We, the writers of Women, Money & Mindset, agree that in order to make and manage money, you must adopt the right mindset. This means incorporating thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that support a healthy financial life.
The same rings true for all other areas of our lives.
This spring has challenged us with devastating events that have completely upended the way we conduct our work, relationships and our lives. These events have asked us to flex and pivot mentally, emotionally, and physically in ways that few of us have ever been called to do.
Many are experiencing what we would describe as an emotional shutdown. This is affecting the way we are able to go about our daily business and activities. When what is happening outside of us becomes too much for our own experience, we have a defense mechanism that protects us. This defense mechanism impels the mind to go into fight-or-flight mode. It’s as if the mind says, “Enough! I cannot assimilate all this at once. I am taking a brain break!”
That’s when we find it hard to focus or to think clearly. We may find it difficult to perform even the simplest of tasks. If you find yourself in such a state, it’s time to take some steps for radical self-care so that you can lower stress and give your brain the space it deserves to regroup.
Here are some basic steps to regain a personal sense of calm and control when the world seems to be falling apart.
Provide a sense of normalcy with routine and ritual.
Routines and rituals provide predictability, which lowers stress and gives us a sense of control. Heed to your normal rituals, such as how you make the bed and conduct your morning quiet time. This reinforces a sense of normalcy.
Keep a regular schedule, whether with work or other activities.
Identify three things you want to accomplish each day and schedule them. Break down projects into bite-sized tasks and congratulate yourself on completing each step, one step at a time.
Minimize shame by being kind to yourself.
Avoid judging yourself on what you aren’t accomplishing. These are unusual times. Instead, delight in congratulating yourself on small wins. Practice self-compassion.
Instead of telling yourself to “get a stiff upper lip” when things seem difficult, acknowledge that things are really difficult right now. Ask yourself how you can care and comfort yourself in these moments.
In short, treat yourself as you would (hopefully!) treat others in the same situation.
Energize by showing kindness to others.
Write a handwritten note saying you are thinking about someone and send it to them. Make a phone call to see how others are doing. Order an anonymous grocery delivery to someone you know has lost their job or suffered financial hardship.
While making a difference to others, this also reinforces to you the ability to make a difference. It also activates endorphins and good thoughts in you, helping to calm and regulate the nervous system.
Feed your brain – not your stress.
If you obsess over the news and social media, you are feeding stress and anxiety. Avoid opening “doom and gloom” YouTube videos and negative viral messages passed on by well-meaning friends and family members.
Ask yourself what you responsibly need to know to keep up to date with current events, and then identify a dependable source for this. Decide to check this once daily. Balance this with sites that remind us that good things are happening in the world.
Two sources I enjoy are “The Good News Network” website and John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” on YouTube.
Focus on what you can control.
The way we are able to operate right now has been minimized and redirected. We can easily feel defeated. So many things we counted on in times past are no longer available to us. This can cause turmoil and frustration.
Begin to identify the things you can control, and as you encounter limitations, congratulate yourself on learning any workarounds or other ways of accomplishing. Moving through this tumult requires that we flex and pivot.
Replace phrases such as, “I can’t because…” with “How can I?” or “What else might I do instead?”
Moving away from undue stress and feelings of being overwhelmed to more focus and clarity requires practice. This requires that we intentionally take small steps in practice each day if we are to be successful.
As each of us asks ourselves how we should respond to current events, it will be important to show up as our best selves by cultivating the right mindset in order to make the greatest difference.
Patti Cotton works with executives, business owners, and their companies, to elevate and support leadership at all levels. Contact her via email at Patti@PattiCotton.com.
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