What a Difference a Day Makes – 5 Tips to Stay Safe and Connected

Stress is caused by uncertainty, uncontrollable situations, and sustained volatility according a stress researcher from Harvard University. The research I’ve read finds that the “big three” elements that cause stress are when “family, finances and/or health” are threatened. It appears that all of these elements are in the bulls eye right now, and it’s almost certainly going to get worse before it gets better.

Who could have imagined the lightning speed at which the world has changed in just the last few days. In many parts of the world the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 is doubling every day or two. I’m having a hard time staying focused. Occasionally fear, sadness and anger wash over me…sometimes separately and sometimes all at once.

Today I stopped and ask myself, “What can I do to be helpful?” So I looked back through Tender Lions: Building the Vital Relationship Between Father and Son and found some sound ideas that can help you reduce stress, stay connected, safe and healthy during these very trying times. Here are five helpful hint:

  1. Stability – Leaders need to demonstrate stability, whether that means parents, grandparents or corporate leaders. It’s important to be present, calm, and consistent. That requires that you take care of yourself, as well! The leader sets the tone, the culture and the atmosphere.
  2. Schedules can go a long way to help provide stability. For example: 6:00 – Wake up; 6:30 – Walk; 7:15 – Shower and breakfast; 8:00 – Devotions/Meditation; 8:30 – Reading & online catch up on Coronavirus situation (then no more news until tomorrow); Noon – Healthy lite lunch & outside time; etc. etc. Schedules set and followed take the uncertainty and uncontrollable elements and make them manageable…thus reducing stress and anxiety.
  3. Honesty – When you kids or your employees come to you with hard questions…tell them the truth. They can handle it. Vulnerability is a strength. Our vulnerability gives permission for others to share their fears and concerns, thus increasing authentic connections.
  4. Discernment – Many people, especially kids, get most of their “news” from social media or other kids. You can be sure that at least 50% of what their taking in is incorrect, because what goes viral is generally the most outrageous information which can contain exaggerations or out-right lies. We all need to remember to question the outrageous. Encourage those closest to you to bring those “hard to believe” stories to you, and you can check it out together.
  5. Lastly, watch out for isolation – stay connected. Isolation can lead to depression and despair.  We know that too much time online actually suppresses the immune system. Time Matters. Use this time, as strange as it is, to connect. Rituals with those you care about develop relationships and roots that last.

Here’s an awesome use of technology to stay connected:

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