many things I am sure of, especially since this Covid-19 epidemic, however, one thing I am sure of is there is going to be a lot of musical chairs when it comes to jobs, while things are opening up and after the epidemic is over.
According to Kiplinger 4.9 million workers lost their jobs in May 2020.
The many people that have been laid off or lost their jobs will be seeking either the employment they had, or another position. The vast majority will take this opportunity to interview for the jobs they may have wanted to in the past, but were too afraid of losing their health insurance, or didn’t have enough time to research positions and send out resumes, to make the jump. There will also be an opportunity to start in a completely different field. As with musical chairs the quicker and more prepared you are, the more chance you will get the right position. Using this time, wisely, is wise.
The interview will make or break the job seeker, and to be prepared will be the key. Some people like to go to the job interview thinking they will wing it, using their winning personality to get them through. A seasoned hiring manager will be used to overlooking that winning personality to search for depth and hope that the smile has something behind it.
There is good news. The interview doesn’t have to be frightening and can actually be enjoyable if you know what is coming. This is what the first in this series of articles is about: getting to know how an interview is structured and how to prepare for the behavioral interviewing questions that most hiring managers use. This tactic will get you more quickly into the chair you want to occupy.
You might be tempted to believe that the hiring manager will want to get right into the job and your qualifications for it, but most will want you to feel more at ease. They will use the first 10 to 15 minutes talking about where you live or where you were brought up, what hobbies you engage in, and will want to sell the value of mutual candor by being open and using open ended questions.
Open ended questions have been used by counseling professionals for years to help a client open up. The questions come in what, how, and why formats. For example: “What made you decide to take up your hobby? How exactly did you decide to move to this region of the country? What was your high school experience like?” Closed-ended questions are questions which can be answered by a "yes" or "no. For example: “Do you like this part of the country? Do you derive a lot of enjoyment out of your hobby? Did you like your last job?”
Knowing how the first 15 minutes of an interview will go will help you develop some answers that you can amend and use for anything that the interviewer might throw at you. Write a small biography of yourself which includes where your lived, why you decided to live there, what you enjoy doing, and why you enjoy doing it, and include what you liked most about your educational experiences. Get very familiar with this small biography. This way you are prepared to drive those first 15 minutes without any curves in the road that you haven’t prepared for.
It is important to remember also, that you are not the only one being interviewed. These first 15 minutes can be your chance to find out more about your hiring manager and what the possible environment of the company will be like. You can come back with some of your own open ended questions such as: What is the most highly valued quality for someone in the position I am interviewing for? How did you decide to take the job at xyz company? What do you like most about this company? These types of questions can already lead you into an invested relationship with your hiring manager in the first few minutes of your interview. For more behavioral questions to help you prepare, visit my career and life transition web site debkhiggins.com.
Deb has worked in mental health as a social worker helping her clients transform their lives.
This blog will contain articles on career, nutrition and other miscellaneous health, and pet care topics. I hope you enjoy the articles and feel free to comment on any you like or information you would like to share.