Staying Calm during COVID

Welcome to our Wellbeing during COVID-19 resources blog. Each of our blogs links directly to one of our 6 rules for keeping calm during the COVID crisis.

Know your zone of power to keep calm.

I came across this poem by Cambridge poet, Hollie McNish. It served as a wonderful reminder that we have all adjusted to life in our own way, and there is no right or wrong in how each of us choose the practise that.

our own way - Hollie McNish

no, she's not doing all the work the school has set

no, we've not learnt to bake chocolate croissants yet

no, i haven't managed to keep up with all my work

no, i've not had any urge at all to clean my house

no, we're not out jogging as the sun comes up to shine

no, we've not been following the extra class online

no, i haven't used this time at home for meditating

no, we've not made any masks or scrubs from our old curtains

yes, she's done a little bit of the work the school has set

yes, we tried to make hash browns, cook her first fried egg

yes, she's on my phone again so i can get these emails done

yes, i've cried a few times whilst hiding in the bathroom

yes, i can still see through my never-once-cleaned window glass

yes, we've played...

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How to make future plans when the future is uncertain.

It's difficult to plan for life after lockdown, and this could one of the things contributing to people's sense of futility and frustration.

Will we be able to go to see that play, that festival, that concert, that match or any of the other social outings we previously accepted as part of normal life?

We can't make plans that we don't know will exist. How enormously frustrating, and how grossly unfair. They even take away our daydreams.

Planning for a future we can't determine can add to the feeling of isolation. But there are two things we can do to feel more in control now.

We can plan ways to connect with friends and family right now. And we can practice gratitude forecasting. If we're struggling with the present we can look at how grateful we will feel when life progresses.

I can look forward to enjoying coffee with my friend in her (much nicer) garden. I can look forward to a Sunday lunch around a table with my parents and siblings. Imagining the taste of  my mum's roast...

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When you don't the know answers.

The answer is 42.

According to Douglas Adams 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' (one of my favourite books) this is the ultimate answer to the questions of life, the universe and everything.

Some answers right now can feel just as ambiguous. We're learning more about how to manage this crisis everyday.

Not having the answers is ok, nobody does.

Everything right now, is truly a 'what if'. What if the second wave comes in September? What if the insurance company fights us for payout? What if the car doesn't pass it's MOT? What if my child falls behind in their education? 

Uncertainty triggers fear, and this great HBR article reminds us that, as managers and leaders our job is to project confidence and strength.

Give your 'what if's' a time limit in your mind. It can be a useful exercise to explore potential outcomes of disaster scenarios to help us feel mentally prepared with a plan of action.

However, giving these hypothetical scenarios too much bandwidth and they become vivid...

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Put on your own oxygen mask first.

Sitting on a plane observing the pre-flight safety demonstration, the instruction "put on your own safety mask first" was never a command I questioned. 

Of course, it makes excellent sense. How can I help anyone else on board if I can't breathe?

You have to make yourself safe to be able to help others to safety.

As a doctor, carer, manager, parent - your first instinct in situations of heightened stress, is likely to be 'others first - me second (or even third or fourth?)'.

Stop. You need to breathe. You also need to lead by example.

So what does putting on your own oxygen mask mean to you?

Is it taking a break from a stressful task to allow your brain to relax and your stress to fall? Is it scheduling your day so that you tackle a domestic job every other hour? Setting a half hour time limit to conference calls? Walking outside every afternoon? Singing in the bath?

The answer to the question; what do I need right now, should always be honoured.

In choosing to respond to this,...

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Feeling like a lockdown loser?

It’s so important to remember that this pandemic is  “a marathon, not a sprint”. It is also most definitely not a competition in who can come out of this with the most successful transformation.

If you’re one of the people confined to your home, it is important to not judge yourself and your response against others.

We all have friends who are promoting their efforts to beat their 5km pb, learning Japanese, perfecting their home baked Croque-en-bouche or community volunteer championing. 

The people who are struggling in some way or far less likely to share this. Picking up a book and finding your attention wanes constantly, that’s ok. Thirty minutes into a box set and not sure what happened in the past twenty? Perfectly normal. 

Fatigue has a huge impact on our ability to concentrate. Be kind to yourself.

If a friend approached you with these concerns would you be frustrated with them in the way you might be towards yourself? Absolutely...

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Silent online retreats to beat the fatigue

The big theme this week has been on ‘Zoom fatigue’.

It’s rather unfair to point the finger at Zoom - obviously all video hosting platforms are involved! 

We have seen a massive increase of use of these tools  in this digital space to help us stay connected and collaborative in our work and personal lives. But they are draining us of energy and many of us are feeling their burden rather than benefit. 

There is some interesting data around how we misinterpret others on these types of calls. And we face frustrations when the technology doesn’t work perfectly.

However, we desperately need these solutions to keep us connected and our economy turning. Learning to limit your use of these devices is one solution. This group however, have created a silent Zoom retreat - which puts an interesting spin on something that would normally be full of noise.

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Plan your anxiety for better sleep

Managing your sleep can start to become a cycle of anxiety in itself. If you haven’t slept well you can feel anxious about how this will impact on your busy day ahead. Will you have enough energy for that important video conference? Will you make silly mistakes? Will you lose patience too quickly with your children, partner or a delivery driver’s failed attempt ( I was most definitely in, you just did not wait for me to answer - sound familiar?)?

The cycle can start up again at night. “I hope I sleep better tonight, what if I don’t, will this go on forever, I hate insomnia!” 

Conversely, if you find yourself sleeping too much, getting started in the day can seem like an enormous challenge which can set your attitude for the day with a sense of burden.

You can’t force your body and brain into better sleep. But you can plan for better sleep.

Our Thrive Planner is a great tool to help you map out your new daily and weekly commitments,...

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Feeling the pressure of sleep?

There are some really interesting articles out there on why our sleep is so greatly affected by the lockdown. With some of us sleeping more than ever, others are struggling to sleep at all and almost all of us are reporting some downright bizarre occurrences in our dreams.

Our background anxiety is heightened thanks to the COVID crisis and this offers some insight into the state of our dream scenarios. 

There are many factors around the lockdown that are impacting on sleep and a lot centres on routine and structure.   

We normally take 3 months to adjust to new routines of magnitude so it’s not surprising that our routines are still in a state of limbo, 

Understanding your own natural rhythm can be helpful. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Honour your body’s natural inclinations where you can. 

There is so much to explore on sleep and my recent article on the importance of sleep is a great place to start. 

Simple reminders when it...

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Something to Celebrate on Earth Day

While we look to how to stop ourselves burning out, the planet is thriving without our usual burden on her. 

The celebration of Earth Day this week usually comes with various stories about how we are continuing to fail the planet. So in some good news, this - the 50th annual Earth Day, has finally shown some positive changes.

Yes, it did take putting humanity in detention BUT, the results speak for themselves. Less polluted air, cleaner water and thriving animal life.

What will this moment of pause teach us about just how powerful an impact we have on our environment? I hope we come out of this with a kinder attitude to the 'home' we all live on. 




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What is 'perfect' anyway?

I'm sure we're all guilty of once having uttered the phrase 'practice makes perfect'. But what does perfect look like, and why do we often view it as a goal to strive for?

In metric driven models such as sales, perfect could be regarded as the most purchased product in a line. But, does that make the product perfect? It may just mean it's cheaper, more available or has smarter packaging design.

Car rental firm Avis ran a hugely successful advertising campaign where the toted the line; "We're number 2, so we try harder."

Having a goal to pursue is an invaluable motivator, provided you have a healthy understanding of goal achievement. 

A goal of; I will run 5km in under 30 minutes is a great example of a healthy goal. 
Whereas a goal of; I will be the best 5km runner in my age category in the county is pretty unhealthy in many ways.

Your idea of best here, means fastest. However, comparison to others, poor form, an injury or poor support materials could derail you and damage...

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