Focus on the things you can control, like your mindset, behavior, reactions and habits
Your self-care can include; being aware of your strengths, practicing gratitude, staying connected to others, sleep, exercise and mindful news and social media consumption
If you are struggling, professional help is always available at Lifeline, Beyond Blue or the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline
Looking for some practical and comforting advice during this unsettling time? Coach Viv shares some tools and techniques to help you through, day by day.
FEAR AND WORRY IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
by Coach Viv
I’m worried. I know plenty of people that might be reading this are worried too. What we’re all experiencing is hugely uncomfortable, compounded by the open-ended nature of something we can’t quite get a handle on.
I don’t want to diminish the real suffering and genuine fear that people in the music and entertainment industries (among so many others) are experiencing. Loss of work, with no warning. Many of us are staring down the barrel of serious cash flow issues, in some instances long term loss of income. I know many people won’t have the funds to ride the storm.
Nothing I’ve written here will take the fear and worry away but I’d like to offer up some coaching tools and perspectives that might help with resilience.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
At the end of last year, I discovered a hugely helpful thinking framework and coaching tool called ‘My Spheres of Influence’. There are three spheres: things we can control, things we have influence over, and events we have no control or influence over.
Never in a million years did I think I’d have such a profound example but here we are. In a global crisis like this, we literally have zero control over COVID-19. It’s here.
This framework is about trying to focus on only the things we can control, rather than expending precious energy on things that we can neither influence nor control. We can TRY and influence leaders to lead and make fierce representations for our sector. Can we guarantee the outcome? No. What we do have control over is our emotions, our words, our behaviour, reactions and habits.
FEEL THE FEAR
There is no hierarchy of fear. If you feel worried, then it’s real. If you’re afraid, that’s real too. Diminishing your own fears or comparing and rating your fear with the fear of others? Think about whether that’s helping or making you feel worse.
Acknowledging the worry and fear is important. Bringing that fear to the surface is healthy, talking about it with friends, family and colleagues is vital, acknowledging that we’re currently up proverbial shit creek TOGETHER.
Fear can make us look inward and feel isolated and self-focused. It can make us lose sight that what we’re experiencing is painful but temporary.
Fear can be an overwhelming emotion for many of us so if your fear is overwhelming you, please seek professional assistance as soon as possible.
Mindset will be more important than ever in coping with the present and aftermath of COVID-19.
Our thoughts, and whether we have fixed or growth mindsets, will play a big role in how we cope with this adversity. Are your thoughts working for you or against you?
A simple mindset shifter is Martin Seligman’s 3 Good Things exercise. If you’re not one for journaling, you can do it verbally, like an out-loud version of a gratitude diary, which you can do with family at home and with colleagues by phone or online.
It’s simple and effective - every day, come up with and share 3 Good Things that happened that day and explain why they made you feel good. Your 3 Good Things don’t have to be monumental. They can be tiny – a new connection, a moment of peace, a glimmer of optimism.
LEAN ON YOUR STRENGTHS TO GET THROUGH
Courage, resilience, service, gratitude, listener, humour, mission, resilience, change agent, persistence, growth, awareness, optimism, judgement, scribe, authenticity, empathy, social connector (the list is endless), which of your unique strengths can help you, especially in the here and now?
We’re often not aware of our strengths, mostly because they’re innate and that’s how we roll. If you’re not sure what your inner strengths are, think about what your friends and family have observed about you.
How can those strengths serve you at this moment in time? How can they help you feel more resilient? If you want to know what your strengths are, I have a tool for that. You can also click here to check out VIA’s Character Strengths.
COMMUNITY AND CONNECTION
We’re physically removed from each other but more than ever need social connection. Please remember to reach out to others via positive social media groups and forums, any virtual space where you feel your people are. I’m personally taking some comfort knowing that we’re all on this wild ride together.
STRESS AND RADICAL SELF CARE
It feels counter intuitive when we’re operating in survival mode but right now, attention to our own self-care is even more crucial. In days like these, we need to ramp up to radical self-love, prioritising sleep, basic nutrition, healthy rituals, exercise and thoughtful social media and news exposure.
Sure, we need information. But how much news do we need to ingest before it becomes a serious drain on our wellbeing. Consider limiting your exposure to the barrage of rolling coverage which can wreak havoc on our nervous systems. Seek out quality information from reliable sources.
It might be too soon to start positively reframing this bizarre scenario we find ourselves in. But I can't help thinking it's going to be an opportunity to reset - to actually focus on what really matters, family, friends, health, community, selfcare, our environment. All the things we often take for granted in the autopilot of our hectic lives.
A friend of mine left me a phone message recently with just two words, ‘Everything’s fucked’. I agree - most days it feels that way. At least for now. But it won’t be this way forever.
If you’d like any of the coaching tools I’ve listed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] and I’ll send them with instructions:
- My Spheres of Influence exercise
- 3 Good Things
- Strengths Exercise
If you need professional mental health support, I urge you to please contact the following:
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636
Support Act Wellbeing Helpline - 1800 959 500
Sending you a virtual hug (1.5 metre distance of course).
Coach Viv XO