How many of you reading have gone through an international pandemic before in your lifetime? Oh, that’s right NONE!! We are in unchartered waters with COVID-19, the only people who are experts in this field are epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists who have dedicated their life learning about pandemics and how we control them. Although this is a new strain, and there are anomalies, these people know more than Jennie from the till at Tesco on the subject.
The experts are in turn passing the information to governments who are keeping the public informed on the best ways to keep ourselves and our families safe. We are getting live broadcasts daily from The Chief Medical Officer for England and the most senior politicians are hitting our TV screens every evening with up to date medical and economic measure advancements. The safety measures including self-isolation and social distancing are being reviewed daily to protect more people from COVID-19.
I love and hate the internet in equal measure. I love it because I can get information at the click of a button, but I can also get speculation. It’s hilarious now that every man, woman, granny, dog and hamster thinks they are an expert in COVID-19. Speculation is flying off the shelves quicker than the new load of loo roll at Asda!!
I think it’s important now we take stock not only of our store cupboard ingredients, but of who we are taking our information from, who we are surrounding ourselves with, and inwardly looking at our own behaviours and actions.
Before I go any further let me assure you negative thoughts are normal, everyone has them you are not alone!! It stems back to the caveman days where we had to assess the risk to enable us to survive. Negative bias is a default when you are unfamiliar with a situation.
In the example of COVID-19, I would question anyone whose head has not visited scenes from apocalypse movies or considered their personal economic situation should the restrictions continue for a prolonged period. These thoughts straight away move us into panic mode and cause feelings of anxiety, they can keep us awake at night and stress levels are heightened.
This feeds how we behave, endlessly scrolling through news channels and social media looking at media propaganda or cousin Julie’s opinions on why or why we should not be on lockdown or using garlic as a cure for COVID-19. This perpetuates the thoughts of fright, what if garlic is the cure? Maybe you should run the risk of going to the shops for the last clove, but………what if a contaminated person has touched it? More fear, more negative thoughts, more erratic behaviour.
But how do you stop this?
1) STOP concentrating on things you CAN NOT CONTROL!! You may think from all your “social media research” we should have been in lockdown a week ago. We are not Cher, we can not turn back time. You can not control if and when lockdown happens, focusing on it will fill your head with negative thoughts and will lead to you feeling panicked. Only concentrate on things which you can control
2) CHOICE. We are a free nation, everyone has a choice. While we want to protect our nearest and dearest, especially the ageing population. You are not “the boss of them” unless medically certified have the capacity to make their own decisions. If they choose not to self isolate or social distance it ultimately is up to them. It is your job to educate them on governments daily updates and be available to provide them with supplies they need. Hey, you can even give them new skills on how to work facetime or video calls.
3) MUSIC – When the negative thought comes into your head, recognise that it is there. Be mindful and acknowledge it for what it is. When it happens, have a go at happy thoughts or songs. I have a shed load of happy songs, ‘Sparkle and Shine’ from the movie Nativity, ‘Shotgun’ by George Ezra, ‘The Greatest Day’ by Take That and Robbie Williams, ‘I love my life’. When the negative kicks in I sing either internally or externally, but it makes me feel happy and my behaviour is positive.
4) RESTRICT your social media and news intake. Check reliable sources once or twice a day maximum for the latest updates on what YOU need to do to stay safe from COVID-19, be educated, but over-focusing on the world situation will only cultivate negative thoughts.
5) EXERCISE gives you endorphins which make you happy. You can run and walk with social distancing, get out and get fresh air. It helps turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
6) BONUS TIME – if you did a time and motion study of the amount of time you spend travelling to work, ferrying kids to clubs, stuck in traffic jams or on trains it all adds up. Time is something that we all seem to be short of in the modern world. But if COVID-19 has given us one positive thing it is time. Time to reset our lives, time to clean out the loft, time to do the things at home and with our nearest and dearest. Dust out the board games or do things around the house that you never seem to get round to.
7) LEARN – I’m currently writing my second book, which compliments Secrets of Successful Sales, but I’m researching lots of new things which will help make the book more impactful. Why not take this time to learn new skills? Youtube some new recipes and learn some fancy cooking skills or a new language.
8) ROUTINE – Depression and Anxiety grow without routine. If you are working from home set your alarm for the time you normally get up, have breakfast, you could even push the boat out and have poached egg or avocado smash since you don’t need to run for the bus. Same with lunch, have a regular lunch and dinner time. Build-in time a walk or get your coat on and have coffee in the garden. It’s ok to have a bit of Netflix at the weekend, but being in slob mode all the time will feed your negative thoughts and deflate the purpose of your day. Keep busy and keep a routine.
9) COMMUNITY – I often talk about running your own business as being The Loneliest Planet in the world. Now people who have never worked remotely are working from home and will experience isolation for the first time. Community is key to overcoming loneliness. Over 4 years ago I created a Facebook Group called The Entrepreneurs Can Clan, it has almost 2,000 members and for the first 2 years, I contributed weekly Facebook lives and daily posts. But guess what, time got in the way, both for me to administer and for members to contribute. Well, time is something we all have more of at the moment to support people, I will be reactivating the community to help spread positivity and upbeat advice as well as an area to enhance skills.
10) NEGATIVE DISTANCING. We have all have been advised to social distance, keep away from social gatherings, keep a safe distance away from people we meet and avoid getting up close and personal. This great advice but I would add to that you should also practise NEGATIVE DISTANCING!! This is when you isolate yourself from purveyors of doom and gloom, the people who CHOOSE not to turn their negative reactions into positive thoughts. Their negativity will fertilise yours and seeds of doubt and catastrophe will make you anxious and worried. You can educate, but just as with point 2, everyone is in control of their behaviours. If they choose to stay in a state of negativity, they will drag you down. Kick them to the kerb, and surround yourself with positive people doing positive things.
As a goodwill gesture, I am giving away my ‘How to Sell to Anyone’ online course. This will help keep you motivated and give you the strong foundations to make those vital sales when we return to business as usual. You can also join the Entrepreneurs Can Clan where I will be posting and going live regularly to help you remain in a positive mindset.
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