As I’ve scrolled through social media the past few days, I have seen several funny meme’s, disturbing information/misinformation, charming attempts at distracting our minds from the chaos around us (ie:Posts asking to share picture #7 in your phone or share your first 5 jobs, etc.), and then I’ve seen several inspirational posts of people using this time at home to create beauty and share it virtually with the world. These individuals range from musicians, artists, teachers, life coaches, to restaurant staff making the switch to curbside as fun as possible, etc.
As I listened to a famous musician sing on IGTV (Instagram TV) a song in Italian that he dedicated to the people of Italy, I noticed a change in my breathing. I didn’t realize that I had been breathing shallowly, until I wasn’t and it reminded me that we need to focus more of our attention on what inspires and calms us and less on the news and media frenzy. I thought that I would pass along the reminder to you and share some suggestions on how to keep calm and be a light during this turbulent situation.
Our brains aren’t wired to have a constant steady stream of information, especially disturbing information like what you’re most likely seeing on TV and many of the social media outlets right now. Furthermore, when that excess information is combined with the reality that you might not be able to pay your bills or have necessities, like toilet paper, in your home right now, your brain vamps up to survival mode which causes stress to build in your body. This stress affects our brains, bodies, and spirits. Therefore, I challenge you to use this time of “social distancing” to: 1. Be Inspired and Be Inspiring and 2. Distance yourself from devices of all types except during 2-3 scheduled time slots of your day
What skills or beauty do you have that you can share with the world?
1. Are you a Yogi that can no longer go to your local studio? You could teach a Facebook Live Yoga class to help your friends online stretch and breathe during this time.
2. Are you a musician whose gigs have been canceled for the foreseeable future? Take time now to write a new song and share it for the first time on your social media platform. Or maybe you could just play a song, or teach others how to play an instrument or read sheet music during this time.
3. Are you a therapist/counselor/life coach that knows how to help people “dump” all the excess input from their brain right now? Provide a list of self-reflection questions on social media for those that can’t afford to hire you right now. Record a video of you coaching yourself through this situation to show people that they are not alone in struggling with this situation.
4. Are you a teacher that doesn’t have to create and/or deliver online classes right now? Offer to tutor students virtually or post a list of your favorite FREE learning apps for parents that are desperately seeking help with homeschooling their kiddos right now.
5. Are you a chef or restaurant worker? Share a video of creative ways to make and serve rice and beans or tuna so that people have ideas for how to cook the food that they just stockpiled away if and when their pantry starts getting low.
6. Are you an artist? Channel your inner Bob Ross and paint something beautiful on Facebook Live, YouTube, or Instagram.
7. Are you a people person? Organize a virtual event and invite people to gather together on a Zoom call or Facebook live to interact and discuss a fun topic…make it engaging and party like. Start a virtual book club or music club or celebrity gossip club and invite people to logon and chat together about a common topic.
8. Are you a mechanic? Teach your kid or your neighbor’s kids to change a tire or change the oil in the car. Film it and post it so that we can all learn from you.
9. Does everyone always comment on your fabulous make-up, outfits, and/or hairstyles? Go live on Facebook to show those of us that are style-challenged how to recreate your look. Bonus points if you can show us how to do it on a thrifty budget or in a time crunch!
10. Do you have a green thumb? Plant some extra seeds in the garden to share with your friends and neighbors or community members when this is all finally behind us come harvest time. Many of us are going to need all the help we can get when this is over.
Whatever you choose to create and share on social media, I ask that you please make a commitment to not be the one to post negative, controversial, or fear-inducing content right now. There is already plenty of that occurring naturally and we don’t need to add to it. BE Inspirational please so that we can all come out of this more Inspired! Better yet, stay off of social media if you don’t have anything inspiring to contribute. Double up on the next list of activities instead!
Step away from the phone, turn off the TV, and:
1. Take a walk outside – alone or with someone you love or maybe both at two different times of day. Focus on your five senses: the feel of the breeze on your face, the smell of the plants surrounding you, admire the beauty of the natural world around you and take notice of all the colors you see, listen to the rustling of leaves or call of birds and savor the taste of a piece of sweet grass or mint leaf or icicle. Try not to let disturbing thoughts enter your mind, just focus on fully being in nature.
2. Listen to calming music and meditate – Turn on some zen music and spend a few minutes just focussing on your breathing. If it’s hard to turn off the thoughts in your head during this time, then count your breaths and your blessings as you sit still and breathe deeply.
3. Connect with your loved ones. (in home or virtually) – Everyone is home so wether you live with your loved ones or they are far away, now is the time to connect! Play traditional board or card games with the ones in your household, read a book aloud to together, do crafts, just color, teach a skill like sewing or changing the oil in the car, or simply spend some time cuddling.
4. Create something delicious, beautiful, or inspirational. (see list above)
5. Hug your family members, pets, or yourself. Practice giving and receiving 20 second hugs. They’re proven to relieve stress and promote oxytocin in your brain.
6. Check in on family and friends virtually and be the voice of calm, comedy, and/or inspiration for them. Call your friends and family that aren’t in your household and chat about life in general. Try to limit any negative discussion to just a few minutes and focus instead on talking about other topics of interest: music, art, cooking, activity suggestions, etc.
7. Be fully present with whatever you are doing. Alter your schedule and be clear in communicating what you need to those around you. If you’re working from home, let the kids know that after breakfast you have to work for 3 (or x#) hours before you can help them with school work. Then be completely present with them during breakfast and during their schoolwork time (multitasking doesn’t work here; it just causes more stress.). Log-off for good at a set hour and get outside with your family for some fresh air. Pause occasionally to be mindful of your breathing and give someone a hug.
8. Give your kids and yourself a break! I know that many of you have been suddenly thrown into homeschooling and possibly remote work and I can speak from experience that it is a ROUGH transition for someone who planned for and desired to make that transition before any of the world turned upside down. Please think about what will matter most 10 years from now and use that as your measuring stick for how you handle your current situation. Your kids WILL recover and WILL NOT be doomed for life if they don’t stay on your color-coded schedule or complete all their online assignments right now. If you need them to watch Netflix or play TocaBoca for 5 hours so that you can work in order to continue to pay your bills, IT IS OK!
9. Do some soul searching. Whether you are still working, working remotely, or suddenly unemployed, now is a good time to reflect and do some soul searching about your current career, financial situation, and relationships. What do you want life to look like 10 years from now? What can you do during this time of isolation to prepare for that future?
10. Ask for help and BE helpful. Everyone is in a tight spot right now, but with that said, some are being squeezed a lot harder than others. PLEASE help support local businesses, artists, and musicians if you have the money to spare. Also, don’t let your pride get in the way of you asking for help if you truly need it! Now is the time to lean on one another. Barter and trade services (ie: watch the neighbor’s kids in the a.m. so she can work and then swap kids in the afternoon.) Take a look around and think about how you can help others and then go do it!
What other suggestions do you have?
How are you being inspired or inspirational during these crazy times?