By Sherrie Steyn. Chief Science Officer of Vimbo Health.
We find ourselves in uniquely unpredictable times, with many entrepreneurs finding their ventures to be negatively impacted by the pandemic. Many businesses have suffered substantial financial losses, which add to the immense personal suffering caused by the health risks of the pandemic.
During this time of increased stress and greater personal demand, it is important to consider increasing our self-care and coping skills to counter any negative impact
1. Mourn your losses
It is healthy to acknowledge the loss you have experienced as a result. Many of us have experienced both the loss of loved ones and lost relationships due to the pandemic. This loss extends to lost finances, lost opportunities, and perhaps a feeling of lost future dreams. Whatever you feel you have lost, take time to take stock of these feelings of loss. This mourning is cathartic but also offers an opportunity to move forward with greater mental clarity.
2. Set New SMART Goals
Now that you have allowed yourself to assess and mourn your losses, you have the opportunity to set new goals and aspirations. A popular technique for setting effective goals uses the acronym SMART:
Specific: Set clear, detailed goals. How often? What amount? When?
Measurable: Ensuring an observer could see your goal success helps keep goals specific too.
Achievable: Check you have the necessary skills and resources to achieve the goal.
Realistic: Try to be practical. By this, we mean considering possible barriers or obstacles.
Time-limited: Give your plan an endpoint. If you haven’t achieved it, try breaking it down further and solving any issues you encountered the first time.
3. Be Proactive With Worries
Our thoughts can have a powerful impact on our mood and body. When we feel anxious, we tend to worry more. Take note of your worries and attend to them as soon as you can. Practical concerns can be problem solved, being sure to schedule any actions that come from this. For hypothetical worries which you can’t do anything about, try refocusing your attention on something else. If the thought returns, simply redirect your attention back to the task at hand. By focussing and refocusing on the present, your energy is where it is best used and most influential- now!
4. Increase Self-Care
Essential self-care includes getting enough sleep (eight hours or more ideally), eating regular, vegetable-rich meals, staying hydrated and exercising daily. Increased stress means increased cortisol (stress hormone). Exercising more can help burn this extra cortisol reducing your stress levels. The endorphins exercise releases also gives your mood a natural boost.
Consider increasing the amount of time you spend on your coping activities/skills. You could also increase the number of coping skills you have by trying some new ones. These new hobbies and interests can provide an excellent source for reducing anxious worrying by getting you to practice something new.
Meditation is a new coping skill you could add to your arsenal. To help you try this, we've provided FREE AUDIO MEDITATIONS (SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN👇) so you can practice relaxation and reduce your anxiety.
5. Skill Up or Learn Something New
Consider using this time as an opportunity to learn a new skill or build on an existing skill. Learning a new skill creates a positive future focus and the opportunity to improve our self-esteem through mastering new abilities and learning. You can even consider incorporating this into your new SMART goals.
Take this time to reach out to new customers or connect with current ones. Connecting with others helps us feel good since we get a rush of Oxytocin (another feel-good hormone). Social media provides accessible opportunities for connecting to a large audience, but direct communication has a more significant personal impact. Reaching out to fellow professionals allows you to grow your professional network and benefit from shared information and resources. This network can be beneficial when you need support in practical solutions for the difficulties you may be facing. Supporting others in finding solutions will also help you flex the skills you need to solve any of your own.