Focus on Your Well-Being

Here we are, the beginning of Week 2. I know that the Coronavirus has been around longer than 2 weeks, but last week was, for many people in the U.S., the beginning of what has now become a massive shut down of our schools, businesses, and life as we’ve known it. Every day there are new restrictions the timeframe for them extended.

I’ve been talking to people from coast to coast about making tough decisions, communicating during crisis, and centering issues of equity and our shared values. In the midst of all the conversations about taking care of others, I want to insert a reminder to take care of yourself.

Your sense of personal well-being might be comprised right now. You may be concerned about:

  • losing your job
  • demonstrating proficient in an online environment
  • balancing child care and education while working
  • being one of few people who are still expected to go into a physical workspace
  • making decisions that are going to adversely impact others
  • your own health or the health of loved ones, or other issues.

First, whatever you’re feeling, you have a right to it. While acknowledging each of us is experiencing this differently, perhaps this is also a moment to get centered. Let’s take a deep breath and widen our lenses. It is essential that you look for ways to nurture your own sense of well-being so that you can show up the way you want to—for your family, your colleagues, and yourself.

Consider taking this time to bring intention to your daily routine in ways that may not be as easy to fit in while also commuting or bouncing from meeting to meeting. Here are a couple of things I’ve done:

In January I decided to significantly cut down on animal-based food from my diet. Though this has been a value of mine for years, it’s been very difficult for me to actually do when I spent so much time at client sites or in airports. Now that I’m home, I can make plant-based choices pretty easily. I’m eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, which are still plentiful in a lot of the grocery stores.

I have been drinking coffee since I was 8 years old. It runs in my family. We are coffee people. When I’m on stage or powering through a meeting at a client site, or waking up at 4:00 am to catch a 6:00 am flight, that coffee is needed. Now that I’m at home, I’ve cut back a lot. I have found that I don’t need big jolts of energy to get me through the workday, nor do I need the crash that comes after.  I’m drinking less coffee and more warm water with lemon or ginger.

I’m meditating. There is no shortage of research that underscores the value of mindfulness meditation for overall well-being. Harvard</a> researchers have found that mindfulness helps with depression, and the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley points out that meditation “improves many aspects of our psychological well-being—improving our mood increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety emotional reactivity, and job burnout.” Mindfulness meditation goes further than psychological benefits. Researchers go on to describe physical benefits including decreased risk of heart disease, hypertension, and even Alzheimer’s Disease.

I started meditating about 7 years ago, when I attended a 5-day meditation retreat in California. For 5 days, I meditated for 30 minutes every morning and evening, I practiced yoga, at vegetarian food, avoided caffeine and alcohol and all forms of media. I walked away from that experience a new and improved version of myself. I was smarter, happier, and more focused than I can ever remember. The results slowly faded when I went back into my normal routine—drinking coffee, over-consuming negative media, making poor food choices, not meditating.

I’m moving. This one has actually been more difficult than I imagined. I’m pretty good about working out. I get to the gym a few times a week, but I fill in the gaps with long walks or runs. Last week took such a toll on me, though, that I just became more lethargic than usual. So today, I scheduled a 30-minute virtual workout with my sisters. We even put in our calendars. So, at 5:30 pm ET we will be together via FaceTime doing sit-ups and push-ups and planks. Oh my!

I’m dancing. I love to party, which is a bit tricky under our current circumstances. However, DJ D-Nice has done us all a HUGE favor. He’s having parties every day and that we can all join just by joining his IG Live session. Today is 6:00 pm ET. I’ll be there, and I’ll dance, and I’ll be grateful in the shared space with the hundreds of thousands of other people who want to benefit from the sense of connection that only comes from others, and dancing.

I encourage you to take what works for you from my list and consider what you will need to ensure your own sense of well-being during this time of change and uncertainty. I know we will get through this, but my hope is that we do it as well as possible, with full intention, and harnessing the power of “together”.

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DeEtta Jones & Associates (DJA) guides leaders and organizations on a journey that builds capacity, strengthens innovation, and increases organizational performance by creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment.

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