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Creating Successful Leaders

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During this unprecedented time, it’s normal to feel anxious. With people losing their jobs, confined to their homes, and living in fear of an invisible foe, there are ample reasons to feel scared or depressed. You’re human, after all.

But you don’t have to let those feelings control you. I suggest giving yourself a healthy distraction or two—something to temporary alleviate the tension in your shoulders and the panicked thoughts swirling through your mind. Some distractions, of course, are harmful, but they certainly don’t have to be.

As Amy Cuddy says, don’t “fake it ‘til you make it,” fake it ‘til you feel it. If you practice stress-relieving techniques with some regularity, eventually you will genuinely feel less stressed.

Here are 16 ideas for you to try:

1. Pick up gardening

Taking care of something will help take the focus off yourself. Plus, gardening requires regular time and attention in a quiet setting—a perfect hobby for anyone looking for more serenity.

2. Journal

Buy a fancy notebook that you’ll enjoy opening, and start writing! Don’t edit as you go, just write and see what comes out. If you want to try journaling about the things you are grateful for, you could do that, but if you simply want to release your thoughts, that’s fine too. Do whatever fits YOU!

3. Meditate

If you’ve never practiced meditation before, you might start with a user-friendly app, like Headspace.

4. Pick up your instrument!

If you’re feeling really ambitious (or bored!), you might pick up a new instrument, but if you simply want a bit of a distraction and a healthy release, try dusting off your old instrument and start to play. Did you take piano lessons as a kid? Or learn the guitar at one point? You might have fun tinkering around with these instruments once more (and it’s certainly a good distraction).

5. Walk or hike

Whether in your neighborhood or on a trail, walking is good for the body and soul. Just be careful to avoid over-crowded locales.

6. Crack open an adult coloring book

This was all the rage five years ago, but who on earth had time to sit down and color back then?? Now is the time to open an adult coloring book, sharpen your color pencils, and relax as the colors flow.

7. Tour a museum…virtually!

Many museums, including the Louvre, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum are offering free virtual tours right now. Google Arts & Culture also offers several interactive displays and art info. Instead of sitting down for yet another TV marathon, try viewing some paintings or a sparkling collection of gemstones instead.

8. Watch Some Good News

John Krasinski (famous for playing Jim Halpert in the Office) now has a YouTube channel called Some Good News. In his videos, he highlights the week’s joyful news, interviews celebrities, and goes out of his way to make the day of everyday people (i.e., in one episode he hosted a virtual prom). Find his videos HERE.

9. Paint rocks

You don’t have to be terribly talented to paint rocks with all kinds of cheerful colors and place them around the neighborhood. Paint ladybugs, flowers, or just brightly colored polka dots, and place your painted rocks on neighbor’s front steps or along the sidewalk.

10. Pull out your cookbooks

If you’re like me, you probably have dozens of recipes you marked in a cookbook (or on Pinterest) that you never actually got around to making. Now’s the time! Try something new and be daring—who cares if you mess up?

A few other quick ideas:

11. Do some exercises or yoga on a mat

12. Buy some sidewalk chalk, color your sidewalk, then leave it at your front steps for others to enjoy

13. Organize your junk drawers

14. Sing! Sing on your walks, sing in the shower, just sing.

15. Listen to an audio book

16. Try your hand at quilting, sewing, or knitting

You CAN get through this. Occupy your time with a few healthy activities, and discover what a difference it can make in your life. You’ve got this.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW 50% off: MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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