4 Min ReadLifestyle 27 April 2020
How do we build an emotional moat around ourselves so that we can still thrive in a time such as this? There's so much light within the darkness and yet, how can we continue to keep that light and energy shining on others and ourselves as we navigate through this crisis
We all have, what I refer to as a mental, emotional, and spiritual thermostat. In other words, we are all "set" at different levels and when we cross and go over our mental, emotional, or spiritual number, we go into a state of overwhelming stress and feel out of alignment or off balance. What do we do to lower those levels so that we can move forward and function? Once we identify what that number is for ourselves, we can self-regulate and live in our power. Living in our power allows for more clarity to move forward with the activities at hand.
The best way to innovate, create, and stay calm is to fill your mental, emotional, and spiritual buckets up first and foremost. Be proactive about it. Schedule it like you schedule every other important thing in your life. If you do, then your thoughts and ideas are empowered to flow freely, and you'll build up momentum and be productive in spite of the circumstances. It is this level that's required in the New Normal in order to remain a relevant, innovative leader in your business, in your community, and in your family. They all need you now, perhaps more than ever.
Let's take a look at what we have to work with.
Filling up your Mental Bucket
The words you use are always important — especially now. Words matter more than you may realize. Why? Because your words come directly from your thoughts as a means to communicate your innermost thinking to yourself and to others.
What are you reading? What are you watching? Are you spending your days immersed in the steady stream of bad news from around the world? Or are you selectively checking in to know the facts so that you can decide how to help others around you? Find books and podcasts that lift your spirits and remind you that we are all going to be OK; that we are stronger than we think; that our role is to (like they tell us on airplanes) put on our oxygen masks first so that we have what we need to help someone else. Are you doing that? Are you looking out for you?
Filling up your Emotional Bucket
Accept your feelings as they are and be compassionate with yourself. It's hard not to feel grief over all that has transpired over the past few months. Perhaps the shock has calmed a bit for you and it's time to "see" through a new perceptual lens that you're OK now. You may need to check in hourly to see how you're feeling and when the feeling of overwhelming and intense fear crop up, remind yourself that you are okay right now. Be kind to yourself rather than beating yourself up for not doing more. If you're saying "You should…" be doing this or "should" be acting a certain way, you know you're being harsh to yourself.
Many people are losing their jobs, losing loved ones, worrying about the economy during this crisis and ongoing shutdown. Others are grieving, too, worried about their economic future and health. This is the time to strengthen your "compassionate and understanding" muscles. We've seen the beauty and power of compassion help all across the world. We are the Second Responders that must be available for ourselves and for others' emotional well-being.
A very effective strategy to help you let go of anxiety and anxious feelings is to allow them to be expressed. Recognize your emotions, maybe even journal about them. Research has shown that writing by hand in the form of journaling is an excellent way to keep the brain's gray matter sharp and generate a more positive mood by being self-reflective, instead of bottling things up inside. Many areas of the brain are activated when you journal, such as thinking, language, memory, and healing. There's a reason why, with more than 30 million copies published, one of World War II's biggest bestselling books was in the form of a journal: The Diary of Anne Frank.
Filling up your Spiritual Bucket
As Albert Einstein said, "In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity." The gift is to find the prospect within a predicament and to grow from the experience. This starts with assessing the situation as though you are an observer… or as if you are sitting in a theater and watching the show. Being able to "distance" yourself and become the character onstage, you will be able to "see" with a new lens filled with observation and curiosity, rather than watch with judgment while fixating on the worst-case scenario.
Above all, stay in gratitude. Research studies continue to show that gratitude increases happiness, reduces depression, and is a major contributor to resilience. As you focus on gratitude during the day, it will help realign your mental, emotional, and spiritual buckets around the clock.
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The current state of the world definitely affected us in many ways, it made us stay locked up in our homes away from all the social events and seemingly fun stuff. But the responsibilities didn't just vanish into thin air, they are still there, waiting to be organized and prepared. Times are super hectic and you are probably not in the mood to think about the foreseeable future, but there are ways to turn in into a fun time. Starting a journal or making a simple calendar can bring you peace, use that creative time to yourself and relax while doing it. Grab your colored pencils, stickers, scraps, and everything in between, your inner DIY queen is about to jump out!
Fill in the blank
So probably the easiest way to start when it comes to making your own calendar is by simply printing a blank template found online. This way you'll have a base, a blank canvas if you will. Take all the materials that you have in your house, like washi tapes, sticky notes, glittery colorful pens and anything you can think of that could work as a decoration on your calendar. And go at it! There are no rules when it comes to decorating, it's super personal and it can differ from person to person.
The only real advice you'll need is to leave some space while decorating, don't overdo it since it will clutter and distract you from the written parts. Finding the perfect template that will suit your aesthetic is extremely easy and fast, a simple google search could get you whatever you want and the best part is, it's free! There are many printable options out there, so don't worry about not finding something you'd like, the possibilities are endless and you'll find just the right calendar you imagined!
Start from scratch
If you don't have a printer at home or you're just determined to make the calendar yourself, there are awesome ways to make the best and most unique personalized calendar there is. This gives you the full freedom to do whatever you can think of, want to make a calendar from old newspapers, do it! Want to cut out a certain shape and disguise the calendar as an art piece in your kitchen, why not?
Nothing is stopping you when it comes to unleashing your creative side, use everything that you can get your hands on, think outside the box, don't be afraid to experiment. Making a calendar from scratch is an amazing opportunity to explore your artistic side, especially if you've been busy with work and responsibilities. This is a great excuse to do something creative, at the end of the day you are making it for the purpose of being more organized and having everything mapped out and planned. So make this time, the best time possible, be free and create!
Mix and match
Since there are absolutely no rules when making any diy project at home, what's stopping you from making the ultimate, super personal calendar! If you have basic knowledge in photoshop, you can even modify the blank calendars you got online, add pictures of your loved ones and family, maybe your pets or anything you like, and then print it out. Or you can print the blank template right away and add pictures or polaroids later on by using some washi tape.
Also, you can even paint over the printed blank calendar, this is a good option for those who aren't as skilled, so you'll have a base to start, just dip in your paintbrush in some acrylic or watercolor paints (or whatever you have around the house) and go for it. This is a great way to start doing artsy projects while still having some form of direction and help.
Sure keeping your priorities at bay and making plans and notes for everything is important...but the heart of this project has to be your willingness to turn something as boring and blank as a calendar into something spectacular. This calendar should proudly be up on your kitchen wall, so loud and colorful it just draws your attention to it.
If the calendar is decorated, personalized, and fun to look at, maybe it will inspire you to look forward to some events or responsibilities even if you didn't feel like it in the first place. So be creative and free, there are no rules so just go at it. With everything that happened this year, try to be positive and find little joys in seemingly insignificant things like diy calendars!