I recently heard someone say that 2020 feels like being stuck in a simulation that’s running every possible scenario simultaneously. No wonder we’re all exhausted!
That’s why on one of our weekly Virtual Lunches, we focused on ways to take care of yourself throughout all this madness. So in case you missed it, here are some ideas for you, broken down into three basic categories.
First is Play.
As you may have already discovered, a lot of that can take place online. Today there are all kinds of online activities available that we never knew existed before.
Basically, the idea of play is to engage your inner child.
Do something fun, whether it’s by yourself or with your family – like get moving, get exercising, get out in nature, go for walks. To be able to get out in nature to get some fresh air and some sunshine, that’s really important.
You could celebrate a new holiday. There are numerous websites listing all kinds of wild and crazy holidays for any day of the year. Just Google something like “every day is a holiday” or “daily holidays.”
You can gamify things, even your daily tasks. I have an app on my phone that gamifies my habits. One is exercise. And since I’m a big tea fan, one is drinking my tea every day. One is posting on social media and one is doing my daily devotions. So those are my four activities every day. And if I’m consistent, it tells me I’ve achieved say a 600-plus day streak. So gamify things to make it fun, even work – gamify your tasks.
Next, give yourself something to look forward to. My husband and I are planning to do some kind of virtual staycation, so I’m looking forward to that. (We haven’t had a real vacation in a very long time.) They say that just planning a getaway is like a perk for your brain. It makes you feel good. So just the aspect of planning the event improves your mood.
The next category is Chill.
I think this is a challenge for a lot of us in the trade show and events world: we don’t take time to chill because we’re going all the time. And now … we don’t really know what to do, because we don’t comprehend the whole “kick back and just chill” idea.
So here are a few key things you can do.
One idea is to just wake up and embrace the day. Now I am not a morning person. You’re not going to see me at 6:30 in the morning anywhere unless I’m forced to. But no matter what time it is, you can embrace the day with a morning routine. Now, that part of my life hasn’t changed too much because I work from home. So getting up and having my morning routine is not that different right now. So have things you do consistently, whether you want to exercise or go for a walk first thing in the morning or whatever. I heard somebody say that if you’re not commuting to the office, do a walk during that time as your daily commute. Just do something that kind of gets you in the mindset for the day.
Know what makes your heart sing, what makes you happy, what makes you light up. Figure out what that is, and and work that into your daily routine, do something that really brings you joy and make time for that.
Live in the moment as much as possible. I know we are all looking out there wondering what’s going to happen – when are we going to get back to work? But we’ve got to try to live in the moment, and there actually have been some gifts during this time. I’ve heard so many people talk about how they’ve spent more time with their kids than they have in years.
Look for the good and positive things that you can pull out, and be grateful for what you have. You can even create a gratitude journal. Several years ago, I designed my own weekly planner. On one side each week is all my tasks. But the other side includes items like three things I’m grateful for, three successes I’m celebrating, and with what rewards. So those are all things that I do to try to keep my mindset in a positive vein. Even the challenges – what were they and how did I overcome them? Or what lessons did I learn or what could I do going forward – always try to reframe that as much as possible.
Next, take some me-time. Now that could take whatever format you want. It could be giving yourself a spa day if you want to take some time out. Now for the guys listening, you’re probably not as likely to do say a facial mask, but you could do a foot massage. I have one of these little wooden roller things that you put on the floor and roll your feet on it to give yourself a foot massage.
It could be just vegging out on the couch watching movies, something that’s brain downtime. Another idea is listen to something new and positive, either some music that really puts you in a good mood or find a podcast that’s really uplifting and makes you feel calm and positive.
Another activity is to review mementos and photos. Get out a family photo album, or these days simply flip through your phone – who has a photo album, right? We talked about virtual getaways. If you’ve got pictures of trips you’ve taken in the past, pull those out and kind of remember back, even sit with your family and talk about the things that you did on that trip or the great places that you saw.
Another idea is reach out to an old friend. I know I’ve been doing that both within the industry and otherwise, connecting with friends on Facebook or sending them a quick email or whatever. You know things like that just kind of calm you and help you feel positive and mentally healthy.
And the last category is Grow.
Things in this category are what you do to improve yourself, either personally or professionally.
You could take a culinary adventure. (And you don’t even have to go anywhere to do this!) Either pick a local restaurant you haven’t ever tried and get takeout from there, or try some new foods or look on the internet. There are all kinds of recipes you can find. Alan and I have been experimenting a lot. We’re foodies, so part of it in the beginning was that we had to improvise with what we had. So we began experimenting and trying some really crazy things. Some we found we really loved like a cranberry BBQ sloppy joe made with canned cranberry sauce. Sounds a little strange maybe, but it’s really really good. So experiment, try something new.
Do something artistic. Even if you’re not artistic or you think you’re not artistic, everybody can do something, whether that be painting or drawing or writing. Do woodworking, build something – whatever your craft or artistic vein is, do a project along those lines.
Learn a new language or skill. There are no shortage of classes that you can take online. Udemy is a great place because a lot of their classes are free or really cheap. LinkedIn has some business classes, although I think you have to be a premium member to take those. There are lots of different places where you can take classes online – including the Essential Time Management Strategies for Exhibit Marketers class in the Exhibit Marketers Academy.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help as needed. If you’re struggling with something, whether that’s dealing with kid issues or parent issues, or something related to your job, especially now you have to be willing to ask for help.
Also be willing to give help as well. Is there somebody in your neighborhood you could run an errand for? Just do random acts of kindness, like maybe mowing a yard for a senior that lives in your neighborhood. Even though you’re doing it for somebody else, it’s still going to make you feel good as well. I’m helping out people as much as I can with whatever I can, so feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or maybe you’re trying to find a resource or something. I’ll be happy to share any resources I have, or point you in the right direction if I can. And be sure to join us for weekly Virtual Lunch in the Exhibit Marketers Café, where we come together to support one another. We start up again on August 11.
So remember: Take time to Play, Chill and Grow.
Because as my aunt once wrote in a letter to me, “Take care of yourself because the world needs more good people.”
Want to take your self-care to the next level? I’ve put together a 7-Day Challenge so you can take a few simple steps over the next week and get all the pieces in place to take care of yourself, no matter what challenges you face.
Simply log into the Exhibit Marketers Café Community (it’s free to join) and search for the 7-Day Challenge. You’ll find a downloadable PDF workbook to guide you on your journey. And while you’re in the Community, be sure to check out all the other tools available!
© 2020 Marlys K. Arnold (As shared in the July 2020 TradeShowTips Online. To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)
Want to reprint this article in your blog or ezine?
You may do so as long as it is reprinted exactly as written, and it includes the copyright notice plus the author bio (below).