By: Don Doster, CEO GoPivot
I think we can all agree: it’s a challenging time for us, as a nation and a world, and there’s a lot of fear out there. Uncertainty. Loss. Hopelessness. I can feel it growing in the people around me every day. I can feel it growing in myself, every day. The streets are empty, jobs have been lost, people are scared. During this unprecedented time, I want to stress the importance of not isolating yourself.
Negative thoughts feed negative thoughts and if you’re alone, there’s no one there to counter those thoughts. Isolation is the worst thing you can do right now. My wife and I put our psychology backgrounds to use and came up with an acronym we believe could be helpful, as we care deeply about each, and every one of you. My advice is to SMILE.
This acronym is in no way meant to downplay the seriousness of the current state of affairs. Rather, I hope to empower my family, employees, friends, and colleagues to shift our thinking and use this challenging time as an opportunity for growth and wellness.
Sleep is important in every aspect of your life. You must get sleep or your mind won’t turn off. Sleep is a healing time for the body and a processing and restoration time for the mind. New studies show that 7-9 hours is the number we all need to feel truly rested.
During a time like this, getting out (while maintaining social distance) and helping others can change our whole perspective. Run to the grocery store or fill up a tank of gas for your elderly neighbor, pack lunch for young kids who relied on school lunches for food. There are so many opportunities to give back in your very own community.
Get up, walk around, stretch, get outside, go for a drive, don’t just sit and think. It’s so important to stay active, not only for our bodies but for our minds. Move several times throughout the day.
Start your day with meditation or take a mindfulness break in the middle of the day. Take time to close your eyes and breathe. It’s so important to check in with ourselves and honor our thoughts and feelings. If you have a spiritual life, seek comfort in that. Meditate outside and soak up the cheerful sounds of spring.
I cannot stress the importance of interacting with other human beings during this time. Don’t just text – call or facetime to get the human element of communication, be vulnerable and talk about what’s bothering you. Significant others are great to communicate with, but make sure to also find companionship in friends and family. Even a smile and wave to a neighbor can change their day.
Get creative and let your mind go, think outside the box. This is an unprecedented time to create something new and exciting for the world. Here’s your ticket to invent something magnificent.
Laughter truly is the best medicine. There is nothing better for your soul than an all-out belly laugh. Try to find humor every day, whether it’s through conversations with your family and friends, funny movies, YouTube videos, or even silly memes. Share that laughter with others.
Show love to those you care about. Try an act of service around the house, write letters, share kind words, call an old friend or elderly family member. Let those important to you know that they have your love and support.
Make sure that you’re exercising every day. Exercise releases endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine in our brains, and we need all those things to be happy. Exercise is so important for our mental health – it’s great at reducing stress and feelings of loneliness and isolation.
This is certainly an experience we’ll all remember forever. Try to think of this time as something you’ll look upon one day and think, “I grew so much from this.” Don’t let fear dictate your mindset, let this change your life in a positive way. It’s all about perspective.
Some days will be tougher than others, and that is okay. In the days and weeks to come, when you get up in the morning, do your best to start your day with a SMILE. Take care of each other!