5 Steps Toward Hope & Optimism During Pandemic Restrictions

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
5 Steps Toward Hope & Optimism During Pandemic Restrictions

It’s a bit eerie. I created this exploration for Clarity months ago, and its release is now correlating precisely with an international crisis!

We’re currently in a situation where fear and brain fog reign supreme; Society is coming apart at the seams; Anxiety, uncertainty, noisy politics and mixed messages have handed over control to the brain’s amygdala; If you’ve found yourself saying and doing unkind things without intention, you’re not alone. Our bodies are flooded with the stress hormone cortisol.

Then there’s the overwhelm of too much to do. We have more work and a sudden learning curve; We’re acclimating to working from home and handling the kids; We’re concerned about our health in a brand-new way while trying to be clever about preserving our incomes and livelihoods. To add insult to injury, our empathy dulls in times like these, hence unintended statements and actions. Since the brain is wired to focus on our own survival, it’s no surprise that we become blind to the concerns and needs of the people we’re interacting with.

Most of us never foresaw living in an emergency like the current one. To deal with all of this, I invite you to consider 5 detailed steps toward regaining your Clarity.

1). Prioritize Daily

Grab a good old fashioned pen and pad of paper, set a timer for 2 minutes, and write the answers to these three questions each morning:

What do you see as your TOP priorities? This will help you determine what is MOST important to anchor into your calendar/schedule to laser-focus your attention.

What challenges are you trying to manage? When we become accustomed to “sucking things up”, it helps to acknowledge where you’re having trouble. Plus, naming your challenge often defangs that very challenge.

What opportunities have you found? Recognizing these will keep up your hopefulness and optimism.

You’re now ready to do what’s most important, acknowledging the realities of your challenges. This serves to laser focus your energy.

2). Think in Baby steps

Start living one step at a time, one block of work at a time. Right now, your mental energy is strained and stressed. Considering the fact that as knowledge workers, we’re paid for our brain and the fact that our mental energy is easily sapped, we must be smart about how we work. Use these athletic analogies to help you manage your mental energy:

Keep your head down while running uphill. When running with my track coach a LONG time ago, the hill we were mounting was too much for me and I started to walk. Coach encouraged me to look at my feet instead of the top of the hill. Before I knew it, I was running down the other side. If you know your direction, break your action down into baby steps. Keeping your head down metaphorically will serve you well in these times.

Think in Sprints (and use a timer). Don’t expect yourself to be focused as in normal times, as your mental energy is at risk right now. The good news is that you can mentally refresh more quickly. Work in short ‘sprints’ instead of ‘plowing through’.

3). Practice Self-Care

Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself, and to monitor your energy. During crises we like to believe we have no time for ourselves. This is nonsensical. Similar to the flight attendant’s direction to put on your oxygen mask before you help others, you must take care of yourself. Make it a priority to exercise, get enough sleep, eat healthfully, and consume plenty of water.

4). Have Perspective & Gratitude

What’s truly important now is your health and connection:

-Take every opportunity to connect with others more deeply, with empathy and humility. Reflect upon and recognize what’s truly important in life— our health, safety and connection to each other. Notice also how your FOMO may have melted away during this time of redirected focus– food for thought, going forward.

-Keeping a Gratitude Journal is a powerful way to highlight this type of clarity.

5). Stay Hopeful  

The Chinese word for “Crisis” {simplified Chinese: 危机; traditional Chinese: 危機; Pinyin: wēijī (Mainland), wéijī (Taiwan)} is frequently invoked in Western motivational speaking as being composed of two Chinese characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity” respectively.

-Right now, just when our colleagues may be feeling isolated, scared and uncertain, we have an opportunity in our workplaces to authentically make them into psychologically safe places. It’s when we’re at our “lowest” that we have the best opportunity to grow stronger.

Clarity is setting in big-time, bringing to mind how seriously we take ourselves with little mind to how fragile life really is. Consider this with optimism; What opportunities do you have?

An Exciting Prospect for the Future

5 Steps Toward Hope & Optimism During Pandemic Restrictions

In working these last 5 weeks, I’ve been honored to work with Virtual Collaboration Works, who brought together an international ‘band’ of coaches to address the world’s new work-from-home paradigm, I’ve become more hopeful (and even excited) about our future!. We built and delivered a four-day online conference, which took place from March 29th through April 2nd, and are now supporting organizations as they build their virtual work dynamics across a wide spectrum. For instance, we began work with a Canadian municipality who enable the folks who run their city to feel connected and productive. My head is still spinning from that one (That’s a good thing!).

It’s a very exciting prospect that we at DRIVEN are living the ideas and protocols discussed in this article, choosing the mindset of opportunity during the COVID-19 crisis period. I invite you to appreciate, with clarity, that the most important things are health and personal connections. With this outlook, you will help yourself and others reach the other end of the crisis prepared to handle anything!

Is Coaching for you? Are you ready for it? Sign up HERE for a 15-minute Complimentary Coaching Consult to find out.


  • Deborah Goldstein

    Deborah Goldstein is a coach and consultant driven to support the health, well-being & success potential of motivated professionals. Her organization, DRIVEN Professionals works with organizations to build healthy workplace WoWs (Ways of Working) where inclusion, mindfulness and intentional productivity are embedded into their cultural DNA. http://drivenpros.com

1 Response

  1. Excellent, I really need to read this to reinforce my thought wave to get me back on tract.
    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.