Especially in challenging times like this, we need leaders and institutions to act with (1) compassion, (2) stability, (3) trust, plus (4) hope and inspiration for the future. (Gallup’s global study of what followers want).
Where I live, our top health bureaucrat is showing us how it’s done (she even has a fan club).
Here’s some ideas from people way smarter than me to help you be that kind of leader . . .
1. Take a breath, or three. Try diaphragmatic breathing to calm your sympathetic nervous system and re-engage your pre-frontal cortex (aka the thinking mind).
2. It’s OK if you’re feeling afraid. It’s completely normal. These are scary times. And . . . self-compassion is more likely to lead to great results than pushing down negative emotions like fear. (Kristin Neff, PhD).
So give yourself the kindness you’d offer a friend. Maybe it’s washing your hands to the tune of your personal favorite, or taking a drink of water.
3. Know you’re not alone. We need to physically isolate, not socially.
“When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” (Mr. Rogers)
Do you see those helpers? The hospital workers, the grocery store cashiers, the scientists working on a vaccine.
4. Notice if you’re stuck in a negativity trap — thinking this will never end, it’s all on you to fix, everything is terrible, blah blah blah. Absolutely the COVID-19 pandemic is serious. And studies show that how we interpret challenges impacts our well-being. (Marty Seligman)
Keep an eye on the complete picture: the birds are still singing, the number of still-healthy people in your community, and Tom Hanks cheering us up.
5. Increasing positivity is the path to resilience; it broadens our perspective and builds our personal resources. (Barbara Fredrickson, PhD).
No, it’s not pasting on a happy face. I’m talking about heartfelt positivity, the real deal — joy, gratitude, serenity, hope, inspiration, awe and love.
6. Focus on what you can control, both externally and in your inner experience. What would help you get through this with grace and good humour? (Stephen R. Covey)
Create a “CAN CONTROL” vs. “CAN’T CONTROL” list for yourself or for your entire team (can include your family), encouraging everyone to add their own ideas.
7. Get some perspective.
It could be a lot worse. We could also be having fires, floods, tsunamis, and/or earthquakes.
“Three months after an initially ‘bad’ event (i.e., job loss, break-up, fill in the blank), the event really does not change one’s levels of happiness at all.” (Dan Gilbert, Harvard psychologist)
8. Connect with your support network, exercise, eat well, enjoy nature, reflect and refresh, listen to music, read, and engage in meditation and prayer. (your mom)
9. Be comforted by wisdom. “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” (Helen Keller)
10. Finally, reach out. I have no idea if anyone’s head is even here or not, but I’ll make the offer . . . I’m hosting a 15-minute mindfulness webinar next Tuesday, March 24th at 12:05pm ET / 9:05am PT.
Especially for Leaders & Teams in Seniors Care.
For going into work every day with COVID-19 hovering, caring for your residents, supporting your staff, and doing what needs to be done.
You are inspiring and so appreciated.
Stay safe my friends,
.. Mary Ellen (ME)