With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic being the primary topic on the news and increasing concerns over the economic impact of government shutdowns and emergency legislation, it’s natural that business owners would have trouble maintaining a positive state of mind. However, maintaining a positive attitude can help you better support your employees and make rational, proactive decisions when handling the coming weeks and months of changes.
Facts about positive thinking
As most of us already know, a positive state of mind can help you stay level-headed when making upcoming big decisions.
Here is what science says on positive thinking:
- Increases resilience: when you experience positive emotions during times of stress, you increase your resilience and have a faster cardiovascular recovery. This means that your blood pressure stabilises more quickly and your heart rate lowers, making it easier to remain calm and positive.
- Boosts your immunity: research shows that people who maintain a positive state of mind are better equipped to manage the symptoms of illness.
- Helps you think clearly: a positive attitude improves your ability to solve problems, make decisions, use creative thinking and judge objectively. For example, maintaining a positive state of mind can help you identify the best technology platform for your team and come up with a plan to keep your business operational, regardless of what’s happening in the world around you.
Here are some ways to help you stay level-headed in the coming weeks
Focusing on positivity helps you view your situation from a constructive perspective. While the current pandemic can make this challenging, there are things you can do to stay positive:
1. Acknowledge your emotions
Allow yourself to acknowledge whatever emotions you’re feeling. Acknowledging any stress or anxiety you’re feeling can actually help you gain control of those emotions. This step can also allow you to more constructively manage any negative emotions and shift your perspective. Try taking a moment in the morning or the evening to use a meditation app like Headspace to take a moment for silence and to centre yourself. Pushing down or ignoring your emotions only ensures that they will revisit you later. Maybe even invest in a subscription option for all of your employees.
2. Prioritise the facts
In order to keep a level head, it’s important to take a rational perspective on COVID-19. Ask yourself to what degree it’s interfering with your life and your business, what precautions you can take and how you can manage any negative emotions you may be feeling. Take a moment to make a list of what you can control (what you eat for breakfast, when you set your alarm in the morning, etc.) and what you can’t (e.g. the government’s response, family member’s choices, etc.). Frequent websites you can trust, like Public Health England, for information rather than social media or unchecked sources. Prioritising the facts will ensure that you’re well informed and not taking on extra unhelpful information into account in your decision-making.
3. Start a weekly gratitude practice
Gratitude changes you and your brain. Recent evidence suggests something as simple as writing a gratitude letter weekly about what you’re thankful for in your life can have permanent, positive effects on your brain. Take five minutes to write five things you’re grateful for in your phone before you get out of bed. This could mean focusing on the health of your family, friends and employees, feeling grateful that your team can work remotely or for the assistance that the government is going to provide to small business owners if they need it. This practice can actually benefit your health, as reducing worry about things over which you have no control promotes calm, which can decrease anxiety and improve your immune system.
To help your team maintain a positive state of mind, consider implementing a gratitude practice in their day as well. This could mean asking everyone to share what they’re grateful for using your company’s communication tool online or sharing a moment of gratitude over video calls before meetings.
4. Plan video calls regularly—and not just about work
It’s important to remember that no one is going through this alone. Everyone is dealing with this pandemic as a community, country and world. Draw strength from those around you, and focus on being positive for them and for your employees.
Remember that even if you are physically isolated, you can still be connected socially and emotionally. Implementing mandatory weekly video chats or calls with your employees is a must. Begin your calls with an emotional check-in, allowing your workers to take two minutes each to talk about their emotional, non-work-related status. Encourage workers to give suggestions and allow natural opportunities to help each other by creating a dedicated channel for COVID-19 needs in your online communication tool. By simply avoiding isolation, you can make it easier for workers to maintain their schedules.
5. Establish a normal daily routine
Make your life feel as normal as possible by maintaining your usual routine as much as you can. This means getting up at your normal time and going through your usual morning routine. If you usually go to the gym first thing in the morning, perhaps try going for a walk once a day or in your garden, or getting in a workout in your own living room. Get dressed as you normally would, and start your workday at the same time. Continue to be purposeful, enjoy your free time and maintain a sense of normalcy as much as possible. These habits help you regain a sense of control and a positive outlook on your life and work.
6. Improve your physical health
Maintain a consistent exercise routine, and make sure that you’re getting outside daily for fresh air. With more time at home, commit time to making healthy meals and eating a well-balanced diet. Finally, make sleep a priority, and be intentional about getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Many creators on YouTube are offering free workout classes that require minimal to no equipment.
7. Focus on you and your employees’ accomplishments
A sense of accomplishment can help improve your overall state of mind and remind you that you have control over what’s happening in your life and your business, both of which increase feelings of positivity.
Ask yourself: is there an employee who is standing out above all others in this tough time? Set up time to speak with them and ask them how they accomplished the things they did. How do they stay positive and hard working? Share those insights with your team.
Encourage your team to lift each other up. If performance reviews are a part of your team’s culture, consider suspending them this quarter (Facebook recently announced something similar), and instead encourage employees to use this time to hand out ‘kudos’ to each other.