Life in the Time of Corona
These are complex times and I thought long and hard before writing this blog. There is so much “information” being hurled at us - whether we’ve invited it or not - and I wasn’t sure I would add value by creating yet another piece of content.
So I stayed quiet and under the radar, hoping that this giving over of our minds and bodies to fear which is manifesting on an exponential level all around us, will lessen as the days go by. But it seems to me - and I hope I’m wrong - that this is only the beginning. So what did I do? I fell for it myself.
Those of you who read my blogs regularly know that I’m always in awe of my clients; their courage and wisdom often brings me to tears. Perhaps you might find it surprising, but when I feel myself getting muddled in the head, confused, and ungrounded, in addition to reaching out to my own coach, I also will choose one client that I can share my situation with, and ask for his or her wisdom. This is not unprofessional, it’s how I roll as a coach. We are all in this thing called life together, and in my experience, coaching is most effective when it’s a team sport.
So, when I felt myself starting to spin and question whether my approach of being thoughtful and cautious but not panicking is wrong, I reached out to a wise, balanced, and highly intelligent client of mine, and I shared my doubts and thoughts about my mindset. This was his response:
“The only deference or mitigation we have against this virus is our respective immune systems (in the absence of a vaccine). I plan to keep my immune system in tip top condition, and the best way to do that is to remain without stress and full of joy and excitement. Exercise and meditate deeply - keep a good diet and sleep really well. And take reasonable precautions in the process. You’ve seen the spectrum of manifestations of this virus in different people - from asymptomatic to well….disastrous. And all this variety of reactions must be down to the well being of our immune systems. So that is the priority if one is to stay healthy in these challenging times.”
My client is not putting his head in the sand; he is just refusing to catch the panic virus that we are, intentionally (hello media) or unintentionally, transmitting to each other. Our brains are literally wired to look for danger at every turn. This is the job of a well functioning brain. In “normal” times, this is already leading to extraordinary anxiety and chronic stress. Our brains on Corona, is truly next level! If not managed, our brain can cause more harm to us, by lowering our immunity, than we can ever gain by reading yet another news flash or sending another email to our loved ones about what the latest “expert” is saying.
Jennifer Garvey, a leadership coach and author whose work I use with my leaders, explains that there are five mind traps that get in the way of leaders in complex environments. I believe they are equally relevant in how we are showing up as leaders in this dynamic and complex global moment.
The 5 mind traps are:
We believe we are right.
We tell simple stories.
We enjoy it when we agree.
We like to be in control.
We protect our identities.
Although this blog is not about unpacking Jennifer’s valuable teachings, I mention it in support of my observation that most of us have fallen into, not one or two, but every single one of these traps. Our work now is about staying conscious and managing our brains, which if left unsupervised will likely create the exact opposite of what we need in order to fortify our immune system.
Here are a few suggestions to help you do so.
Limit (not cease) exposure to the news.
Gather evidence for possible outcomes that don’t end in disaster.
Take this time to make your health a priority. This might be a first for many of us.
Remember that caution and care do not equal panic and more toilet paper.
Explore the personal and professional opportunities that exist because of this event.
Appreciate technology and explore how it can bring us together at this time, rather than isolate us, as in the past.
Appreciate and give gratitude to all those who still are showing up to take care of our elderly, sick, and at risk population. They are the true heroes of these times.
The following article offers data driven, science based information about the link between our brain and immune system, as well as offering actionable steps towards staying healthy and grounded.
P.S. I’m committed to sharing my Life Coaching skills and tools out into the world, in the hope that it can help others. If this blog resonates with you, please consider forwarding it to anyone who may benefit from it. If this was forwarded to you, subscribe here.