For many of us, life is complex under normal circumstances. Recently, with our routines and our comfort zones completely upended, we are all struggling to maintain some sense of normalcy in the midst of chaos.
Many of you are performing amazing juggling acts, balancing child care, homeschooling, working full-time and running households. Others are caring for parents, in addition.
Perhaps now is a good time to remind ourselves of the safety demonstration before take-off on every commercial flight. It goes something like this, “Should we experience a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling above your seat. Place the mask over your mouth and nose and breathe normally. Remember to secure your own mask before helping others”.
Now, more than ever it is essential that we care for ourselves so that we can continue to care for others. Breathe normally. We will all get through this and by maintaining a calm and thoughtful approach, we can help others do the same.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you. I have also heard from family and friends, perhaps more than ever before. I’m grateful for those conversations and it is comforting to know that we are not in it alone. Many have shared their tips to help us cope. Here are a few for your consideration:
A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
Many of us feel a lack of control over our current circumstances and this can be really unsettling, especially for leaders. We can take control of our days by creating household schedules and adapting routines to fit the circumstances. One family member shared that he prepares his school-aged kids lunches the night before, just as he always did, but now he labels the plates and puts them in the fridge, rather than packing lunch bags. When it’s time for lunch, everyone can help themselves and it’s less disruptive than trying to play short order cook while on a conference call.
Why is it that my favorite breakfast bar stool has become so annoying day after day, when I’m used to sitting at my desk for the equivalent amount of time? Apparently I’m not alone. The Groundhog Day feeling is being widely reported. The answer? Get up and move. Sit somewhere different, if you must sit at all. It breaks up the monotony. Walk around while you’re on the phone. If you have an outdoor space, get out there and use that balcony, deck or yard.
Step Away From the Remote
If you feel like you’ve already watched everything worthwhile on Netflix, you can make every day different by planning a variety of family-focused evening activities. A family talent show is guaranteed to make you laugh. Mini sticks (Minnesotans and Canadians require no explanation) can be a family sport. Wii is making a big comeback in many households. Revive the high school euchre game. Monopoly tournaments are potentially endless and you can FaceTime, Skype or Zoom to include family or friends in most of these activities.
The Mind Body Connection
Have you tried the driasi workout that was posted earlier in the week? It’s only fifteen minutes of effort to feel so much better. If you hate working out, do any physical activity. A walk around your neighborhood is something you can do as long as you maintain social distancing. There is strong evidence to support meditation as a great way to improve a whole host of issues, including improving physical health. Bottom line - get some air and move your body. It will help you sleep better and boost your immune system, all at the same time.
Explaining This to the Kids
Fred Rogers was the master of making difficult and scary subjects seem less so. He credited his mother for having said that when we see scary things in the news, we should look for all the helpers. “You will always find people who are helping.”
A walk through many neighborhoods will reveal childrens’ messages of hope, hearts and rainbows drawn in sidewalk chalk. Large red hearts and other works of art are displayed in windows as a sign of solidarity and support for all of the essential service providers. These include our healthcare workers; transportation industry workers who are delivering supplies by rail, air and truck; retailers keeping food on the shelves among many others. Let’s also not forget that we are doing our part, supporting customers who need the benefits and financial security of their insurance policies, more now than ever.
It looks like the kids are doing just fine. It’s the adults who need the most help. There are many positives. We just need to be willing to see them. Neighbors are standing on their front porches, giving a wave and saying hello, like never before. We can comfort one another with these subtle, caring gestures.
Sharing is Caring
Team driasi certainly has maintained a healthy sense of humor. Share your photos of working from home along with your jokes, Tik Toks and memes. If you have other tips for working from home, please share these too. The email address to send material is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Struggle is Real
Last but not least, it is okay to ask for help. driasi provides employees with resources to help maintain physical, mental and financial health. No matter your struggle, talk to your manager, HR or any member of the executive team. We’re all here to support you.
Wishing you well,
Jennifer J. Toal