Well, that was unexpected!
If you feel like your world has been turned upside down within a matter of weeks, you are not alone.
And I’m not just talking about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Believe it or not, even positive change, provided that it’s substantial or unexpected, can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, let alone all the scary and devastating changes that we’ve been having in Australia lately.
The last few months have certainly been a whirlwind for me both personally and professionally.
Some incredible things have happened, like:
The scientific paper that outlined the work I dedicated years of my life to was finally published in an open access, peer reviewed scientific journal (yay!).
I was then interviewed by a high profile outlet about my research, which hardly ever happens (and more details on that soon!).
I’ve been approached by multiple journalists and content creators for comment about building confidence and resilience in business and entrepreneurship.
I’ve been welcoming amazing new clients, dedicated to creating positive changes in their lives and businesses into my Healthy Business Community.
I’ve never felt more aligned and on track with my plans for my business!
And then of course, some not so incredible things have happened, like:
The devastating bushfires that ravaged our land and communities not even a few months ago.
The outbreak of a scary and novel virus and the calamity that ensued as the world began to respond to this unfolding crisis.
The sad glimpses of what can happen when people believe that the resources are limited and all the social norms that we tend to abide by fall by the way side.
This, however, is not a doom-and-gloom post!
Instead, this post is about adapting to change.
Both positive and negative.
Both thrilling and terrifying.
Both gloomy and yet so full of hope!
So here are my tips for what you can do to stay level headed, optimistic, aligned, and in flow as we navigate this period of uncertainty in our lives and businesses.
Tip #1. Ban the guilt.
I’m not usually one to advise that you try to banish an emotion from your experiential repertoire, but this is a rare exception.
In times of rapid change and uncertainty, you absolutely need to stay flexible and fluid, which means that your expectations of yourself and your work may not always be met.
I know this is hard for us planners and perfectionists, those that care deeply about the quality and the standard of what we do, and when we don’t quite have it all under control, we can really feel it.
But instead, try to practice radical acceptance that these are extraordinary times and that the best you can do is do the best that you can.
If you have to cancel, so be it.
If you have to decline, so be it.
If you have to change and let go, so be it.
If you have to do less, so be it.
If you have to put yourself first, so be it.
If you have to disappoint, so be it.
If you did something you may not have done otherwise or you didn’t do something you said that you would or felt that you should… so be it.
We can’t, of course, avoid feeling an emotion, but what we can do is acknowledge it and let it pass without getting entangled with it.
Please, do not judge yourself for doing what you need to do to get through this.
Make a decision that you will radically accept yourself, how you’re dealing with this situation, and what you’re doing to cope without feeling the slightest bit guilty, whether that’s in your capacity as a human, as a business owner, as a mother, as a daughter, partner, lover, coworker, carer, passerby, whatever the case might be.
Do what you can with what you’ve got and trust that whatever that is – is enough.
Sans the guilt.
Tip #2. Focus on what’s right in front of you and take it one day at a time.
There’s never been a better time to practice single tasking.
When you’re at work – focus on the task at hand.
When you’re at home – focus on the task at hand.
Practice being mindful and present in each of your activities to help keep the unrelenting stream of worry at bay.
For the love of all things – do not binge watch the news or get stuck scrolling through social media!
Make lists to help you get stuff out of your mind and help you manage your workload.
Write things out to free your mind of replaying your worries on a loop.
Speak with loved ones about normal everyday things, not just about what’s happening with the virus.
Read engaging books.
Which, coincidentally, has become part of my daily ritual to help my mind take a break.
And don’t forget – if you don’t get everything you need or want to get done done…
Finally, create certainty to combat uncertainty.
Stick to a routine at home, keep doing whatever healthy and positive things you can on a regular basis, create self-soothing rituals that help you stay grounded and on track.
I may not know exactly how my days will play out, but I know that I will start them by having a cuddle with my dog and by sipping coffee on my balcony, and I will end them by mindfully preparing dinner and watching UK Dashcam Compilations on YouTube with my hubby (seriously, it is bizarre how relaxing those are!).
And that, is all the certainty I’m letting myself to be happy with for now.
Tip #3. Allow yourself not to care (about everything and everyone).
This one I can’t take credit for, because I borrowed this nugget from an incredible two hours spent with Elizabeth Gilbert at a Business Chicks event last week.
It is OK not to care and not try to tend to everyone’s needs.
Prioritize what’s most important to you right now and focus wholeheartedly on that.
Sans the guilt.
Tip #4. Maintain a sense of hope.
Hard to do sometimes, I know, BUT…
With change and uncertainty come opportunities and discoveries.
Our minds tend to equate uncertainty with doom – that’s a normal psychological response designed to keep us alert and… responsive to potential threat or danger.
That response, however, is also a more “primitive” response in the sense that it’s designed to help you act in the moment to protect yourself, it’s less helpful when we are considering things in the future.
And while we don’t know what can or will happen, we can rationally consider all possibilities (both negative and positive) and actively choose to hope for the best.
Another thing you can do is to consider just how much better we are prepared to deal with this situation than we would’ve been, say, even a few months ago (during the fires), let alone a few years ago.
With the advances in technology:
It’s never been easier to continue working remotely.
It’s never been easier to stay connected and collaborate with people worldwide to share vital information and resources.
There’s never been a more fertile ground for innovation to support those most in need.
Yes, terrible things are happening, but great things are happening also.
Let’s keep that in mind.
On a practical, everyday level, each day try to think of three positive things that have either happened or that you are looking forward to in your day (no matter how small) and tune into these small pleasures to help you feel a little safer and a little bit more positive.
Tip #5. Remember – for once, we truly are all in this together.
We’ve recently had our first virtual work meeting with everyone tuning in from home, and so many people remarked afterwards that they’ve never felt more connected and part of the team as they did on that call.
Coming together, sharing focus, adapting to change.
Which reminded me that now it is more important than ever to see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices, and work together even though we may physically be apart.
Physical isolation doesn’t mean social, emotional, psychological, or spiritual isolation.
Find ways to stay connected, use technology to support this temporary change in lifestyle, keep seeing and talking to each other in real time.
Share coping ideas with those in a similar boat to you, get creative with how you adjust to your circumstances.
If in doubt – seek inspiration from the Italians!
We are all in this together and we will get through this.
If there is anything I can do to support you in this time of change and uncertainty, be it through a blog post, a Facebook Live, a 1:1 session, or a group call – get in touch and let me know!
My greatest wish for you over the next few months, is to stay healthy, connected, and resilient – this too shall pass and I cannot wait to see you on the other side!
Lots of love and until next time,
Hi, I’m Natalie and my mission is to help you build a healthy business you love!
As a Mindset & Resilience Coach, I help women overcome limiting beliefs and build resilience to the psychological demands of building a fulfilling, purpose-driven business.