Surviving Coronavirus: How Not To Panic

Sunday, March 22, 2020

James at home, smiling
Hi! I’m James.

Hello fellow entrepreneurs. If you’re like me, you’ve been through the gamut of emotions in the last ten days. I certainly have. It’s been a roller coaster of highs, lows, wins, losses, fear, positivity, laughter, and tears. We are in an unprecedented time and though hope for the economy doesn’t look so hopeful, somehow, someway, in my bones, I know we will get through this.

I’d like to share with you some of the strategies I’m putting in place to survive this challenge in hopes that it brings you some value and comfort through this time. First and foremost, is paying attention to my mental health. Everyone is saying, “Don’t Panic” and this has been a top tip. But how you don’t panic in a time where our businesses are in free fall requires some behavioral changes. I’d like to share the changes I’ve made personally in order to be more clear thinking and to literally reduce my spiking pulse rate.

I should add I’m no doctor, but like many of you, own my own business. In our blog, you can expect to see real-talk of what I’m doing to navigate and keep my business alive along with some marketing insights you can be employing to keep your business going.

5 Changes I’ve Made to Reduce Panic

1). Turn off Notifications  

As a busy entrepreneur, on the move, feeling motivated and working long hours, I always wanted to feel connected and plugged in, so my phone notifications were always on for news updates, e-mail updates, step counts, travel deals… way too much. I started noticing my anxiety levels were increasing for every “ping” of bad news about the latest update on the coronavirus. I could literally feel my blood pressure spike. Switching off my notifications was a major step in curbing anxiety.

Here is how to turn off notifications for an iPhone

Here’s how to turn off notifications for Android.

2). Reduce Media Intake

I recognize that there’s not going to be a lot of good news for a while, so, I’ve reduced my media intake from TV and even how often I’m engaging in social media. If anything, I’ve been going out of my way to find the humor and keep it positive. This video was my favorite from last night.

3. Exercise or Just Move

This is key from a scientific approach. We need to move in order to get the happy chemicals or endorphins in our brains to activate. I’m not talking about exercising to lose weight – I’m talking about exercising for the benefit of mental health.

My wife and I have been taking walks through the neighborhood as few people are getting out. Remember, we are quarantining to reduce our exposure to other people, but we can’t be shut-ins. Neighborhood walks or even sitting in the backyard and feeling the sunshine or hopping on a treadmill if you have one… this is part of a long term strategy, not just something to do. To be your best as an entrepreneur, means you have to take care of yourself. You can’t lead your organization if you’re not in the best frame of mind.

Jazzercise anyone? 


4. Get Good Sleep

This seems obvious, but getting good sleep hasn’t been that easy with so much financial worry, but it’s essential. The only way I’ve found to assure good sleep without the use of sleeping meds is exercise. Yesterday, I worked in my garden (lots of weeding) and after several hours, I was pretty pooped. I slept really well last night.

I have been self-aware of my coping skills and how well I operate on good sleep versus bad.

So, not unlike being strategic with how I grow my business, I’m now looking at exercising as part of a strategy (versus the ordinary chore that’s something I should be doing), in order for me to be functioning at my best levels.

These activities are now part of my job.

5). Quiet Time

I want to share that my usual routine is like many of your own. Get up. Coffee. GO! My mentality has always been to get up and go hard as I’ve been pre-programmed to know that there is not going to be enough time in the day for me to accomplish everything I want to.

This week, I’ve incorporated a quiet time. I’ve been going into our spare bedroom, praying quietly and also meditating with good breathing exercises. I’m not usually one to meditate, but some five minute guided meditations on YouTube have done me a world of good.

I begin the day better balanced, calm and prepared to face the myriad of challenges this past week has brought. There are more challenges ahead.

While many of our businesses have been reduced to minimum work or even entirely closed, there is still work to be done., but we have to be in a healthy state of mind to negotiate this time and that means making some changes in our routines as a business strategy in order to be our best selves.

Sitting at home and doing nothing is not the answer. There’s plenty to do!

In my next blog, I’ll offer tips on what you can be doing to help your business while working from home.

Melissa Harper headshot


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