Well here we are, in the middle of a world health crisis. Now that there’s about 3 months of experience of what to do and not do (from China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan) to contain the virus, I feel it’s time to take stock of what we can do during this time.
I’m located in the United States, in Southern California, about one hour south of Los Angeles Airport. The virus became more ‘real’ 4 days ago when the National Basketball Association suspended all games for at least 30 days due to 1 professional player testing positive for Coronavirus and realizing he may have infected his team mates and others he came in contact with over the previous 10-14 days. This led in quick succession to immediate suspension of nearly every live sporting event for the next 3 – 6 weeks in this country, and beyond.
I’m a human being (yes I am!) who has worked in the coaching profession for 22 years. I’ve been involved in my own personal development journey for over 30 years. I offer you this article from those perspectives, as I have vast experience of working with clients through challenges, as well as my own personal life circumstances, and professional challenges.
I’m not an expert on virus control. From that perspective, please forgive any oversights I may be blind to, and feel free to contact me and let me know of any ‘errors and omissions’ in this article.
The ICF has created a resource page for coaches and their clients which you can access here.
My hope is you read the following and quickly determine some things you are doing already and keep doing them. And where you might shift your habits and way of thinking to better support yourself, your family, your friends, peers, teammates, fellow workers and the wider community.
These are in an order to begin, then in no particular order. 😊
1. Understand why we need to minimize contact with others.
We now know that the actual number of people who have died from the virus is low, somewhere around 3% I believe. That’s 97% of those infected who are alive and recovered or are recovering. Think about that; 97% are recovered, or recovering.
The real issue is the way this virus spreads, which can be from another person, or from the virus being alive on a hard surface we touch.
If a person comes in contact with someone infected, they may not know they are now infected for 10-14 days before symptoms begin to show. In that time, they are contagious and don’t even know they are spreading the virus. Those most at risk are people who are already immune compromised, having an underlying health condition, which means they are more susceptible. By minimizing contact with others for the next month, the virus can’t find a new human host. You may inadvertently spread the virus to someone without knowing. We stop the virus spreading by minimizing contact with other people.
2. Leave your arrogance behind.
This is not the time to say this is a hoax, or a conspiracy, or this isn’t real. Come on people; accept the facts. At the same time, don’t do the spiritual bypass of saying this is blown out of proportion, it’s just a flu, leave it to God, Spirit, some Higher Power. That isn’t helpful. Don’t make others wrong for having fear or real concern for their well being.
Dare I assert that such arrogance is often a cover for fear? Yep, I did assert that. 😊
Here’s an example of the danger of arrogance. Search the internet for Rudy Gobert. An NBA player who denied the virus was real, and blatantly touched microphones, people and their possessions to allegedly prove that the virus isn’t real. Only to test positive to the virus. His arrogance was on display in his attitude and behavior. He has lost the trust of many, including his teammates. Not to mention those he put at risk of infection through his arrogance.
3. Take charge of your mind.
There’s so much we can do to stay safe and healthy, which involves what we do, where we go, how we think, how we talk to ourselves (self-talk), how we speak to others, and how we process all this emotionally. This is a big category (take charge of your mind), and I’ll break it down further throughout this article. For now, just know you have a lot of power to affect your own health and well being, and of those you are in contact with, physically and virtually.
4. Stay home, until World Health Organization officials tell us otherwise.
The quickest way to stop this virus from spreading is to stay away from other people. We are all being encouraged or mandated to stay at home, to minimize contact with others. I’m not a fan of the term ‘social distancing’ as we need to be more socially connected right now, just in a virtual way. I offer instead simply, “physical distancing;” minimize physical contact with anyone other than necessary people. Stay at home, without socializing with visitors (that means friends and extended family). Only leave for grocery shopping, and if safe, short walks around your neighborhood to get some exercise.
This might be an opportunity to deepen relationships with your loved ones, or house mates. Connected conversation where you listen to each other, without judgment. Really listen. Don’t interrupt as they speak. Listen. Listen. Learn. Be with each other.
5. Sanitize – soap and water.
Whenever you are out of your home environment, be conscious of what you touch. Wash your hands often, back and front, with soap and water. The recommended amount of time is 20 seconds. If you are at work, minimize what you touch. Keep your own desk area sanitized, meaning no-one touches surfaces in your office or area.
6. Connect virtually.
Technology is great for virtual connection. There’s Facetime, and other apps that many already use. Now is the time to have virtual web conference conversations with family and friends and in all work environments.
For business, I use Zoom.us web conference every single work day to connect with my clients around the world. It’s inexpensive for small business, and also great value for all business applications. A very easy to use platform, at a great price, with incredible functionality. I’ll never forget being a student in one zoom web conference that had over 700 people online at once!
7. Urge your company to expand use of web conferencing.
Many companies already extensively use web conferencing internally for employees to connect with each other for meetings and work projects. Yet these companies resist using web conferencing for external contractors, such as for individual and team coaching, training or other project work.
This could be the time to encourage your company to extend web conferencing to external contractors too, to continue with ‘business as usual’ as much as possible. Get over the thought that the only effective way to train and develop people is through in-person training. Again, I highly recommend Zoom.us web conferencing.
8. Be conscious in the workplace.
If you need to be physically at work this next month or so, then be conscious of your health. Be conscious of what you touch. Refrain from high-fiving or physical contact with team mates. Everyone has the same information right now, which makes it easier for everyone to be more conscious of their actions.
9. Eat at home as much as possible. Or order to go.
We live in a world of convenience, where regular dining out is a way of life for many. Right now though, is a time to eat at home, to avoid being around other people. If you are at work, consider taking your food to work so you are in control of who has touched your food, and food container. If you do want to get food from a restaurant, order to go instead of dine in the restaurant.
10. Eat nutritiously.
This is a time to eat to strengthen your body. Too much of the wrong food weakens your body. Eat for health. Drink in moderation. Be conscious of what and how much you eat and drink. Be vigilant to emotional eating.
11. Manage your emotions.
One of ways we lower our immune strength is through fearful thoughts. Fear is useful when you are in real physical danger, as the adrenaline energy is meant to get you out of danger. In relation to this virus, the majority of people are not in real danger, but live in the fear of being in danger. Be realistic; stay away from environments that could mean you’re susceptible. So it’s back to stay at home, or severely minimize who and how many people you are in contact with.
If you find yourself feeling afraid, ask yourself; what can I do to dissipate the fear? That might mean leaving the environment (for now) that you are in. Don’t go to the gym, or the yoga studio (this one has been hard for me but I’m not going).
Mostly though, we create unnecessary fear in our mind, which weakens our immune system. Yes, our feeling toward ourselves and others can weaken our body. Having been through a life-threatening illness; once I came to terms with the facts of the situation, I worked with my emotional self-talk. I chose to be the healthiest person going through a life-threatening illness. I’m grateful I’m 100% healthy now.
Check your fearful thoughts. Question yourself as to what you are afraid of. Do what you can to be safe physically. The rest emotionally speaking, is up to you to work with. More on emotions management to come below.
12. Live in this moment, mindfully.
Fear can be real in this moment, if we are physically or emotionally threatened. However, we tend to create fear through catastrophizing about the future. We think of the worst-case scenario happening to us or to others.
It’s up to us to talk back to this self-created fear. Or for those who fear they aren’t good enough; speak back with a counter voice that is kind and loving.
The unkind, fearful voice in all of us, IS NOT REAL. It’s made up by us. Mostly we engage in fearful thinking because we feel out of control of life in some way. Remember, fearful thoughts can weaken our immune system. Talk to yourself; the fear isn’t real in this moment. Stay present in this moment.
One way to do this is through mindfulness training which is simply the practice of paying attention in this present moment, without judgment. When a fearful thought comes up, examine it, without judgment. What can you do about the fear, if it’s real? If you’re not in danger, then by noticing you have fearful thoughts, these thoughts usually begin to dissipate.
Denying fearful thoughts has them fester inside us. Externalizing fearful thoughts can be harmful to others. Be in this moment, and examine; are you safe now? In this moment, is the fear real? Most often, the answer is no. Keep that habit of present-moment thinking and feeling, instead of reverting to fearful thinking and feeling.
13. Support others who are in need.
Take care of your emotional state first. Get into the present. You can be joyful in any life circumstance. Then consider who might need emotional support and reach out to them. This isn’t positive psychology, trying to get people to think positive. It’s about teasing apart the tangle of emotions we have that induce fear.
Meet each person emotionally, where they are. Listen to their fears. Gently ask them what they need to do to alleviate the fear. If they’re doing all they can and still have fear, perhaps share this blog article with them 😊.
I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga for 12 years, and in recent months almost daily. Now I’m not going at all, a decision that was hard to make in the past few days. Instead, I’m practicing at home. I’m telling myself (mindset management) that I’m taking care of myself, and this is the best way for now. Update March 20: My Bikram Yoga Studio just held their first zoom class, where 50+ yogis practiced together from home!
If weather allows, go for walks. The length, or pace of the walk doesn’t matter. Just get your body moving as that moves energy and emotion. Some people like to walk in the heat, others in the snow. Whatever the weather, find ways to get outdoors and simply walk.
Yesterday, my husband and I walked together for 70 minutes around our home area. Plus we did our usual 12 minute walk in the afternoon, and as always, our after dinner walk. I wear my long coat and hoodie as it’s cooler here right now. It’s quite beautiful to walk in the evening, a ritual we both love.
Walking may be enough for you. Or you may drive to a park, a beach, a mountain; somewhere in nature that feeds your spirit. Nature has a way of strengthening our immune system as we are in touch with the beauty of the earth, the grass, the sky.
If you have a bicycle, use it.
If you’re not going to the gym or other place you usually exercise, then find ways to exercise at home. Here are some ideas:
Engage in pushups, crunches, or other simple exercise that you can do with your own body weight. Challenge yourself, and your family, to a pushup competition over the next month. Purchase an online exercise program. Or sign up for a free trial of something fun online you can do at home.
Do 5-10 rounds of Salute to the Sun, which is a great way to energize your body any time of the day. Search online for a video showing you how to do this exercise routine.
Download an online app for an exercise class, or a dance class you can take from your living room.
Engage with your family in fun activities in your home (or yard).
Have fun exercising at home (fun is an emotion you can choose over fear).
16. Meditate, Pray, be Grateful.
Whatever your spiritual practice, engage in it from a place of love, caring and nurturing your spirit. No fearful, vengeful God thoughts; that isn’t going to support you, your immune system, or others.
17. No excuse for boredom.
There is absolutely no excuse to be bored while at home. Boredom is a lack of creativity on your behalf. It’s not a real ‘thing.’ Check your self-talk, your mindset, your attitude, and your habitual way of thinking and feeling.
What is it that you can do, but haven’t done because you don’t have the motivation to do it? Now is the time to talk to yourself in a kind way; choose what you are going to put your attention on, and do it. More tips on what to do at home are coming below.
18. Go for a drive.
If you have a car, and are tired of being at home, go for a leisurely drive. Perhaps in nature, weather permitting. It doesn’t have to be a long drive. For me, it’s about 30 minutes to drive to the beach, up the coast and home.
19. Clean and declutter your home.
Now might be the time to give your home a deep clean! Clean the floors, the doors, the walls, the windows.
What’s in your closet that you don’t need, don’t wear, or don’t like anymore? Create a pile to donate. Go room by room. We all tend to hold on to some items; really question if you still want that item, or if it’s time to let it go to a new owner. There are philosophies on decluttering your space. You can search the internet for something like “benefits of decluttering.”
What repairs can you do inside your home? Now is the time to do what you can.
What is in your garage? Our garage is going to get a good clean out in the next month! And weather permitting, a new coat of paint on the inside.
What about your garden or yard? Weather permitting, trim your plants. Yesterday, after the rain stopped, I was able to trim a plant that was looking straggly. Then the rosemary plant got a trim. I filled our green bin to the top. Next will be the abundance of weeds in the back yard. The rain has made the ground soft and it’s a good time to get those weeds out!
20. Ask for help or support.
If you are struggling emotionally with processing the current situation, then please find a supportive voice to listen to you. Perhaps you are afraid to go to work. Or you are concerned about a loved one. Maybe you have a physical situation that is causing you to feel some fear. Whatever it is, find someone you know that you trust will just listen to you without trying to change you, or how you are feeling. Being heard is so important; when we feel heard without judgment, we can usually then begin to consider a different way to think, feel or act.
If you don’t have a great listener you can reach out do, then consider what community services are on offer. Perhaps call your local City Hall for resources. Or search online in your local community for support services.
21. Clean out your computer, tablet, technology.
I’m great at organizing my computer files. Everything is in Dropbox, and I copy to my desktop what I’m working on. The trouble is I have so many folders that really could be deleted. My emails are also really organized, but again, so many could be deleted.
Perhaps now is the time to declutter your computer, or other tech files. This may be the time to get virtual tech help to check the ‘health’ of your computer/tech.
22. Watch movies, a series, or documentaries. Listen to music.
I’m a huge live sport fan. I record tennis, basketball, football, Formula One, and a lot of other sport to watch when I want. Well that’s not on offer right now, so it’s time to catch up on some movies and perhaps even a series.
You can subscribe for a free trial with many streaming services such as Netflix. There’s Prime Video, Hulu. I bet you know of other streaming platforms where you can subscribe to something you’ve wanted to try out. Perhaps even an online game. Seize the moment!
I have so much music I want to explore as well, including on Spotify.
Update: My favorite “At Home” host has become Jimmy Fallon, an American Late Night Show host I’ve never watched before. He is showing what it is like to be working from home, with his wife as his videographer, and including his new young girls. Here is his YouTube Channel, if you are interested watch from the first episode on March 17.
If you have 2:21 to have a feel good moment, here’s Jimmy using zoom, with his band all together, from their homes singing, “Stuck in the Middle with You.”
23. Get your finances in order.
In the United States, this is the time of year to get your taxes in order, and filed. We’ve already filed both our 2020 corporate tax return (due March 15) and personal tax return (due April 15). If you haven’t yet done your taxes, now is the time. Or perhaps it’s time to put some financial systems in place for yourself and your household.
Finances could be a challenge for many during this time. Consider getting very clear on what you can do to be financially responsible. What money can you save? What don’t you need to buy, or subscribe to? Know how much money you have in reserve.
My husband and I always work with a minimum of 6 months of cash reserve for living expenses, to give us peace of mind during times that might be tough. If you don’t have cash reserves in place, then get your mindset in the right place to start that now. One dollar at a time is better than no dollars. Eventually you will have 6 – 9 months of cash reserve.
24. Create an online tutorial, or product.
I heard Serena Williams say on her Instagram post that she is staying at home ‘in solitude’ for the next 6 weeks. Well she does have a baby, and her husband. She said she’s going to create a makeup tutorial as well.
What area of passion do you have that you could create an online tutorial for? Even if it doesn’t make you money, it may give you great satisfaction (and increase good immune system response) by creating it.
For me, I have a number of new products I’m wanting to create. Plus a new website for a new product. There’s so much I want to create. How about you?
25. Write a book (draft).
Many people have the dream of writing a book. Even if never published, the act of putting your thoughts and feelings on ‘paper’ can be very rewarding.
What do you want to write about? Forget if anyone approves of what you write about; this is for you, your satisfaction. If you ever share with anyone else, that is a different thought. Just enjoy the process of writing, or creating something from your thoughts.
26. Feed your mind.
I probably have about 100 hours of access to online videos and learning that I haven’t yet looked at. Now might be the time to engage in some of that!
I like to feed my mind with things I love to learn, or inspiring people. One place to find inspiration is the free website TED Talks.
Have you seen The Shop Uninterrupted? By far, the most amazing experience in hearing from people of color that is out there right now. These people are super inspiring, as real people, who happen to be in the public eye because of their sport, profession or celebrity.
You might enjoy arts, crafts, dance, or something else. Search the internet for your area of interest and passion. What can you learn from the comfort of your home? Or simply be inspired by? Yes, back to immune building activities by engaging in fun, enjoyable things.
Genuine belly laughter is one of the most healing, immune system boosting activities we can engage in. Have you seen some of the memes about toilet paper? Working from home during this time? Search the internet for memes such as these and laugh away!
I may add more tips to this article over the coming weeks. Hence it’s called 27+ tips 😊
Yours in Life, and Care,
Attribution to include if you share this article: written by Carly Anderson, MCC. Website is https://carlyanderson.com/
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