Mindfulness & Strategizing
These days many of us are stuck inside, this holds especially true for those of us in the US living in condos or apartments in the coastal cities such as New York City.
When you are mandated to stay home with your family or even alone, it can wear you down. The lack of movement, lack of nature, lack of connection or too much connection with the same people every day for weeks going on months.
So, what can we do during this time to stay sane and not just survive but thrive and come out of the other end of this tunnel bursting into the light with great abundance and joy?
We are all managing the current situation in several different ways, geographically, emotionally and financially.
Some of us might live in areas where the virus has not struck and our properties are so far apart and our towns are less densely populated that the news might seem blown out of proportion. Where as others of us, like myself living in Manhattan, the “epicenter” of the US cases of the corona virus, Covid – 19, the news is pretty spot on.
Some people will feel like they are handling things well at the moment and suffer breakdowns later, some might be suffering from anxiety and have anxiety attacks daily, while other of us could be coasting by and making the best of this time.
Some of us might be in such a tight financial squeeze we are having difficulty in obtaining basic necessities, can’t pay our rent or mortgages while others of us our biggest issue might be the super new long waiting for shipping and arrivals of products we purchased online to kill time.
This article is addressed to everyone. No matter where you are, what you are feeling or the level of financial stress you may be under.
No matter what you are facing there are things you can do to lower your stress and come out on the other side not just intact and alive, but thriving and in a position to make things happen quickly when the economy rebounds.
The very first thing you should do is stop and breathe. Just breathe.
Here is an exercise you can do whether you are in a moment of panic, trying to destress or just wanting a break and to relax.
Sit down and just breathe. You can do it with your eyes open or closed.
Just notice where your breathing from your nose? Your mouth?
Are you breathing in and out of your nose? In and out of your mouth? Some kind of combination?
Now notice the pace of your breathing. Is it rapid? Is it slow? Is it shallow? Is it regular?
Next, notice where you’re breathing into. Are you breathing into your chest, your diaphragm, or your abdomen?
Now begin to play with the breath. Can you breathe in for four counts, hold it and then breathe out for four counts?
Can you breathe in and out for equal counts without holding it just have continuous breaths with no stopping?
Now see if you can purposefully breathe it into your chest or your abdomen or your diaphragm. Keep changing it and take a few breaths and breathe into your chest then breathe into your diaphragm then breathe into your abdomen. Can you breathe it into your chest and feel it filling up the back of your lungs versus your front?
Now how do you feel?
That’s it. By just focusing on the breath and playing with it, it puts you in a state of mindfulness, in the present moment, taking your mind off of past and future thoughts.
When we can take a moment and stop worrying about the past and the future and get present, we can connect better to ourselves and to Source. It is in this highly connected state that we can find the answers that are right for us. When we make decisions out of stress and fear, we make poorer decisions that typically do not bring us closer to our happy end result.
Now that you are in the present moment, it is time to strategize and plan. Especially the scary stuff. If you have to have a little bit of breakdown while doing this, go ahead, cry, get emotional for a moment then let it go. Don’t make yourself “wrong” for feeling it. It is ok to feel whatever you are feeling, but let it go as it won’t serve you if you stay in it.
Do what I call the “So What” list.
Start by listing everything that you are stressing over and are thinking about could happen.
“Oh no I defaulted on my credit card payments.”
Then start by asking yourself the question, “So what?“
First, ask yourself, “So what will happen?” (list out every possible scenario and negative outcome: I will have higher monthly payments, my interest rate will increase, my credit will be affected, I won’t be able to take out a loan, I will have difficulty moving or securing new credit, etc.)
Then ask, “So what could I do in response?” Let’s say the worst-case actually happens, what do you think you could do if you actually defaulted on your credit cards? (I can contact the bank to see if there is something that can be worked out due to this particular event; I could try to find remote online work through Upwork, Fiverr, indeed or other job sites, I could borrow money, I could claim bankruptcy, etc. )
Finally, ask, “So what could I possibly do right now, to prevent this from happening?”: your answer might only be, make more money now or tap into the 401k or other retirement vehicles or life insurance or get a second job or finally start that side-gig.
Just brain dump and work out solutions and preventions to the worst-case scenarios in your head that are freaking out and giving you anxiety.
Now, this might feel overwhelming. Take breaks, go back to the breathing exercise. And remember, none of it is real, in this moment. You are just strategizing and planning. Remove yourself from the emotions any way you can. If you have a good imagination, pretend someone hired you to figure out their problems so it can be less emotionally impactful to you.
By working out the scenarios in advance, you can have a game plan and know what to do if it even happens. You won’t be scrambling last minute when you are under even more pressure. In many cases, just writing it all out with possible prevention and solutions is enough to put your mind at ease.
Were you around at an age where you felt the impact of the 2008 global recession? It wasn’t fun, was it? I was homeless with a newborn infant, I totally understand. But you are here now, you survived what might have felt, unsurvivable at the time. For me, it allowed me to understand that no matter what happens I know that in the end, it will all be fine, one way or another. While, my life did not look the way I planned or hoped for at that moment, and they sucked majorly, in the end it was all fine. The economy will bounce back as it has after every downturn. Jobs will be plentiful again and we will recover.
Take a moment to really see the big picture. Remind yourself this will pass. We are just in a dark tunnel, but we already know there is a light at the end of it. It is just a matter of time. Even though we are in the dark, as yourself, “what actions can I take so that by the time I reach the end of the tunnel, even if I am getting evicted, I am set up in a way to rebound quickly?”
For me and my company that is taking this time when we are not making money, to layout and execute marketing that will put us in a position to quickly get clients when the market begins to rebound. This might be an entire year. And yes, I have to map out all of the “So What’s” so that I know I have options, can choose an option and know what I can do if any of those events occur.
I hope these two major action steps can help you get present, destress and feel as though you know what to do no matter what happens.
There are so many many more things you can do, but I did not want to overwhelm the already overwhelmed and I did not want to make this a super long read. You can always see more content on my Facebook group ThriveTribeGlobal or leave a comment below.