Hey Soul Fam,
What month is it? What day is it? Seriously, the only way I can tell time anymore is by the length of my frighteningly gray roots, the intimidating size of the dust bunnies taking over my house (I don’t even like to clean in a crisis), and the growing number of wine bottles in the recycling bin. Anyone else know that feeling?
Even though I spent like 80% of my rebellious adolescence grounded in my bedroom, I still don’t feel entirely prepared for an extended quarantine. Maybe because of the gravity of the situation or the fact that we could be in this for another two months. (My wanderlust is already raging.)
Despite that, I know one thing to be true: crisis always comes to teach us something. It will be a different something for each one of us. We have a choice to lean into positivity, opportunity, and light in this moment; to use this time to strengthen our minds, bodies, and souls; and to find meaning in the madness. And, hell yes, we will still feel all the feels. We just won’t allow ourselves to get stuck in the darkness.
I’ve been half-joking, “quarantine or soulbbatical?”, but there’s mega-truth here. What if coronavirus could be the best thing that happened to us, our families, and our businesses because it forces us to reflect and reset? I am choosing to believe it’s possible. If you are too, here are five things you can start to practice at home to lay the foundation for your best life:
1. Find your (soul) signal. There’s so much noise in the world right now. It can create loads of fear and overwhelm and uncertainty in all of us. The antidote? Silence. Give yourself permission to be still — once a day for at least 15 minutes. Tune out the world and tune into that little voice inside you. Reconnect with it. It’s your signal amidst the noise. Listen to what it’s saying and let it guide you through the storm (and beyond). Stability comes from the inside out.
2. Lean into boredom. It might sound crazy, but it’s a sign that you’re slowing down. And that’s powerful. So many of us are addicted to busy-ness — and we don’t even know it. We fill our days with endless activity and distraction so we don’t have to sit with ourselves and face the reality of what we’re pretending not to know. (Yeah, that thing.) Now’s the time to practice being over doing. Use some of this downtime to audit all aspects of your life. What’s fueling your soul? What’s sucking the energy from it? What do you want more/less of? What really matters to you? What is that little voice inside you saying that scares the hell out of you? How do you want your life to look different when you emerge from this pandemic?
3. Embrace conscious growth. The truth is that we always grow through hard times. So why not be intentional about *how* you want to grow in this moment. Define what that means for you and start showing up as your authentic and awakened future self. Lean into creation over consumption. Create new daily habits. Create a new routine. Learn a new skill. Practice compassion. Learn a new language. Untangle an old limiting belief. Write that first article or start that book you’ve always dreamed of writing. Share your unique gifts with the world in a bigger way than ever before – we need them. This is your time to reset and redirect toward greater joy and fulfillment.
4. Choose mindfulness over mindlessness. Be more deliberate about your words, thoughts, and actions – especially when it comes to setting the tone for your day and choosing what you’re feeding your mind and body right now. Junk media and food are an easy “go to” in challenging times, but they’re also toxic. They stress our nervous systems and compromise our immune systems. Before mindlessly reaching for the bag of chips (again) or turning on the news (again) or scrolling through social media (again), pause and ask yourself these questions:
⁃ How will this serve my wellbeing?
⁃ What’s really going on here, e.g. am I trying to numb pain, discomfort, or fear?
⁃ What would be a more mindful approach to dealing with what I’m feeling?
The goal is to interrupt the pattern. Some of my favorite interruptions are calling a friend; taking a walk; cranking up the tunes and dancing with reckless abandon for 5 minutes; taking 5 slow, deep breaths; asking my partner or family for what I really need in that moment; or sinking into a 10-minute calming meditation. Have fun discovering what works best for you. And, PLEASE, be gentle with yourselves.
5. Plan your “rally and recovery”. Radical self-care is more important than ever. We’re playing the long game, so we need to be gentle with ourselves along the way. There’s a reason that rest and recovery is the pivotal element of training for the world’s top athletes. Why should it be any different for the rest of us? Our bodies and brains weren’t built to sit in front of screens for 8-10 hours straight (or longer). We need a break from the intensity to allow for integration, insights, and ideas. So, plan your days in intervals of “rally” (stretches of rigorous work) and “recovery” (100% downtime away from the work). The latter is where the magic and momentum happen. Building these habits now will pay dividends when the pace of the world inevitably picks back up again.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat. The more intentional we are with our choices now, the more primed we’ll be to create the life we really want on the other side. See you there. A big hug is waiting.
And, on that note, here’s how I’m fueling my soul on lockdown. Hope you find something that resonates with you!
WHO OR WHAT IS INTRIGUING ME AT THE MOMENT
I’m an Ivy League student. Words my parents never thought they’d hear, but they’re true! Seriously. As part of my “corona commitment” to deepen my knowledge and skills around wellbeing and neuroscience (for myself and my coaching practice), I’ve enrolled in The Science of Wellbeing. Yale’s most popular course is now being offered free online (through Coursera) for the first time ever. It’s taught by Professor Laurie Santos, the original course creator, and designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. I’m intrigued by it – and also remembering that I’m a sucky student; already a week behind in the curriculum. (Can’t blame Coronavirus for this one.)
If you want to learn more about Laurie Santos and the course she created, have a listen to her conversation with Jay Shetty on his podcast.
Check out Coursera for so many more incredible offerings. Maybe something matches up with how you want to go grow in this moment.
WHAT’S GOT MY ORANGE HIGHLIGHTER IN OVERDRIVE
Here’s my teetering quarantine stack. Some first-time reads and many repeats because lockdown and lessons. Taking a dose of my own medicine and using this time to reflect and reset.
For inspiration: Untamed by Glennon Doyle.
For a reality check: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.
For perspective: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann.
For leadership: Believership: The Superpower Beyond Leadership by Mike Vacanti.
For getting unstuck: A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden.
For kindness and connection: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy.
For health and humanity: Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet – One Bite At a Time by Dr. Mark Hyman.
For financial freedom: The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist.
For bedtime stories: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 by Elena Favill.
For the ultimate reflection: Soulbbatical: A Corporate Rebel’s Guide to Finding Your Best Life by Yours Truly. (Just in case you’ve been putting it off. Wink wink.)
WHO/WHAT/WHERE IS GIVING ME ROCKET FUEL
I’m also using this time to try new experiences in the spirit of relaxation, inspiration and connection. Here are my favorites so far:
Breathwork: I’ve always wanted to experience breathwork, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s intense and electrifying. I was on creative fire after a session led by my friend Tim Snell. He runs live free virtual sessions regularly so why not give it a shot. Learn more here.
Sound Bath Meditations: This is quickly becoming one of my go-to forms of relaxation. If you’ve never experienced a Sound Bath before, you’re in for a real treat. Here’s one from my friend Karianne, Founder of Lofti. Lie down, close your eyes, and gift yourself 20 minutes of bliss.
Remarkable Women TV: Danielle Macleod, a dear friend and co-founder of Remarkable Women, saw lockdown as an opportunity to create content that showcases the talents of her remarkable community – and educates and entertains anyone who wants to tune in via Facebook Live. Within days, she had weeks of programming ranging from daily meditations to art lessons to cooking demonstrations to yoga to some rebel chick who read an excerpt from her book and spoke passionately about finding meaning in the madness. You might recognize her. 😉
Virtual Jefferson Dinners: Am I the only one who had never heard of a Jefferson Dinner before now? The concept is inspired by Thomas Jefferson who used to curate diverse guests with diverse perspectives around a single dinner table to share thoughts on a single topic (which is only revealed in the moment). Each guest gets the floor to reflect on the topic/question, with no interruption whatsoever. My soul sister, Melody Miles, recently pulled together a virtual Jefferson Dinner for a group of us to share our perspectives on leadership in challenging times. It was brilliant and inspiring. I felt deeply connected to a group of women I had never met before! If, like me, you’re already thinking of the group you want to assemble, here are the rules.
PODCAST EPISODES, VIDEOS, OR WORDS OF WISDOM
FROM MY TRIBE
THIS. ALL. DAY. LONG. Ben Platt and the Dear Evan Hansen cast sing “You Will Be Found” together apart. Play it when you feel anxious, overwhelmed, afraid, alone, uncertain, angry, sad, or anything in between. It’s six minutes of pure light and joy.
And, this. (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)
I’ve also been binge-listening to Brené Brown’s new podcast Unlocking Us. It does not disappoint. She comes out guns a-blazing and so on point for these challenging times. At a bare minimum, listen to the first one about FFTs (Fucking First Times) and her latest solo episode Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball. Subscribe on your favorite platform.
I’m here for each and every one of you. Shoot me an email and let me know what lit your soul on fire, what shifted your perspective for the weeks or months ahead, or how I can support you in any way. We need each other more than ever. Let’s show the world how to live soulbbatical.
And don’t be shy. If you love what you’re reading, share it with friends, family, clients, and colleagues who need a little more Soul Fuel in their lives. I mean, in this day and age, don’t we all?
Stay safe and soul-full, my friends. Happy Whatever Month It Is!