And breath...

It seems like the world has gone crazy. We're all on high-alert. The fight or flight response is kicking in and survival hormones are surging through our veins.

Fear. Panic. Anxiety. Our hearts beat faster, our breathing increases as blood rushes to our lungs and brain preparing us to flee from danger.

And breath...

This too shall pass.

No, we don't know what the future holds. We don't know the impact COVID-19 will have on our communities, our families, or even our own mental health. And it's hard to stay calm when everything around us is in chaos.

But we still need to carry on as business owners, as women in our communities caring for our kids, our relatives, friends and family.

Zoom out a bit.

Change your perspective.

We are lucky to be living in the age of technology where most people reading this have the means to be able to connect with one another online. We can order things online and have them delivered to our doorstep. We have knowledge at our finger tips. There are phone numbers to call if we have a problem. And plenty of ways to get through this challenge we're faced if only we keep an open mind and stay positive.

And we will come out the other side of this different, but stronger.

Stronger, because it's times like these that force us to slow down. Stop the rat race. Stop worrying about the little things that don't matter. And realise what is actually most important to us.

And that is our family and friends and community. One another.

After all, humans are social creatures. Our ancestors relied on living in groups for survival so our brains are programmed to connect and we still need that connection in the modern world.

A virus like this is a challenge to humanity, but something we will overcome. In the meantime, let it not prevent us from connecting with one another.

People are coming together. On a small scale within their families and communities. And on a much larger scale with scientists, politicians, economists and countries working together like they never have before.

We're all in this together, and together we will figure it out.

Over the last few days I've noticed a big shift in the digital world.

Not only are more people connecting online, doing more video calls, making more of an effort to show up and help others, but there is also a generosity of spirit movement starting up where I've seen more and more people thinking up ways that they can help others. From free online classes for kids, for adults, for education, for exercise... Companies are also jumping on the bandwagon and offering free access to some of their apps.

So today I'm pledging to be part of the solution.

And I'm going to continue to show up online, even if it's hard, even if I have too much work to squeeze in and my 5-year old is off school indefinitely.

Let's do this together!

Pick what you think will help you below, and let me know if you have any ideas to add!

  • Unfollow and unsubscribe from all news channels. If you still want to keep your finger on the pulse, think about following 1 reputable news channel but turn off notifications. That way you can check for updates once a day if you really want to. Or do what I do and go old school: I've started watching the 9 o'clock news!

  • Stop googling for updates. Don't roll over first thing in the morning and google "latest coronavirus updates uk". Rather, sleep with your phone in another room. Wake up and only check your phone after you've done some self-care things for yourself in the morning

  • Stop feeding the frenzy. Are you in WhatsApp groups that are constantly sharing latest updates, articles and 'shocking news' stories? We're all in these kinds of groups, it's a way of dealing with the stress. But they can do more harm than good. Lots of misinformation can be shared and we tend to wind one another up. Be conscious to not contribute with negative energy. And mind your mental health. If a group is making you feel anxious with all the notifications and negativity, mute it and don't click on the links

  • Listen to your self-talk. Do you keep saying the same things over and over in your head? This can be bad because you're re-enforcing a belief. And that's all it is... a belief. We can change our beliefs, so try to change your perspective. Re-frame your situation. For example, instead of thinking, "I'm stuck at home" you could reframe it and see it as an opportunity to learn a new skill online. Read up about a fixed-mindset verses a growth mindset and make sure you're not slipping into victim mode and a negative cycle which is hard to break out of

  • Create a new morning routine which sets you right for the day. Like no phone before 10am, meditate, exercise and spend meaningful time connecting with your family - without screens

  • Do exercise each day. Find something fun that you actually enjoy doing, and try to get into a habit. Do you love music and dancing? Yoga? Hula-hooping? Whatever you're into, or whatever you want to get into, there are loads of free and paid apps, websites, YouTube videos and Facebook groups you can join.

  • Daily video calls. Make sure you're connecting with your friends and family every day. I've already seen people re-connecting after not having spoken for a long time, so this is a great opportunity to reach out to old friends and long lost family members.

  • Create a Zoom circle. Get a group of likeminded people together and create a weekly video call with them. Friends, strangers, whatever. Find something you have in common, like a group of mums, or a group of your existing friends, or women in business.... whatever it is. You can use Google Hangouts, Skype or my personal favourite Zoom for video calling with a group

  • What can you do to help others? It can be related to your business, or entirely different. We all have many talents, skills and good qualities. It could be as simple as you being a really good listener (we all need one of those in our lives!). You might be good at Facebook, or organising your day, or kiddies arts and crafts, or cooking. Think outside the box. Think about what you LOVE doing and if it's something you can share.

  • What can you do in the next few months to move your business forward? Are there books you need to finish reading? Courses you got half way through? A new skill you want to learn? Find 1 big goal and write it down on paper. Then work backwards from there: what steps do you need to take to keep going?

  • Socialise with friends and family online. Think outside the box. Instead of ordinary video calls, you could invite people over for a virtual dinner, drinks, or even host a games night

  • Create a family schedule. Time block the day into chunks. Allow for flexibility and don't be too hard on yourself when it comes to organising the kids. There are lots of resources online to help inspire your schedule. Find something simple, try it out, adjust it as you like and allow for plenty of flexibility because we all know that things never go according to plan - so don't be hard on yourself.

  • Fill your own cup first. Ha! I know this is really hard. But if there's someone around to share childcare with, make sure you get at least an hour per day to yourself to do whatever you need to do to recharge your batteries. If you don't have that extra help, can you do this during nap times? Or put a movie on for the kids? Whatever it is, make sure you prioritise yourself and your own self-care. Because we can't look after others when we are feeling depleted.

  • Tune in to what brings you joy. Music, dancing, knitting, painting, gratitude list, gardening, reading, singing, journalling, spring cleaning, learning new skills... the list is endless

  • This is the perfect time for self-reflection and doing personal development work. This sort of introspection can change lives. Profound, I know! :P But seriously, I've experienced it myself. You can journal on your own, read books, take online courses or work with a coach.

So just remember, we're all in this together. This too shall pass. It's not forever, it's just a phase.

Stay connected.

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