Crisis as an Opportunity

As a life wellness coach, I’ve heard firsthand how this coronavirus pandemic is negatively impacting my clients’ overall well-being.  The anxiety, insecurity, and fear that comes with this pandemic is not reserved for clients- coaches are feeling it, too. After all, it is not just the biological parts of the illness that does not discriminate, when it comes to infection and the worry that comes with it, we are all susceptible. That is why, now is the perfect time to listen, and to, learn from each other. As a society, this is the time for us to, have real conversations with the people in our lives. The humanistic shift created by this virus is an opportunity for us to become united by shared feelings of concern and a duty to care for each other.

We’ve conditioned ourselves to move at such a fast pace- and with so much responsibility that it has become a cultural ‘badge of honor’; in our work, in our lives, and in our communities to be overloaded and stressed. With our new shared reality of working from home, we are now forced to slow down. We can choose to take stock and inventory of our lives and see if what we want is luring us away from what we need. This virus has thrown us into a collective transition. For many of us, we have also had everything we thought was stable and secure taken from us very quickly and that has caught us off guard.

 All significant life transitions bring about uncertainty, loss, fear, anxiety and even anger. A life transition instinctively forces us inward and demands that we disengage from the ‘busyness’ of the old ways of doing and requires our attention to dial into what is at the core of each and every one of us – our Being. Though we have all been temporarily thrown off kilter, out of sync with what we knew as our reality: feeling trapped or helpless, we can BE in new ways, even possibly seeing things in fresh light.

Below are daily self -awareness questions I practice (‘Triggers’, by Marshall Goldsmith) because they bring me one step closer to my goals in life, help me take responsibility, and feel in control over that which I have impact. I hope they help you too!

Finding time to practice Gratitude and appreciation for what we do have is essential to our well-being along with perspective of the current situation.

Ask: Did I do my best to practice Gratitude today? 

We are so thankful to the people working in hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other front-line positions because they are putting our needs before their own.

Ask: Did I do my best to say or do something nice for the person who served my needs above their own today?

Keeping complete attention to the experience on a moment-to-moment-basis in an open and non-judgmental way’ is the practice of mindfulness. Accepting, and not denying feelings as we navigate through understandable fear and anxiety. Create space to relax mind and body to check in with a curiosity and acceptance of what is. What kind words can you use, or small acts of loving kindness can you express to yourself and to others? Positive emotions are contagious and each of your body cells is listening to your thoughts. Practice loving kindness with yourself every moment and then spread that around! “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others” the 14th Dalai Lama

Ask: Did I do my best to practice Mindfulness and Self-Care today?

As a small business owner, I am taking this opportunity to slow down and stay connected with all of my clients and business partners. Slowing down doesn’t mean working less, however.

It means taking time to review company objectives, set intentional focus, and establish new habits working from home. For me, meditation promotes a more productive mind, staying open to creating innovative new ideas, experiencing new ways of learning, and creating the momentum for long-term growth. Tuning into what is important and limiting activities that ‘distract’ us from connecting, provides my husband; Bob Ryan, principal of Shields Meneley Partners, and me valuable time to plan for long term growth in business and life, align our hearts and efforts to what truly matters to us, and find new ways to work together in  a very confined space. To be sure, this is not just an exercise in mindfulness and self-care- it is also a test on our mental health!

Creating structure to each day during thistime of unknowns: creates routine, rhythm, purpose, and boundaries inside the only four walls we do have control over!

Ask: Did I do my best to set clear goals for the day? Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals?

As we collectively journey through this period of fear and anxiety, it is critical to pare down your to do list and to preserve your mental energy. Let us focus on what is essential to your daily mental and emotional well-being. Sleeping between seven hours and nine hours every night will keep your mind and body in a state of repair, rejuvenation, and regeneration.

Ask: Did I do my best to get a good quality night’s sleep?

Connection seems obvious however, it bears repeating everyday so we can establish new habit-forming results: consistency. Be the leader and reach out to others and ask, “How are you? ”and then really listen. Voice connection is best, however do what you can to reach with your heart to a person who is feeling isolated.

Ask: Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?

This crisis will not last forever but by developing new small daily habits and behavior now, we can establish a robust resilient new way of being that will have united us and create the positive impact for ourselves, those around us, and in our communities, and globally.

Viki Ryan is a certified Wellcoaches & Coach U, Inc Life Wellness Coach and founder of Viki Ryan Wellness, LLC. She is a certified Mindfulness facilitator, Functional Aging Specialist, personal trainer, Yoga 200-RYT and Active Aging specialist residing in Chicago, IL.

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