For many of us, our world has recently turned upside down thanks to COVID-19. Now I’m not saying it’s the same thing but as an entrepreneur you essentially choose to throw yourself into uncertainty. It’s a journey of constant challenges, a leap of faith, surprises and no guarantees. There have been many occasions in which I’ve felt that my life has turned upside down and over the years have developed coping methods. I’ve shared them below in the form of food for thought and tips, in case it’s helpful for anyone right now.
1. If you stay calm, things work out
Even if not exactly as you envision. This is something I swear by and try my best to implement. Negotiations and confrontations produce more desirable results and you make better decisions. When you step back, surrender and slow things down, often you’ll find that solutions ‘miraculously’ form or you make space for something new to replace what has been taken away from you. The key is to try to remain as present and grounded as possible.
Just before Christmas I had a great conversation with my go to meditation instructor (how glam am I!) Michael McCaffrey. One thing he said was;
‘Don’t think that the more you do, the more you will get. Stopping is powerful and it welcomes things into your life. It won’t set you back. In order to create space, breathe, have faith, don’t rush, be present. LET GO. When you are too focused on something you miss the solution, the broader angle- like trying to find keys, you look everywhere you think they are and only find them when you stop looking.’
As well as slowing things down you can help yourself stay calm and reduce anxiety by;
- Avoiding caffeine
- Staying away from people with a hectic energy as much as possible.
- For many, anxiety peaks in the evening, be aware of this and try to make sure you don’t stay up late talking to your friends or working. Sleeping well and waking up early makes a profound difference.
- Getting into the habit of breathing exercises first thing in the morning and during the day. The Wim Hof method is great.
- Simply going for a 15 minute walk, I often find this is when solutions really come to me. In fact, whenever I’m stuck in a rut and all else fails, I go for a walk to change the energy.
All the above can give you a better sense of control, which can be beneficial during challenging times.
2. Take things day by day
Firstly, don’t underestimate how much you can change in a day. If you prioritise correctly, you can improve your situation significantly just by doing one key thing. If you are having a bad day, cut yourself some slack, reach for the cookies and remember tomorrow is a new day. Just as the weather can change drastically, so can your luck!
3. Write things down
This is so powerful and really underestimated. Map out the situation, write down what the problem is, what you can do about it and what the worst-case scenario looks like. Try to make yourself feel ‘okay’ with the worst-case scenario or do your best to mitigate the potential damage now that you have fully addressed the situation. Accept the things you cannot change. From this you can also form a list of priorities and write down who may be able to help, which takes me to my next point.
4. Keep yourself around good people
Talking through the situation with another good brain can bring hope and a new outlook. Sometimes you’ll find that the other person suddenly gets dragged into it, as in they feel compelled to hold your hand through the situation, that’s a good thing for you! I also find it so important to only keep yourself around people with positive energy at this time, you may have to be ruthless.
5. Stay in motion
While I’ve said above that slowing down is generally a good idea, it’s extremely important to keep moving, one foot in front of the other, step by step. Getting back into the driving seat requires action.
6. Don’t put too much emphasis on one part of your life.
If it’s work you are worried about, make sure to step away and indulge in one of your hobbies, or spend time with loved ones. It’s valuable for your mental health. When it’s an issue within your personal life, it may make sense to throw yourself into work.
7. Music can be so powerful
An obvious one for some but it really is game changing. It could be some fun, uplifting, even silly songs that you need perhaps if only to start your day. Personally, I often find what I call ‘beautiful music’ especially nurturing during tough times when I need to get myself in the mood for creative thinking and productivity (or even to help with cooking and cleaning). If you don’t have an existing playlist I find the soundtracks to films a good place to start. E.g. I started with the soundtrack to Call Me By Your Name and through Spotify that opened doors to so many great tracks.
8. Turn to gratitude
Whenever I have a moment of feeling sorry for myself or feel like giving up, I think of the people in Iraq (where my parents come from) many of whom have been through so much loss and pain through war. Despite this they get up, dust themselves off, carry on, smile and spread warmth and kindness.
9. Don’t let yourself be a victim
Be compassionate, do your best and hold your head up high. After all, nothing in this world was promised to us.
10. Limitation is the mother of invention
Try to put a positive spin on the situation, some of the best things have come out of struggle. If your situation seems worse than many others, you could make it your power..
Finally, remember that you are stronger and more resilient than you think. As controversial as it sounds humans were designed for suffering, after all it progresses the species. It’s simply evolution. Collectively we can grow together through this experience and hopefully find greater kindness towards each other and our planet.
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