The truth is everyone is building new habits right now. Whenever there is a big change in your environment there will be a big change in your behavior. When you feel restless, do a 1-minute workout. When you feel overwhelmed, practice a minute of mindfulness or deep breathing. Atomic Habits, author James Clear reminds us, "When the world seems uncontrollable, focus on what you can control. Return to your habits."
Unfortunately many of us have some daily habits that don't bring out the best in life. Here are some top suggestions of habits to consider that will help you manage your way through this health crisis. What a great time to rewrite some rules and anchor in some habits that will bring your life more peace and joy.
Embrace SoMe. It's time to become the boss of your feed. In a world where information is as abundant and easy to access as a drive-thru cheeseburger, your true advantage comes in knowing where to allow your focus. Connect with things or thought leaders who inspire you. Limit the negative chatter because you can generate enough of that on your own. My feed is full yoga classes, meditations, Coldplay’s Chris Martin at his piano singing to inspire, Coaches and Mentors who I have learned great transformation from, reliable news sources and a bunch of people I find hysterically funny.
The telephone works both ways. If your phone isn’t vibrating right now, remember that it works both ways. Call one person every day. Check in on them to see how they are doing and find out if you can help bring their spirits up. This is the quickest way to bring your own mood up too. The people you surround yourself with matter so while they may not be in the same room with you - you can control who you reach out to for support.
Host a dance party. Invite your friends on FaceTime or build a private group on FaceBook. Right now, I am trying to leave Zoom to the businesses who rely on it for their livelihood and students who are in class because it can only handle so much bandwidth. But there are plenty of ways to connect right now, Zoom is only one. Energy is contagious whether it’s positive or negative. So be the generator of that positivity and creatively find a way to socialize from a distance.
Get outside. Nature is not cancelled. Even with a 6 feet rule, you can still get outside if you go to a place with space. Connect with the earth and settle into the music of a bird chirping or listen to the sound of the wind blowing. Just 5 minutes a day outside is a guaranteed mood shifter.
Move your body. When you start to feel angsty “shut up and dance”. Play your favorite song and go back to the time it became your favorite song. Nobody’s watching so dance, dance, dance.
Commit to a news cleanse. I have a background in television news, and while it’s definitely the media's job to inform you it’s also very true that every newsroom mantra is “If it bleeds, it leads". They count on fear to keep you dialed in to their programming. Nothing sells products more effectively than a fear and scarcity mindset. If you don’t believe me then look down the paper products aisle. Purge your feed of the negativity and catch yourself before you enter the cascade. A good rule to follow is to never start or end your day with news. These are sacred hours because so much subconscious programming happens while our mind is at rest. One of the strongest and easiest acts of self-care comes from consuming only content that makes you feel inspired from 9pm - 9am.
Eat fresh veggies and fruits when you can. Drink more water than you think you need. Limit sugar by stopping short of finishing. Garbage in garbage out. No eye rolls please. There’s good reason this one is always on the list. It works.
Remember to breathe. As we all guard ourselves to fight off a virus that is taking away this very gift, it's so important to give thanks and gratitude to our amazing respiratory system. Sit still and take 3 deep breaths whenever you can throughout the day. With each breath visualize the oxygen feeding each and every one of your organs and cells. When you stop to think about the work our body does for us, without ever being reminded or asked to do so, you will start believing in all kinds of beautiful miracles.
Grow gratitude muscles. Before you fall asleep every night write three things you’re grateful for and then go back over each one and feel it. Go there and play a movie in your head of how happy and thankful you are to have had that moment or person in your life. A gratitude journal isn't a checklist list. It’s not a transaction. It’s an action. Gratitude muscles grow when you feel the gratitude. Think about things that feel good to think about, feel them again and then give thanks for the amazing feelings they bring up inside of you.
Have fun! Having fun doesn't mean you are insensitive to other people's suffering. It's not a pie with limited pieces to go around. Joy and fun are abundant and finding joy is actually the best way for each and every one of us to pull out of this health crisis. As we all guard ourselves from a virus traced back to one, the power of one has never been more apparent than it is right now. We are all connected and the actions we take impact others. Intentionally decide that you will be the spreader of joy, love and kindness. Fear doesn't make you smarter than your neighbor and it really needs no help from you to spread. It has that job covered on its own.