Dr Sven, Alexia Michiels and Brad Hook connected to discuss practical tips for staying calm, focused and connected despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the topics we explore:

  1. What can I do practically to protect myself and family?
  2. How do we lead our teams through this testing time?
  3. How do we manage the news/information flood?
  4. How to set up for remote working?
  5. How to manage acute stressors?

Recommendations and insights:

General observations

  1. Stay calm, well and clear. We need to be present and optimistic.
  2. Use breathing to calm down the nervous system.
  3. Secure sleep – perhaps even sleeping a little longer.
  4. Respect each other – keep social distance and self-isolate properly, when requested.
  5. The social and economic effects of the pandemic will affect many people.
  6. When times are uncertain, focus on your sphere of influence.
  7. Attach your oxygen mask first – create a routine that serves you.
  8. Exercise, diet and sleep are important.
  9. We risk falling into the negativity trap, so we have to be proactive to stimulate positive emotions. Even a fake smile can help start the process.
  10. Daily practice is a set of habits that will create rhythm throughout the day.
  11. Avoid jumping into the news first thing in the morning. Protect your morning. Avoid screens in the hour before bed.
  12. Use the situation to create positive habits. In the busy world we live in many have been wishing for a mini-recalibration of our lives.
  13. Can we express gratitude for the opportunities presented by the Coronavirus challenge? Gratitude is a powerful enabler of bounce.
  14. Choose your information sources wisely and create an information diet.
  15. Journalling can also help with insight and exploring emotions.
  16. Be considerate when describing the situation to young people. How can we build rhythms that support family units?

Remote working

  1. Make sure you speak to your people daily. Voice and video are most effective.
  2. Some areas to consider are Environment, Rhythm, Focus and Flow state, Rest and Recovery, Communications, Technology, Mental Fitness – see our remote working program details.
  3. Structure clear agendas.
  4. Leaders need to stay calm, inspire trust and demonstrate self-confidence.
  5. Avoid sitting all day. Stand up during meetings where possible.
  6. Create a virtual watercooler where people can discuss small wins and group experiences.
  7. Discipline your diary – stay practical and create step-by-step actions during the day to stay positive and purposeful.

News overload

  1. Limit news exposure to twice per day if you can.
  2. The Johns Hopkins University site is a good resource.

Managing acute stressors

  1. When you feel acute stress stand up, look out of a window, be present to breathing, ground yourself. Strive for a sense of equanimity.
  2. Create rituals to counter acute stress (coffee with a partner, meditation, calm).
  3. Use emotional combat to activate the right antidote to the negative emotions you might be experiencing.

We may come out of this more resilient than we were before. There is hope.


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