This virus has impacted numerous countries across the world, so we are all going through the same stresses and challenges. It’s encouraging to see how many people have stepped up during this time (offering free educational tools, free live-stream workout classes, offering to get the elderly groceries, opening small business funds, etc.) We truly are all in this together.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashton Newell.
As a communication professional in the industry since 2011, Ashton Newell has extensive experience working in public relations with agencies in Arizona and California and also with Adidas. Additionally, she’s held positions in community relations with the Arizona Diamondbacks and in marketing and broadcasting with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.
Currently, Ashton is the lead digital PR strategist at Directive, a next-gen performance marketing agency specialized in the software space. In this role, she creates and implements link building strategies to make her clients known worldwide.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Thank you so much for having me. As a lover of sports, I initially started working in the community affairs department for the Arizona Diamondbacks, then transitioned to the marketing coordinator for Camelback Ranch, the Spring Training Home of the LA Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox.
While I loved these positions, to gain new experience I needed to grow, I knew I needed to work for an agency. I started at a PR agency in Orange County that helped me understand a new approach to business communications. However, with everything going digital, I still wanted to learn more. I interviewed at Directive in 2018 to dive into search marketing, and the rest is history.
On the side, I was able to be become an E-RYT certified yoga and yoga sculpt instructor at Core Power Yoga in 2018. Here, I was able to dive deeper into the education of breath and movement.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
A book that I really resonated with was Anxious for Nothing, by Max Lucado. Being a type-A person, I tend to overthink things and stress for no reason. This book helped bring everything down-to-earth and not worry about things that are out of my control.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Community. This virus has impacted numerous countries across the world, so we are all going through the same stresses and challenges. It’s encouraging to see how many people have stepped up during this time (offering free educational tools, free live-stream workout classes, offering to get the elderly groceries, opening small business funds, etc.) We truly are all in this together.
- Perspective. It’s easy to take this time and be upset, stressed, bored, and uncertain. While it’s totally okay to feel these things, how can we take these emotions and create instead? Read? Design? Inspire? For me, I’ve been diving into books (educational and fictional) as reading is a hobby I love to do but “never have time for”.
- Move. With so many trainers and gyms offering their services online, there’s never been a time to take your stresses out through movement at home. No weights? Grab a couple cans for bicep curls. Grab your dog and squat him. ☺
- Connect. Technology has made it possible to video-call friends and family, from anywhere in the world. Try and schedule a “virtual hangout” at a time you would normally see your friends or family.
- Share Empathy. Yes, your dog might be barking in your call. You may have kids home that need attention and help during your workday. You may have lost your job. Let’s all continue to share empathy in our words and in our actions. Let’s help those in need in the ways we can. Let’s let the small things go. We’re getting through a global pandemic. Together we can.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- As an E-RYT yoga instructor as well, I’ve truly learned the power of breath and movement. When I started feeling “stuck at home” and negative, I set my alarm clock for an hour earlier and I got on my mat and did some sort of workout. I focused on my breath through each movement and how lucky I truly am to not be sick during this time. Those little things changed my mindset, and I was ready to take on my day. Suggest taking a virtual class with someone who may be anxious, or maybe just sending them a link of one if they seem to need space!
- My whole life I’ve been an anxious person and there is nothing worse than when someone tells you “Just stop”. When speaking with someone who is anxious, remind them to give themselves grace for feeling anxious and then write down what is making them feel this way. What are actionable steps they can take to make this situation better? I feel better when I have a “plan” to get through it.
- Check in on your people, even the ones you seem to be crushing it right now. We are all affected in some way and may need a little extra love through a text message or video call. You might notice this interaction will lower your anxiety as well.
- Understand that we all handle anxiety differently. An anxious person in your life may just need a listening ear, not for you to tell them what to do.
- I’m not a doctor but one way that helped me become less anxious was being around my funny friends. I liked when people could distract me. Sometimes, I forgot what I was anxious about in the first place. This might not always work but sometimes just sending a funny message or reminding them of a funny memory won’t hurt.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
- Core Power Yoga On Demand — Core Power Yoga is offering free classes and meditations during this time, and they’re great to get mentally and physically healthy. Download their app!
- Call a friend or family member. I feel the BEST when I can talk my anxieties through with someone who will listen.
- Just because we have more time at home now doesn’t mean that we HAVE to create. If you have new time and want to; go for it! However, don’t let other people shame you into feeling that you should have written three books during this time, baked banana bread, and also worked out every single day. We are in a pandemic! If you need to take a nap mid-day to keep sane, please do it and feel better.
- Enjoy social media, but not too much. If you start to compare your situation to people who “seem to have it all together” during this time, you may end up feeling worse about yourself and having more anxiety.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Work now, play later.” My dad told me this when I was 9 years old and unmotivated to go to school and dance practice. He said, “Work now and you can play later when those who relaxed now are working when their older.” That stuck with me, and I still think about it often. I always had a competitive mindset, so it helped me work toward the “reward” later on.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
One thing I’m excited about is I’m teaching a live and free yoga class for our clients later on this month to encourage motivation through movement. With many business people not having access to their fitness benefits including gym and fitness access, this is a great opportunity to make their physical and mental health a priority, together with our team at Directive. I couldn’t be more excited.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!