The sky is falling, Chicken Little

The governor of our great state of Wisconsin has mapped out a “bounce back” plan for moving out of safer-at-home and getting things on the road back to normal. Business folks know that the ability to bounce back from adversity is important. Coping with this stress in a positive way is known as resilience.

This crisis is very scary for all, and if there ever was a feeling that the sky is falling, it’s now. The motto of “We will get through this together” is true, because we are all in it together.

So many workers have been laid off or furloughed. Many businesses are waiting for funding help and trying to understand the rules. Those who are not working are finding the change in routine and the extended time off is becoming frustrating. Cabin fever is all around.

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing business owners and managers, no matter the industry, to look at their products and services to find ways to reinvent their companies and change their approach to doing business, even if only temporarily.

Social media is helping to keep people informed about which places of business are open, which have limited entry, which have only curbside pickup, and which are totally shut down for the duration.

It’s been some time since our business community has been able to get together in person, so many have taken to having Zoom meetings with customers, suppliers, and with their own advisory or mentoring groups. Business friends with whom I’ve chatted are revisiting their company’s core mission and purpose so they can plan how to keep offering their essential business products and services. This is where resilience becomes more important than ever before. How companies are adjusting to crisis management will tell the tale of their success or failure. While some were prepared with a cushion to get them through, others are wondering if they can hold out until the new normal arrives. I fear some will throw in the towel.

Some folks are born with resilience, while others have to learn the skill. I asked a couple of my life and business coach friends for some information on building the resilience needed to work through the COVID-19 crisis and here are their suggestions:

  • Practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, guided imagery, or deep breathing. These help to counter stress by bringing a relaxation response that helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormones, etc.
  • Connect with your network via e-tools. Friends and family are very important in helping to reduce the stress and encourage the resilience needed to get through this situation.
  • Cultivate positive thinking. Instead of dwelling on “poor me,” think of creating a great new future. Focus on what’s going well. Think of at least three things for which to be grateful.
  • Laugh. Laughing decreases stress hormones and boosts the immune system. Even doctors know that laughter is the best medicine.
  • Be optimistic. Think of great positive outcomes from this and any crisis. Visualize ways to bring positivity to the situation.
  • Exercise. Many business friends are taking advantage of the better weather by walking out in nature. I’ve seen folks step aside from other walkers and runners, respecting the 6-foot rule. A nod and a friendly smile will show in your eyes, even when a mask is covering your nose and mouth.
  • Eat sensibly. While making funny jokes about how much weight we’re gaining during quarantine, we all know that overeating and eating unhealthy foods contribute to unhealthy feelings.
  • Get enough sleep. Many folks have noted they are having problems getting to sleep and staying asleep during this pandemic. Resilience doesn’t come easily to the sleep deprived. Consider a brief nap during the day if you had a sleepless night.

Practicing these resilience-boosting skills will lead to better stress control and can help get you through any crisis. While it will still seem like the sky is falling, you’ll be better able to cope, safer at home, until we return to the new normal.

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.