Fear. Insecurity. Anxiety.
It’s not very festive…. but it’s REAL.
And, while most of my friends, family and clients have been expressing ample gratitude for what they have, MOST are experiencing at least one of the feelings I listed above.
I’ve been a part of discussions about this in my virtual coworking community, business mastermind and plenty of other places. Inspired by them, here are some of my top suggestions for alleviating fear, insecurity and anxiety as they arise.
- Give yourself space to feel your feelings: Rather than operate on top of negative emotions, pause and see what’s there. I sometimes think about my emotions as children. When they’re upset, I don’t ignore them. I kneel down and ask “What’s wrong, love?” Then, I listen. Often, I write down everything I hear (a sort of journaling exercise). Emotions, like children, often get louder when they’re ignored.
- Set very achievable goals: On days when you’re not feeling great, choose one or two tasks you can complete and then celebrate the hell out of doing them. Our success is more about consistent action than about achieving off-the-chart results each day. If you can keep moving and positively reinforce that progress, rather than beat yourself up for not having peak productivity, you’re much better off.
- Ritual: Is there a way to infuse your core values into a ritual? For example, some of my core values are creativity, freedom and connection. I’ve created a morning ritual where I go for a quick walk around the block while listening to grounding music on Spotify and sipping my morning Rasa. It helps quell my anxiety (an ongoing challenge) and gets me ready to start my day.
- Make sure you feel aligned with what you’re offering through your business: Do you believe in all your services or products? If not, trying to sell them likely increases anxiety or stress. If something feels off, chat with a coach, colleague or friend about your concerns.
- Do a calendar inventory: Do you really need all those meetings on your calendar? Are there some you have out of habit vs. from a real need? Are there any you can cut down by 10 – 30 minutes if you and the other parties came prepared to dive in?
- Community: Cultivate your social support (read tips from the Mayo Clinic here). During the pandemic, fight the urge to just stay home. Create explicit agreements with your friends about meeting up and then go have a great time. Even an hour or two can lift your spirits. Go for a walk, go snowshoeing or have a bonfire. If Zoom is the way you stay in touch with friends or family far away, find creative ways to have those calls: set up game nights, read each other stories or make the same dinner at the same time.
- Give yourself something to look forward to: Can’t travel or visit friends/family right now? Do some research and plan a REALLY FUN trip that you can take in the future. So far during this pandemic, I’ve planned amazing trips to Italy and Japan. If you REALLY need variety/adventure to feel like yourself, consider some of the new virtual AirBnB experiences. You can meditate with monks in Bali, take a tour of street art in Japan or do yoga with an Olympic athlete.
- Eat well: Check out this resource from UCLA that highlights stress-reducing foods.
- Take a wonder walk: Head outside and practice taking in everything around you with wide-eyed wonder. The more over the top you go with this, the more fun/relaxing it is. Wonder walks are also great (and often hilarious) to do with friends.
- Workout (hot tip: “exercise snacks”): Make these non-negotiable even if it’s just 15 minutes of jogging in place each morning. You can also try “exercise snacks,” and do sets of squats, pushups or other types of exercise throughout the day. Exercise is proven to make you happier and offers many other benefits, too.
- Turn off technology: Give yourself permission to not look at your phone or your computer until a certain time in the morning. In the evening, do the same. If you’re noticing that this is difficult, you may need to find a stress-reducing hobby or ritual to replace the screen. This could be reading fantasy books, playing the guitar, journaling before bed, listening to a pre-downloaded podcast or music (with your phone on airplane mode), creating art or taking long walks with a friend or family member. Remember: You need time to just BE in order to balance the time you spend working or giving to others.
How do you reduce stress, anxiety and fear? Let me know below.