As a positive psychology practitioner and life coach what can I share with you during this stressful time? Should I say be positive? No, that can only add to your stress. (Here is a great article on some ways of handling that stress.) Positive psychology is not about being happy all the time and “thinking positive”. It is using your character strengths, building your resilience, managing your foundation of sleep, nutrition, movement, being mindful and using meditation daily, being compassionate with yourself and allowing your whole being to feel.
“Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living” (Peterson, 2008).
So as a positive psychology practitioner what am I doing now to manage my stress, fear, the unknown and my own personal health and well-being.

I am quarantined with my family which includes a delicious 6 month old grandchild. For this I am truly grateful. He brings us smiles and keeps us all very busy as his parents work in separate rooms. He is passed amongst all of us getting lot’s of hugs and love which brings out the best in all of us. He is a great stress reliever!

We are all cooking and eating our meals together which gives us connection, structure, nutrition and a time to talk about our own fears and uncertainties. These feelings are not to be denied. They are real and there are so many unknowns. We can only control those things that we can control – such as the way we are kind and loving to each other, compassionate to each other and ourselves, how we work, play, communicate, eat, sleep, move, meditate. Beyond that we are surrendering. We do not know how long this will last. We do not know what the financial fall out will be. We are doing our best and that is all one can ask.

I am doing a yoga routine every day. If I didn’t know one I would find one on TV or order a tape to do or even watch you tube. This came to my inbox from Uplift which I think is amazing and I will definitely be joining some of the things offered!  I would do something, that is how important moving my body in some way is to me and is for everyone according to the recent research done by Kelly McGonigal. It helps me center, breathe, stretch, be mindful of the moment and calm my nervous system down. I am also meditating and doing lot’s of metta prayers sending my prayers for safety and health to my loved ones, friends, the community and the world.

I personally enjoy cooking so I am focused on how are we all eating. We have a definite routine. Up in the morning, showered and dressed, breakfast, who holds the baby :), work, who plays with the baby, lunch, work, exercise/meditate, dinner, and to bed early. ( With a baby in the house everyone is up pretty early.) I believe in the routine, the boundaries of work, play, meals etc. Each person has a designated space to work which is helpful. If we need someones help with the baby we ask. We are a communal community working together to get through this pandemic with as much sanity and safety as possible. We take walks out in the quiet neighborhood and if someone comes up the street we turn around. We are keeping our distance from the world right now, in person. Deliveries are left on the front door step and not touched for 24 hours or touched with gloves and wiped off before they come in the house.

If we need quiet space we try to find it anywhere we can! I am asking those who are working in front of computers all day to take 90 minute breaks to get water, eat, walk, hold the baby or whatever. The scientific research shows you can only focus that long and then you need a break in order to continue being creative and functioning optimally.

If possible we take a nap. I believe in the restorative nature of a nap!

I have spoken about RAIN in previous posts and breathing. I am using these tools whenever I feel overwhelmed or step into fear. The fear is real but we don’t want to stay there. It leads to stress and overloads our systems in a negative way.

We are setting up some virtual meetings and definately making our calls to collegues, friends, and families often to check in and just say, hey, how are you doing? My Dad who is elderly was thrilled to get a face time call with the baby during bath time! Made his day! My kids are planning a virtual dinner with friends, and colleagues of theirs did a virtual happy hour. All great ideas. I know one person who wanted to do stand up comedy but now that that is not happening she will be sharing her routine with her roommates.:) Another loved her dance class which she is now not going to and was very disappointed but decided to have her teenager make a faboulous play list for them to do a dance party in the living room. It is time to be creative, think out of the box, do a project at home, or play games, cook with your kids, do some art projects, knit, play cards. Maybe it’s time to write that book you were thinking about? Can you imagine you are on a retreat? ( I can’t but I know some people  are!) I also know some of you are alone and that is very stressful. Please reach out to others and set up virtual meeting times. Even though we are all in isolation now we do not have to be isolated with the technology we have today. Governor Cuomo said in his last news statement, reach out to others, say the 3 little words like, “I miss you.” ” I love you.” I am personally listening to him.

My intention is to stay out of the stress and fear cycle, move the energy in my body, spend time in gratitude that I am alive, breathing on my own, have a roof over my head, and food on my table. It is a great time to focus on what really really reallly matters in my life, savor it, take it in, and appreciate it. I am looking for islands of sanity to share with others. I heard the Met opera is online for free, as are some broadway shows. I love Coursera courses and would take those to feed my strength of love of learning. I recommend taking the via character strength survey for free here and see how you can tap into your strengths and use them now more then ever. Someone also asked, ” what courage do you have in your lineage?” I thanked my parents for that today. They were holocaust survivors and showed me what resilience and courage look like. So for now, stay safe, healthy, stay in touch with others virtually, by phone, or what ever as much as you can.