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5 Tools for Maintaining Calm in Unprecedented Times

I can’t remember another time like this. I remember working in the healthcare system during SARS and I remember the crash of 2008 and yet nothing seems to compare.

As I reflect on these times, I know there are a number of people and organizations that would benefit from the tools I have learned over the last number of years and I would like to share them with you so you might remain calm amongst the chaos. I am committed to sharing them with you and your organization to lessen the stress in this challenging time.

Over the coming days I will continue to share more and if you know of someone in your family or organization that would be benefit from more support, I hope you will share this email or connect us – I am committed to helping as many people as possible.

Just last week I was speaking to Caravel Law on tools that develop resilience where the vast majority of their staff joined in by videoconferencing. Not long ago, I also shared a similar talk at Sick Kids Hospital, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and DCM, and many other organizations. Resilience seems to be a hot topic and now, more than ever we need these skills.

If you would like to organize a webinar for your team please let me know I would be happy to do this as a public service.

Now 5 tools you can use right away to improve your resilience

1. Breathe

Take a deep breath in for a count of 4 hold it and then exhale for 4. Repeat this 10 times and notice how this has helped your nervous system relax. Do this a number of times a day – perhaps setting the alarm on your phone as a reminder.

2. Help someone less fortunate

By directing our efforts to help someone less fortunate, we feel grateful for the situation we are in and appreciate all that we have. In addition, the action of helping someone else releases dopamine and makes us feel better. Do you have a neighbour that could use some assistance? Could you call someone who is shut in – older people especially could use some extra social connection on the phone as they have been asked to self-isolate.

3. Exercise

By moving our body, we get out of our head. Exercise helps us manage stress, boosts our immune system and improves our mood. Going for a walk outside amplifies those benefits – the green space has a positive relationship with mental health. With the weather getting warmer, take a walk and breath in the fresh air.

4. Gratitude

Practice gratitude by noticing what you are grateful for. You could list three things you are grateful for before you go to bed each night in a journal or you could do it first thing in the morning to start the day off right.

5. Get your sleep

When we get enough sleep, we tend to be more alert and productive. People who get enough sleep are likely to have more energy, concentration and are more creative. In addition, we are likely to be healthier and be better able to counter this virus. Not only that, when we sleep better, we are more likely to have less negative self-talk and be better able to self-regulate. All great tools to have in our tool box when under stress.

I would like to send my gratitude to you - everyone who is contributing to a sense of calm. Those that are working from home, sharing what they have and supporting neighbours. Especially those working in our healthcare system - those on the front lines and those ensuring the front lines have all they need. Thanks to all the people who are looking after and living with those under isolation. Thanks to everyone who is doing what they can to ensure that we limit the impact of this virus.

Wishing you a strong immune system, a lot of social support and connection (from a distance) and all the tools you need to manage through these uncertain times.

Laura Macdougall is a leading authority for senior women leaders in the non-profit and healthcare sectors who are designing their next chapters in life, work and legacy. Direct message her for more information on her coaching or speaking packages.

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