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As we collectively navigate COVID-19, we are faced with many challenges we have not yet encountered. Here are four helpful tips as we power through:

Be Flexible

“Change is the only constant in life.”  ~ Heraclitus

This pandemic has brought so many challenges to communities, professions, and individuals. Whether it be you find yourself suddenly working from home, postponing events, home schooling your children, teaching a class online, or other shopping for basic items (try finding toilet paper at the grocery store these days!) – changes are coming our way on an hourly basis. As this occurs, remember that many things are out of our control.

So what can you control? How you respond to everything. Take a pause, a few deep breaths, and really assess the task or situation requiring your response. Does it require an immediate answer? It may. If you’re like me, and dealing with event logistics and crisis communications for your clients, or tackling a new “home school” scenario with a loose end date, then some things are certainly “on fire”. Still, that does not mean you need to react in a split second. Pause, read, and fully assess the entire situation or what specifically is being requested of you. Who do you need on board to help you as you create a plan, write a response, or set up your kids for success? Get the team you need involved in the action, and then take calculated, well thought out next steps.

Own Your Environment

This is usually something you can control if you find yourself suddenly working from home. Set up your kids for a path of success by allocating an area for them to work in effectively (for my kids, this will be having a work space far away from the TV and PS4 – and all things Fortnite!) Everyone who has already been working from home for a while will know that setting you your environment is key, as are routine and structure. Dress for the day, have a dedicated area to work, and be sure to get some fresh air and eat healthy food throughout the day. Fuel and nurture yourselves.

Maintain Balance to Avoid Overwhelm

While social media can be an amazing way to stay connected to everyone in a time of isolation, it can also be easy to get caught up (and sucked in) to the constant firehose of reporting. Every other word seems to be “COVID-19” and “Pandemic” – throw that in with “National Emergency” and it gets to be a bit overwhelming. It’s okay (recommended, even) to take a step back from drowning in news. If you’re in an industry where you must continuously monitor the information, that’s understandable – but be sure to balance it out with reading something fun, chatting with a friend (cell phones do still make phone calls!) or watching a comedy with your family. Try meditation (I highly recommend Insight Timer, it’s a wonderful app that offers free meditation for both beginner and experienced meditators). Heck, take five minutes to look at cute cat videos, or pictures of Baby Yoda – whatever brings a smile to your face for a few minutes to break up the day. If you can, embrace nature for at least ten minutes with a brisk walk, a run or even just sit outside in your backyard or front stoop. Focus on what you CAN do to maintain balance – even if your gym is temporarily closed or you can’t get to that yoga class.

Be Hopeful

As the old adage goes, “This too shall pass.”  It’s sometimes challenging to see a path in a forest full of trees, but once you adjust your eyes, you will see clearly and discern the multiple paths available to you. Sometimes you need to forge your own way and create your own path, and that may be the best method. Be hopeful for your future – for our collective future. Use this as a learning opportunity to teach your kids, loved ones and colleagues in real-time the true meaning of grit and resilience. Remind yourself of just how much you’ve already overcome (9/11, Superstorm Sandy, personal adversity, and more) and how in the end, your family, small business, friends and colleagues will come out on the other side stronger and even more brilliant.

Be well and stay strong (and balanced) – we are all in this together.