Life in the time of a pandemic, now going into its fifth month, has caused a rollercoaster of emotions. Plans to reopen the economy and lessen shelter in place restrictions are different state by state, county by county, city by city. This creates a lot of confusion and frustration.
In the East Bay Area of San Francisco, our community was poised to enter a much-awaited phase of greater reopening, letting indoor dining happen while also opening beauty salons and gyms. Lots of people worked many hours to establish the best protocols to allow this to happen as safely as possible. Suddenly, approval was yanked away, causing much frustration, fear, anger and despair. Don’t get me wrong—I agree that the surge in infections was serious enough to stop the reopening. The health and safety of our people comes first and the infection rates are grim.
Even knowing that going backwards is the right call doesn’t mean it hurt any less. So, how I deal with the daily tendency to sink into despair? Here are three main resources I have come to depend on:
Daily affirmations, found online or in my personal library
I have been reading and listening to experts in managing emotions, people trained in the field of Emotional Intelligence. Brené Brown is a great resource—she has written several books, does a podcast, been interviewed on tv and in magazines—always with some kernel of wisdom that I find myself writing down to tack up on my bulletin board or bathroom mirror!
BNI (Business Network International)
I joined a local chapter of this networking group several months before opening my business. (BNI We Inspire meets every Thursday at lunch in Walnut Creek) The people in my group come from varying businesses and professions and range from newbies like myself to longtime, successful professionals. They have been mentors and cheerleaders to me, not to mention broadening my marketing efforts with all the referrals and testimonials they have given my business! Now, during the pandemic, we are all leaning on each other to help us get through. Our weekly Zoom meetings have been an invaluable source of information, comfort, optimism and fun. We have been able to provide support to our members who are really suffering while sharing ideas for energizing our various fields.
Chamber of Commerce webinars
My local chamber, the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce, hosts a popular yearly conference every March called the East Bay Women’s Conference. A few weeks ago, for attendees of the EBWC, the Chamber held a webinar entitled “Igniting Optimism” with local business coach Kristin Lincoln of LiveWire Consulting who gave a fantastic presentation on Emotional Intelligence or EI. EI teaches you to know more about your own emotions in an effort to better manage them. Ms. Lincoln said that grief was a common feeling right now and it is important to recognize and feel your emotions so you can process through to a more optimistic outlook.
I hope these ideas help you to keep sane during these crazy times!