“Love and kindness are never wasted.
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them,
and they bless you, the giver.”
– Barbara De Angelis
Good morning my dear <<Name>>. Though I typically write this love note to you on Thursday or Friday, this week I am writing to you on Saturday morning just after 8 AM.
In all honesty, I began writing this on Wednesday as we were scheduled to go to Chicago for one of the nephew's birthdays. But, like you, all of our plans are needing adjusting on what seems like an hour by hour basis.
Not only did we cancel all our plans, I wanted to ensure that this love note wasn't in any way tone deaf to what is going on in the world.
If you've been around here for long, I've often talked about how my personality type affects the way I react to the world and how I process it. As an ENTJ, I am typically able to stay extremely logical and calm in stressful situations.
But I will admit to you that the last couple of days - especially yesterday - felt tough to maintain my cool and calm self.
And you know what? That's OK. It's ok to feel a little panicked or overwhelmed.
But as they say, we can't control the world around us, but what we can control is ourselves. Our thoughts and our reactions. We can control the way we speak to and treat others.
We can also control what we consume. You need to consume GOOD STUFF right now. That means you probably don't want to watch the news. And if you are getting your news online, you probably want to stay away from the comment sections. (Just saying).
One of the ways I get my news is I subscribe to a couple of newsletters that send me the top stories without too much drama. And then I can choose which ones I want to read more of. Or not. Here are the ones I subscribe to (all of them are free) (Katie Couric’s Weekday Wake-Up Call | Cheddar’s Need2Know Email List | Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper )
The way we are going to get through this crisis is to manage our minds to the best of our ability.
And, please do your best to stay away from others outside your immediate family. I know this is easier said than done. Some of you may have to go to work. And you may need to get groceries and other necessities during this time. It's all about being cautious.
I know you've already heard this. But I would be remiss if I didn't remind you - lovingly and gently - to wash your hands.
There's a great article on Medium about what "Social Distancing" that isn't overly dramatic, just practical and is written by a doctor. (Medium has lifted the paywall on all COVID-19 Essays for those of you who aren't subscribers.)
Also, I want to remind you to be patient and try to stay kind with your family members.
We are all going to be spending more time together than even most of us are used to. And because everyone is feeling a little stressed out, your family members are probably going to get on your nerves at some time. It's human nature.
So, try to keep your sense of humor. And watch what you say. Because words can't be taken back.
Do get outside if you can safely do so. Go for a walk or simply sit in the sunshine for a moment. Go for a drive and just sit in a parking lot of the park if it's too cold or rainy to get out and walk around. Just gazing at nature can be helpful - and it will help you feel less housebound.
And if you are able, find a way to spread some hope. Buy the book from that author you follow. Share people's blog posts that feel uplifting. Write a letter to a friend. Make a phone call to someone to know they aren't alone.
Remember that I'm just an email away. Please reach out if you are needing some connection. I love hearing your stories and helping you find the resources you need to create a life you love.
With so much love...........
PS - I am working on a new eBook for subscribers and hope to get that out this next week. AND if you look in my sidebar, I am offering my Home Office Class for just $9 beginning March 23rd. If that's out of your budget, just reach out to me.
From the blog: 24 Techniques to Manage Stress and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Crisis
We are living in challenging times right now, my friend. And if you are already prone to anxiety before the current COVID-19 crisis, it can feel even harder to manage the internal panic when the world seems to be panicking, right?
It’s so important to manage your stress levels at anytime for your own mental health and happiness. But especially important now since an overload of cortisol (the stress hormone) can lower your immune system.
And besides, having some go-to moves for dealing with stress and anxiety is a path to ensuring that you live a daily life that feels loving, nourishing, and supportive.
That’s why I want to dig into twenty-four of the best techniques I know to manage the way stress and anxiety can feel like it’s tearing you apart.
While none of these tips are a one-size-fits all guaranteed to work for everybody, I’m confident that some of these will be helpful to you. So, treat these tips like a Smörgåsbord of techniques to experiment with to see what works best for you.
One – Take a Deep Breath at Times of Transition
I know, I know. People always tell you to BREATHE. Breathing techniques are proven to help with anxiety. But when you’re stuck in that panicky feelings, it’s hard to remember. That’s why I like making it a habit to breathe at transition moments.
See, we have multiple moments of transition during the day: waking up, sitting down to dinner, coming home from work, and beginning our work day. As you transition from one moment to the next, pause for a moment and breathe. Stop, close your eyes, take a big deep breath, and slowly release it.
Two – Wash Your Face
I know we’re washing our hands a lot these days, but now is a good time to really wash your face. This isn’t necessarily just about hygiene, but as an act of self-love. Earlier this year, my dermatologist prescribed a new medication for sun spots (hello to my fifties!) which started me on a whole new skin care routine.
And you know what I noticed? I felt so much calmer after making washing my face at the end of the day a loving ritual.
Make sure the water is warm, use a cleanser that smells wonderful to you, gently massage it into your skin, and rinse. (I prefer a washcloth). After washing your face, put on some good moisturizer and under eye cream. Look at yourself in the mirror and really gaze into your eyes. You’ve got this!
Three – Slather Yourself with Lotion
We all need human touch and kindness. And with social distancing such an important way to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many of us are not going to be getting the human contact we need. So, as a remedy to the lack of human touch in our lives right now, make putting lotion on as a way to give touch to yourself.
I’m sure with all the hand washing, you’re probably adding hand lotion to your days. But instead of just lotion on your hands, lovingly tend yourself by applying a lotion that smells wonderful to you on your whole body: feet, legs, arms, tummy, breasts, arms, neck, and back! (We already covered your face above).
You’ll be rubbing calmness and anxiety away as you rub the lotion in.
Four – Really Get Dressed
When we’re feeling anxious or even a little depressed, it can feel challenging to put on real clothes. Sure, staying in yoga pants, jammies, or sweat pants can help reduce the anxiety of figuring out what to wear. However, this doesn’t work long term. No, my dear, over time, if you wear sloppy clothes or skip showering for days, it’s eventually going to add to your anxiety.
So, put some decent clothes on. And put on your makeup, too. While it may seem counter productive to stress management at first, you will feel better. And boost your confidence. When you have a boost of confidence, if combats those anxious feelings.
Five – Make a List
Is there anything more satisfying than checking things off your to-do list? When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, having a list can feel helpful and supportive. So, to manage any stress or anxiety, make that to do list. Better yet, make it on paper. Using a pen and writing by hand accesses a different part of the brain than typing does.
Besides, you need a break from screen time with all the novel coronavirus news.
And don’t stop at a to-do list. Make a list of all the things that make you awesome. Or make a list of all your favorite books or movies. And don’t forget about writing down a list of all the reasons you love book. Get where I”m going here? Neat (or messy) little lists about ourselves and our lives is soothing.
Six – Write in a Journal
Each one of us has dozens of thoughts in a single minute. The act of taking those thoughts and writing them down allows us to process them, not just ruminate over them. And the thing is, ruminating can be the root of anxious thoughts. When you begin keeping a journal you’ll discover that writing allows us to process both our thoughts and emotions.
When our thoughts are in front of us, whether as ink on a page or pixels on a screen, it is easier to treat our purely emotional thoughts with logic, and temper our pure logic with emotion. That’s because keeping a journal is a yin-and-yang way to manage thoughts and emotions.And managing our thoughts and emotions can help us better manage our anxious feelings.
Six – Begin a Gratitude Practice
Did you know that gratitude can rewire your brain? See, our thoughts travel on neural pathways in our brains. When we’re stressed and anxious, it’s common for our thoughts to always go to the negative, right? But the creation of a regular gratitude practice allows your brain to create new, positive pathways for your thoughts.
Over time, the old pathways grow over from lack of regular use. In other words, while forming new positive streets for your thoughts to travel on in your brain, your brain fills in all those ditches and ruts previously used by negative thoughts. As your brain becomes used to these new paths for thought, they will become the norm.
This means that when you’re dealing with anxiety or a crisis (like we are now with COVID-19), a gratitude practice allows your thoughts to be more positive. And you’ll also recover more quickly.
If you’re struggling with how to begin, find a gratitude quote you connect with, write it on the page, and see what bubbles up from there.
Seven – Make Your Bed
When you’re struggling with anxiety, sometimes the best medicine is to whip something into control or order. That’s what I loved about making your bed. Not only are you able to control something. You get to whip one of your spaces into tidiness. And, it allows you to feel as if you’ve accomplished something. Win, win!
Never underestimate the value of a beautifully made bed to ease your anxious feelings.
Eight – Declutter Something
Stuff stresses us out. When you are feeling anxious, declutter something. Yes, darling, I mean to tackle that closet of yours now that you’re stuck at home thanks to the Corona Virus. Because, you have more time at home. So you may as well, right?
However, if your whole closet feels overwhelming and feels like it’s adding to your anxiety, then choose a smaller space: a drawer, a shelf, or your kitchen island.
Read more by clicking here: 24 Techniques to Manage Stress and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Crisis
Though I typically share a favorite recipe here, this week I want to share another way I have kept myself fed well this year: I started a subscription to Freshly. (that link will save you $40 if you decide to try Freshly, too)
I have been looking at meal kids on and off since they became popular. But the truth is, none of them really appealed to me enough to commit. In part because I'm super picky about the quality of the ingredients I buy. And because I am also too picky, it seems, when it comes to the recipes that were offered on any given week.
When JB travels, though, I really don't cook a lot because I've never really been great at scaling meals down. And honestly don't want to cook every night. And eating out, well, gets excessively expensive and I often leave disappointed with the quality of the meals.
So, with all that in mind, I began looking harder at the meal delivery services that required me to simply warm up a single entree. And, since I'm trying to still eat as gluten-free as possible, that was part of what helped me decide to try Freshly.
In addition to being able to choose Gluten Free options, I was able to sort the meal choices by total carbs to help me with that goal, too. They sub a lot of heavier carbs (like potatoes) with cauliflower dishes as sides - and I loved all of those though I am not always a fan of that "low carb sub".
I honestly liked 90% of the meals I tried - especially their Buffalo chicken, chicken parm, and all their meatball and meatloaf type meals. (I disliked their BBQ Chicken and Turkey with Grain Free Stuffing). And ordering from them is now my go-to when JB travels and I don't. So, that means I've had 3 different weeks of meals delivered from them so far this year. And have plans for another delivery for his next trip.
So, though that is an "affiliate" link, that's not the reason I'm sharing this now. Rather, I want you to know that you have options for eating well without having to deal with the grocery store or eating out.