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  • Kerry Ahrend, M.S., PMP

HOW TO COPE WITH STRESSFUL TIMES


As I write this we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Situations like this bring with them a whole lot of uncertainty, chaos, and a great deal of stress. There are things we cannot control but there are many things we can control. If we are to deal with the current situation, and any situation successfully, we need to focus on the things we can control.


The single most important thing that will help us not only survive but also thrive during times of chaos and uncertainty is our mindset. We get to choose how we react to our current situation. We can choose fear or we can choose to stay centered and proactively and responsibly deal with the chaos around us.


Here are but a few things you can do to stay centered and build confidence and strength versus becoming a victim of fear.


Stay in the Word. Look to God for strength and comfort. He alone is in control and He is the “Comforter” and the source of our strength. Let God be your focus.


Choose to remain centered amid the chaos. Everything we do in life is about choices. You can either join the panic or stay centered and focused. To stay centered amid the chaos you will need to remove yourself to some extent from the chaos. Instead of being glued to the news or social media, use this time to focus on areas of growth in your life.


o If you are worried about your health, focus on getting healthier. Eat healthier foods, get more exercise, drink plenty of water, get more sleep. Make a choice to live healthier and focus on your physical, mental, and emotional health routines.


o Grow and expand your relationships. Although you may choose not to gather with people at this time, that does not preclude you from engaging with others. Are there some people in your life that you have not spoken with in a long time? Now is a good time to reconnect and check on others. But remember to keep it positive and encouraging.


o Grow your business. This is definitely an area I need to work on. I have been a classroom trainer for over two decades. NOW is a good time to expand online training. Where can you grow your business using technology or other tools and strategies?


o NOW is a good time to engage in personal development. As a career coach, I have seen the outcome of uncertain times to the business community. There will ultimately be some layoffs and downsizings, and unfortunately some business closures due to this pandemic (and other chaotic events in the future). The most effective way to prepare for uncertain times is to focus on your personal growth and development. Be prepared to take your next best step.


Your events have been cancelled? You are looking for something to fill your time besides watching the news non-stop? Getting “cabin fever”? So many possibilities exist online to help you grow your knowledge and skills: training courses, webinars, YouTube videos, books to read . . . the opportunities are endless. Expand your mind versus filling it with fearful thoughts.


Adopt a role-model mindset. What does your reaction and behavior to the current situation say to others? Are you adding to the hysteria and panic or are you a model of strength and confidence that “this too shall pass” and we will come out stronger at the other end? You get to choose! Be a positive role model for your family, friends, neighbors, and community. Be caring, compassionate, and help others find strength in the situation.


The real pandemic here is the spread of fear and anxiety. Don’t contribute to the negative energy. Instead make a choice to be a positive role model and be the calm amidst the storm.


“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning how to dance in the rain.” Anonymous


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