Hey, I get it. The last few weeks have been hard. We’re all navigating a new normal whether it be working from home, having the kids home from school, and just losing our day to day routines altogether. I know we are all going through a really tough time right now… and I wanted to say that I’m thinking of each and every one of you.
I really do believe that some of our biggest acts of bravery, of courage, come during times of crisis. We make the most of the least, the best of the worst. That is why I am excited to share some of my strategies to stay brave during hard times. I know that we can continue to keep our heads up and our feet moving forward.
1. Let go. I know that every time I get a text about a canceled hair cut, dinner reservation or even wedding, I feel a pang. But I know that focusing on what I was supposed to be doing isn’t healthy. So let go of expectations. Allow yourself to be disappointed, and then move on.
2. Be grateful. What we are all going through is hard on mental health and we can’t minimize that. Just realize if you have an income right now- you are fortunate. A lot of people don’t. If you are healthy- be grateful.
3. Move the goal post. One of the lessons in my book is to stop striving for 100% when 90% will do. Well now 90% is the new A++. Understand that you’ve set your life up to excel in one set of rules, and the rules changed. Give yourself a break.
4. Exercise. One of my favorite ways to build your bravery muscle is to build your literal muscles. The feeling of power, achievement you get from a physical challenge makes you feel like you can do anything. So build it into your schedule and keep it there.
5. Make plans. Speaking of schedule, if you’re someone like me who schedules every minute of your day, working from home is a huge transition, and so is having evenings relatively free. So what I’ve been doing is planning my free time. Even if it’s like 30 minutes of reading followed by 30 minutes to cook dinner and 30 minutes to eat dinner… block it out so your time doesn’t just disappear.
6. Do something new. So much focus right now is on how to adapt our old routines to the virtual world. But think about finding something new to do as an act of self-care. A lot of us didn’t use to have time for breakfast… so make yourself eggs every morning and enjoy that.
And for a bonus: if you have the headspace for a challenge right now, I also recommend doing something you suck at. Learn a new language, or take up running outside, and let go of the fear of not being good at it. Just enjoy it.
7. Eat well, within reason. Most of us are looking at kitchens stocked with canned soups and frozen pizzas right now. I’m carrying around a lot of stress and guilt about not eating as healthy as I usually do. But I’m trying to remind myself that I can’t be perfect right now, I can’t even be 90%, and I just have to stop judging myself.
8. Turn it off. I’m a news junky and I’m always on Twitter so it’s really hard for me not to obsess over coronavirus coverage. And I know it’s messing with my head. So what I’m going to do now is check in a few times a day to get essential information, and resist the temptation to keep the tv on in the background at all times.
9. Use Your Hands. So since you’re home, if you have the capacity for a home improvement project… try it. Hardware stores are open. This is an opportunity to get away from our screens, and it’s another one of my bravery challenges.
10. Help Someone. I am hearing so many inspiring stories – people are grocery shopping for elderly neighbors, supporting health care workers, offering food and supplies to people in need. Think about what you can do. It could be as simple as an extra-generous tip on a delivery order.
Let me know what you think! If you decide to step outside your comfort zone at home and try one of the strategies above, I would love to see your progress. Post on your social media and tag me @ReshmaSaujani and use the hashtag #BraveNotPerfect to let the world know, you got this, we got this, and we’re going to come out on the other side ready to take on new challenges fearlessly.