covid19: work from home

Covid19: 10 Tips for Staying Productive and Mentally Healthy While You’re Working From Home

By now all of us have been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our lives have temporarily changed, however drastically, in order to collectively fight against this dangerous epidemic. This is requiring all of us to change our behaviors, make tough decisions and think about alternative ways to stay productive. It’s also requiring us to step into self-leadership to be able to keep ourselves safe and at the same time make sure we are helping our friends, family and co-workers handle this challenging time with more grace and ease.

In order to do that, I’ve created a quick check-list to help you care for your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being and stay productive while staying and working from home.

1. Create a separate workspace

Many of us are having to share our living space with multiple family members during this period of self-quarantine. If you’re like me, having your own space and privacy is super important to your sanity. While having your own space may not be entirely possible, you can carve out a specific space in your home that is dedicated to you. You can use this as your workspace if you are working from home or an area where you can go to reflect, meditate or chill out. Let your family members know it’s important for your well-being and productivity to have this clearly defined space and request that they respect the area by keeping it clean.

work from home working space

 

2. Create a Weekly & Daily Plan (and stick to it!)

For many people, working from home for an extended period of time is a new experience and it can be daunting to get into a routine and not fall into the trap of watching Netflix for hours on end. Add in having to care for children, homeschool, cook and clean and it might feel like you are working two full time jobs (which most working mom’s have been feeling for decades!). It’s important to get into a regular routine and have a weekly and daily calendar for yourself and for your household chores, including your children’s school schedule. On a Sunday afternoon, map out your plan for the week and then block out chunks of time on your calendar for all the various tasks you need to get through each day. Don’t forget to schedule time for exercise, meditation and fun!weekly planning

 

3. Utilize Technology and Discover New Apps

There are virtually endless technological solutions to keep us connected, productive and happy! Here are some of my recent favorites that are helping me stay on track:

Zoom: Online Conferencing technology to help you conduct meetings, webinars, classes or a virtual happy hour with your friends!

Calendly: Schedule virtual meetings, phone dates, or other appointments easily. You can block out dates/times with your availability and send out links for others to automatically schedule a meeting with you. 

Krisp: A new noise-cancelling technology that blocks out background noise while you’re on a conference call.

Happify: An app to help you reduce stress or negative thoughts and build skills for a healthy life with fun activities and games.

Insight Timer: An app where you can learn how to meditate, cope with anxiety, manage stress and improve your sleep

 

4. Discover & Learn New Skills

If you’ve been thinking about learning a new skill, this is a great time to take advantage of having some down time to dedicate to self-improvement. There are endless resources and distance learning courses available to develop virtually any new skill, many which are free! If you’re into professional development, LinkedIn Learning has a great repository of online classes you can take to improve your communication skills, learn how to work remotely or brush up that resume. If you’re into personal development or interested in spiritual development, MindValley offers great classes on meditation, breathwork, and similar topics. My recent fave is the MasterClass series that offers online classes with celebrities where you can learn how to cook with the world’s most famous chef, Massimo Botturo or take an acting class by Helen Mirren. If you’re interested in developing more self-confidence, check out my new Beat the Bully Course I recently released to help you build the confidence you need to reach your goals!

new skills while covid19

 

5. Make Money Online

If you’ve been laid off you’re or worried about getting laid off due to the coronavirus epidemic, fear not! You probably have a skill that you can transfer online by teaching others through platforms like UpWork and Fiverr that connect freelance workers with potential employers. Now more than ever, companies will be hiring remote customer service workers and industries such as technology that already see a wide gap in skilled IT professionals are going to search for new talent. If you don’t have the skills necessary, then use this time to gain the knowledge to make yourself relevant in the future job market. Or think about developing an online course that you can sell on Udemy or elsewhere. Don’t let fear immobilize you – make a plan on how to adapt to the changing job market (which was going to happen with or without this pandemic according to recent studies). 

 

6. Prioritize Self-Care

These are stressful times calling us to step up and prioritize self-care. This crisis is forcing us to slow down, look within, and really re-examine whether being stuck in the rat race has been serving us. While it may be stressful to have to homeschool your kids, isn’t it great that you can spend some quality time with your kids and take more interest in their development? Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways we can keep a positive mental attitude and see the bright side of where we currently find ourselves. Make sure you are scheduling time to move your body, exercise and practice yoga and meditation – remember it’s about mind-body-spirit balance! I myself have been enjoying PopSugar’s Latin Dance workouts in my living room which I find is the best home workout (and the great part is nobody can see how bad my moves are!)

practice self-care

 

7. Avoid Feeling Isolated

During this time of imposed quarantine, it’s easy to feel isolated especially if you live alone. So it’s more important than ever to find ways to connect that are healthy for you. Limit your daily dose of news and social media to keep your stress levels down. Opt instead to read a good book, do some journaling, or set up a virtual happy hour with your friends! Share your gifts with the world whether that’s reading a poem you’ve written, giving a private concert or doing a nine hour DJ set like D-Nice has been doing from his living room which even broke the internet and went viral! Reach out to friends you haven’t spoken to for a long time, coordinate a virtual lunch hour with your teammates or participate in one of the many online webinars and events taking place.

 

8. Practice Leading Gracefully

Now is the time to practice selflessness and to give back by helping others. If you have an idea you think will help, make a plan, ask for help and see it through. Find ways to volunteer (safely) by delivering food to an elderly neighbor, share your provisions if you a stocked pantry, or start a fundraising campaign to help your community. Fight for the rights of the vulnerable and realize that if you are in a position of privilege, you have an obligation to help those not as fortunate as you. It is not time to blame, point fingers or give into feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. You are always at choice as to how to react in any given situation and you can choose leading with kindness and empathy over selfishness at any moment.

 

hardcover of book leading gracefully

 

9. Practice Art Therapy

Art therapy is a well-known technique to help soothe the nerves, work through emotions and express

yourself creatively. If you’re like me and have no idea where to start, watch a free Intro to Art Therapy video on Youtube that can guide you through the steps. No supplies? No problem – all you need is some paper and a pencil. You can also ask your kids to share their art supplies with you. Better yet, why not co-create a painting with your children?! Find fun ways to tap into your creative side and if painting isn’t your thing, try a new recipe, write a poem, or do some outdoor karaoke (it seems to be helping the Italians!).art therapy work from home

 

10. Remind Yourself – This Too Shall Pass

It’s easy to give into the fear and anxiety of our current situation and it does require us to all stay vigilant, be responsible and care for the safety of ourselves and others. However, it’s important to remind ourselves that even this challenging time is temporary and we will get through it. Places like China that were hardest hit are now slowly going back to normal life. If we all do our part (like staying indoors!) then we will get out of this situation sooner than later. As the great spiritual teacher the Dalai Lama has said, “Tragedy should be utilized as a source for strength. No matter what difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s the real disaster.”

 

Hopefully these tips allow you to make the best of the current situation that we all find ourselves in. No matter how long we have to stay in quarantine, we can all use this time to build healthier habits for ourselves and our families that can help us far after we’ve combatted this pandemic. Have some other ideas on how to increase productivity or your well-being during these trying times? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

The Importance of Sisterhood

Photo Credit: Margot Duane

Two weeks ago I had the honor and privilege of attending the WisdomWomen Visionary Gathering together with 150 women from around the world, held at one of the most beautiful and energetically powerful places in the world, The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. When I first heard about this weekend retreat, I knew it was somewhere I needed to be. Not only did it exceed my expectations, it reminded me of why sisterhood is so important for the advancement of women at this time and why we need so much more of it in our lives. As I continue to integrate the learning, the deep, meaningful conversations, and the beautiful connection to the Feminine and to Mother Earth, I wanted to share some of reflections with my readers and followers.

WisdomWomen was birthed at the Wisdom 2.0 conference back in 2013 by founder Michelle Stransky. Over 100 women attended an open discussion about what women need to be able to step into their leadership more fully and change the world. It was a moving discussion that led to the eventual creation of the WisdomWomen gathering that took place at Esalen.

The invitation for this gathering was clear—if you feel called to make an impact in the world, then join us to co-create a new reality together! With 200 women on the waiting list, clearly there was a need for this type of gathering, a sort of collective yearning amongst women to come together as a tribe, to support one another and connect with each other in a meaningful way. It was the same yearning I’ve felt for quite some time as an executive coach and trainer specializing in empowering women—women are aching to come together and make a difference in the world.

However, for many, the path to changing the world can sometimes feel like a very lonely one. And it’s not because there aren’t amazing women in the world doing some amazing things. There are a ton of them. It because changing the world often feels like a struggle, feel difficult, and often times keeps us isolated from others. It’s also not because there aren’t hundreds if not thousands of amazing women’s networks, associations and circles available to women. There are a ton of those too. There is something else that is holding women back from really dropping into a connective place with one another. It’s something that can be difficult to put a finger on, but nonetheless palpable.

As emotional beings, women take on far more than men in terms of self-doubt, self-criticism and other negative baggage. It begins with a small whisper and if left unchecked, can grow into a loud roar. Those saboteurs tell us lies like other women are better than me, and gosh, I don’t really have anything to offer. So we hold back from introducing ourselves to that woman or to that network of women. We hold ourselves back from expressing our gifts and our ideas. We hold back our greatness.

At the WisdomWomen though, it felt like most of us were able to break free from the barriers that hold us back, whether its our feelings of inadequacy, not being good enough, feeling left out, not supported, competitive or jealous. For myself and I suspect for many women at this gathering, those barriers slid away into the night sky as we came together to perform a ritual around the blazing fire, giving thanks to the four directions, North, South, East, West, and Father Sky and Mother Earth. As we honored our planet, we honored one another, because when we treat nature as a part of ourselves, we become whole again. We come back to the truth that resides within our hearts that we are all One, all connected, interdependent beings of Love. As we entered our sacred space and sat in circle with one another, connecting with our voices and hearts, it was clear that barriers weren’t invited. And for two whole days all of us were able to operate from a place of pure connection and love, and were given the gift of experiencing what it is like to be in pure Sisterhood.

From this place we came together to connect with each others visions for the world, what our hearts know is possible for our planet and for humanity, and we shared our projects and ideas for changing the world. We began to form relationships and connections that will lead to collaborations that are yet to be known. We shared our longing for the world and what we hope we can co-create as women leaders who feel responsible for the future of our planet. We bathed together in the therapeutic waters of Esalen and engaged in healing conversations. We came together in song and dance and expressed the truest parts of ourselves. Most importantly, we came together as Sisters celebrating one another.

Upon returning back into my real life, back to my husband and to my friends and family, I found myself more openhearted than usual. I felt freer to be my true self—more soft, more feminine, more loving. I was sweeter to my husband and in turn he responded with more affection and attention. I felt more creative, compelled to express myself through writing. I was able to drop down into my intuition and felt more connected to my inner sense of knowing. In turn, I was able to give more to my clients, to my friends and family and be more present with all of them. I felt renewed, energized and invigorated. In essence, I felt more ME.

This beautiful experience led me to me to realize the importance of Sisterhood and why it is so integral we come together to support one another during this time in women’s advancement. In our crazy 24/7-wired world we can get so wrapped up in the logistics of our lives, forgetting that which feeds and nurtures us. We forget the importance of slowing down, taking stock and taking care of ourselves. We forget the need to connect with our Sisters and fill up our cups with inspiration. It’s just so essential to who we are as women!! And we need more. We need more women in the world who are able to consistently vibrate from this higher state of being. When women are able to sustain this frequency, we are a force to be reckoned with. There is no mountain we cannot move. There is nothing we cannot manifest as we step into our feminine power. Absolutely nothing.

The challenge is finding ways to form supportive circles of women sans barriers, even when we aren’t in beautiful places like Esalen. What do you think is required to do that? How can we as women approach one another and be in community and connection from an authentic and honest place? I would love to hear your thoughts and reflections as we continue the learning together and continue holding this beautiful container for each other.