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My 10 rules to beat stress during a pandemic (4min 42 sec read)

I have decided for my personal, emotional and mental health over this time that I have some rules to follow. I thought it would be helpful to share them with you today. 

We are facing a situation never seen in our lifetimes. This is absolutely real. It IS happening. 

During this season of COVID-19 there is another massive threat – that of the stress and mental anguish that uncertainty and fear breeds. Stress is a major influencer of our immune system. 

My 10 rules: 

1) Let health be your anchor:  I will continue to focus daily on being as healthy and as in shape as I possibly can be. NOW is the time to give your immune system the best chance by doubling down on your health. It is not the time to abandon good eating and exercise. 

If you cannot go to the gym then find home workouts or any way to keep moving. Run/walk outside until we cannot anymore (keeping distance of course). When you buy food focus on bringing healthy food into your home. Meditate (there are plenty apps out there to help you) and get as much sleep as you can too.  

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2) Limit negative influences, fear-mongering and drama: I am restricting most of my social media consumption to the Sleekgeek Facebook Group/Community because I draw positive energy from the community and leading it. (I will still post on my own feed and respond to comments.) Mute or severely restrict any friends or sources of info that fuel your anxiety. 

3) Be informed but not overwhelmed: I will only consume key trusted info sources on the COVID-19 topic periodically. Once you know the basics and how to stay safe there is no need to be fixated on the news. The media will make a meal out of it. Fear sells. Don’t log onto news channels every 10 minutes for an update. It simply creates stress. You do not need to live in denial or bury your head in the sand but find a healthy balance between obsession and being informed. 

4) A time to love more: I will only discuss the virus for short periods in agreed times with loved ones. I will not allow my quality time with loved ones (even digitally) to be overshadowed by the topic. This is a time to connect more and give people your attention. It is a beautiful opportunity to bond with those we care about more than ever. Have conversations that inspire rather than distress others. 

5) Be human but live with hope: I will allow myself to afraid/concerned/worried for only 5-30 mins a day. We are all human and it is ok for everyone to have fear of the future. Be kind and give yourself that space.

The rest of the time I am going to get my head down and focus on achieving my goals. This will end and when it does I want to have made progress in certain areas of my life. This is a time to live with optimism as hard as it may be. Keep doing whatever you can to lift your spirits and those of whoever you connect with. 

6) Create order with routine:  I will continue to work hard on my daily routines and schedules. At a time like this I think structure and routine is critical to keep focused, balanced and productive. People who are working at home for the first time and feel a little lost will do well to make rigid schedules around work, family, leisure and chore time. Make lists. Tick them off. Structure provides security and direction. 

7) Live in gratitude: I am going to do whatever I can to find the positive in every moment of every day and remain optimistic about the future! In the darkest times there is always something to be grateful for. Gratitude slays fear. 

8) Accept change: This IS happening. We are living in a new world with new norms and rules. The game has changed for the foreseeable future. Accept that and start thinking how you can capitalize on that in all areas of your life. This is a time to adapt. You may have to accept that you will suffer losses. You may have to accept things that feel unacceptable to you. Acknowledge those things and start to think about how you can be prepared to deal with your worst fears and then move forward from there. 

9) A time to learn and create: We have a culture of consumption and constrained time. Now is an excellent time to learn something new. To create something you have always wanted to create. Now is not the time to waste your free time on mindless TV shows. Sure, do that for a while – but take any new time you have to grow and develop yourself. Read a book, listen to a podcast, take an online course, brainstorm a new project, start writing. Build a new future. 

10) Be a leader and the light: I am choosing to be a POSITIVE leader and a role model in this uncertain time for people. I am going to focus my energy on helping others to navigate this time. The beauty is that anyone can lead others. You do not need to be appointed. You just need to lead yourself first and be an example to others. Now is a time for heroes to shine. Start by being your own hero. 

That is my list. Feel free to use or adapt them or reply to me with any ideas of your own. 

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