It feels like so much has changed since my last blog and we suddenly all find ourselves in uncharted and uncertain territory, navigating through it the best we can.
My expertise lies in change management and mindset mastery so although I’m normally applying these concepts to career decision making, they are highly applicable to what we’re all going through now so I want to help and support as much as I can.
In this blog, I’m going to give you my top 5 strategies that I’m currently using to find some calm in the stormy waters and then outline the other ways I plan to offer support during this time.
How you can help strengthen your mindset right now:
Be mindful of how you start your day
When you wake up in the morning are you grabbing your phone and immediately diving into the news? Or are you taking a few minutes to do something mindful and intentionally set the tone for your day?
We are all going to experience some wobbles, fear and anxiety with what’s facing us, and that’s completely normal. If you’re anything like me, your feelings may have been up and down quite a bit in the last few days!
However, we can help ourselves with proactive actions to minimise the time spent in the downward part of that sine wave.
The greater the proportion of time we are able to maintain a calm, grounded and positive mindset the better. This helps our own immune systems, it helps us to think clearly and remain solution-focused and it also then calms those around us.
This isn’t about being an ostrich and pretending everything is fine. We cannot control the circumstances we are in, but we CAN control how we choose to respond and what sort of response is going to feel better and be more empowering.
How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Rather than diving straight into the news, I’ve been grabbing my iPhone and listening to a healing, fear-releasing or confidence-boosting guided meditation. Or writing a gratitude list or doing 15mins of yoga stretches and setting some intentions for how I plan to show up and support myself, my family and my community.
Protect your state of mind by choosing your input sources
What we watch, read, listen to and talk about very much impacts our mindset. It’s worth deciding how you’d like your mindset and emotional state to be ideally and then carefully choosing inputs that support this.
Then tune out the rest of the noise.
That may mean taking a social media break or being very discerning over which threads and groups, you spend time in. We do not problem-solve and cope well from a state of fear, blame, hopelessness or powerlessness.
I believe at our core as a species we are resilient, brave, kind and wired to connect and support each other and I am seeing HUGE amounts of evidence out there right now of the amazingness of the human spirit.
I have chosen one source of information that is as factual and non-hyped as I can find which I look at twice daily so I can stay up to date with the scientific, financial and operational facts as they evolve as obviously we need to know what’s going on.
Other than that I’m looking for supportive, uplifting and humorous groups and chats as at a time like this we need laughter, song and dance more than ever before, when it feels appropriate obviously.
This one’s for any of my fellow ex-clubbers out there, one enterprising chap making his own fun as a Kitchen DJ…. 😉
Have a bank of tools and techniques for managing the wobbles
As this situation evolves, we are having to deal with new information every day and concerns that may pop up about our livelihoods, our relatives, how to work with kids at home, our own health etc.
It’s natural that some days we’re on top and stable and other days it all feels a bit overwhelming.
My top tools for managing the wobbly moments/days:
- Present moment awareness. When anxious, our brains are often somewhere off in the future, worrying about outcomes we cannot predict or control. Actually, in the present moment however we are usually safe and fine. Taking 60 seconds to breathe and think of 2 things you can see, 2 things you can hear and 2 things you can smell right now will pull you into the present moment. You can then remind yourself that right now, in this moment, I am safe.
- Really tuning into what things ARE within your control, that you can take action on or make a difference with, and then making a simple action list. Make a conscious choice to release and not expend energy or worry on aspects that you have absolutely no control over. It has no benefit whatsoever.
- I have also been using a lot of E.F.T. which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique or ‘tapping’. Normally I wouldn’t feel brave enough to talk about this as I’m not sure how many people within the profession are familiar with it and you might think I’m crazy if you’ve not come across it before! However I feel that if I am to write with integrity and be who I really am which I feel is what is needed right now, then I’m using this technique a lot and it’s really helping so I feel called to share it. It does have a growing body of scientific evidence supporting it and I’ve been using it for years. It involves tapping on acupressure points while talking about your fears or worries, which then helps release them. If you’re curious you can find out more from the two references below.
Be your own managing director and strategically plan
This one combines the first three really with deciding on what emotional state you’d like to experience if possible as we go through this (e.g. calm, resilient, strong, hopeful), gathering the facts and then working out what’s in your control and making an action plan.
As this situation is evolving so rapidly, what Kyle and I have been doing every 3 days or so is having a strategy planning session together.
We’re both self-employed with no savings or family wealth to fall back on, modest income, elderly relatives and a child now off school. I realise everyone reading this will have their own version of those circumstances too.
Planning ahead is hard as we don’t have much visibility yet on what and when things will happen. However we can be reviewing regularly (we’re doing 2 to 4 week horizons currently) in the following areas where we DO have some control, and looking to see what needs to be done or any actions for us both to take on handling it:
- Finances – income generation and paying the mortgage/bills
- Logistics – food/petrol/pets
- Health – what steps can we be taking to get and stay as healthy as possible?
- Caring for relatives/community
Sometimes this has prompted us to look for other sources of help, support and information so we know how we can progress in each of these areas. It’s also a time to stay positive and creative with solutions and also to reach out for help if needed.
Remember the bigger picture and see beyond current events
We are going to get through this. Together. We are a strong community in the veterinary profession and as colleagues, friends, families and fellow humans I know we are going to work together to come out the other side of this.
Whenever there is a threat, there is ALWAYS an opportunity and I think this will be the case for us both on a global level, and personally as well. This unprecedented period is calling us to look at everything that is not currently working well and it will ask us to rise up and decide what is important.
I know it’s all-consuming right now, however life will go on once we get through this, even as we adjust and heal, so don’t lose sight of that. Don’t let go of your dreams or plans and stay connected to the bigger, longer-term picture.
Smile. Drop your shoulders. Breathe. Move your body. Reach out for help if you need it.
I hope these tools help – just give me a shout if you want more.
I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days of how I can show up more, lead and support the veterinary community at this time.
I’m not the loudest person on social media, I prefer to beaver away quietly in the background, however at the moment I feel I need to connect more with you all in a visible way.
What’s been working very well in my new group coaching course has been our fortnightly live Q&A sessions where people submit their questions to me beforehand, and I then hop on a live Zoom call and work my way through them. If one person has asked a question, often many others have a similar question and it’s been working very well.
So in terms of free support I can give, I thought I could do something similar via Facebook Live on my page for those of you who get my emails and are in my community.
My areas of expertise are particularly around change management, career decision making, working out what you want, anxiety management (not as a therapist – more for how to work alongside anxiety as you work through change), overcoming fears and limiting beliefs and mindset/resilience work in general.
If you are feeling worried during this present time and have a question you think I might be able to help with, feel free to email me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll take each question and do a short daily live on FB in response.
I will do this while we’re in this change period and as frequently as I am able given childcare challenges etc.
For anyone who’d like to go a bit deeper, I am going to open up some slots for a bespoke one-to-one coaching session. I don’t normally do one-off coaching sessions however right now I can see a need and a benefit for these.
I would get you to fill in a questionnaire beforehand to give me an idea of your current challenge or query, then we would have an hour’s session focusing on understanding the problem, working out a strategy for how you can approach it and then looking at any mindset tweaks needed to keep you feeling motivated.
These will be charged at a third of normal price, so £97 for the session. I will create 10 slots for these initially and will try and open up more if demand is high. If you’d like to book a one-off CV Support Strategy & Mindset session click here to access the slots, and payment can be made here.
Please give me feedback and let me know if there’s anything else you feel I could be doing or that you’d like to know about right now, and I will create content on it to share.
All my transformative personal growth coaching packages are available as normal for those of you who would like to use this time to do some deep thinking about life or career decisions moving forwards, or to work on your confidence and mindset. Book a free 45-minute call with me to find out more here.