Finding Solace Through Strategy

by Janine
Having a plan can help calm my angst and bring a sense of control even if the future is completely uncertain.” ~Janine Rudder
As the country loosens quarantine restrictions I’m becoming increasingly uneasy.  It’s too soon and I’m afraid.  I feel like people are uninformed and impatient. And that’s fine if their actions only impacted themselves, but we know that we are totally interdependent right now.  My neighbor’s actions impact me.  My behavior could affect you even if you’re in another city, and most terrifying of all is the decision-making power of politicians and the motivations behind them.
​The bottom line is I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. My mind has been in a constant loop of nightmare future scenarios.  I’m deeply concerned that this nagging worry will become our new normal.

Although I’ve at times allowed myself to be carried away with the hysteria of the outside world, I know that this is not how I want to feel each day.  I also know that I can choose and act on my decision to feel differently. I’ve begun exploring how to shift my emotional state from passive and helpless to composed and hopeful and discovered that having a plan can help calm my angst and bring a sense of control even if the future is completely uncertain.

Here’s how I plan to approach life, and keep peace of mind, as the country takes steps to return to pre-covid life.

Health: I have to leave the house sometimes, that’s just a fact, so I can’t completely control my external environment. Of course I’m wearing a face covering and keeping a safe social distance, but sometimes things happen that are outside of my control.  I’ve decided to lean into a focus on my internal health, which I have a bit more ability to regulate.

  • Diet: As much as possible, I try to eat organic whole foods at every meal. I also load up on fruits, vegetables and nuts, while limiting bread, rice, sugar, and alcohol.
  • Exercise: I’ve developed a new “quarantine routine” which includes a brisk 45 minute walk every day, usually in the morning.  I also do a 30 minute afternoon workout consisting of both cardio and resistance training.
  • Vitamins: I’ve stocked my cupboard with vitamin D, folic acid, Vitamin C and other immune boosters.
  • Mood Boost: I usually listen to an empowering podcast everyday, do a meditation, pray, and connect with friends and family regularly.

Finances: The economic impact of Covid has devastated people’s lives all around the world. Reading about how various countries are supporting the people suffering most is both heartening and infuriating.  Even though I’m incredibly grateful to be able to work from home and my finances have not changed drastically in the past few months, I’m exasperated at how this country is navigating this economic disaster and it can be a source of stress.   To alleviate that, I’ve been leaning into what I can do to feel more secure and in control of my finances.

  • Emergency Fund: I’ve stepped up contributions to my emergency fund to reach a new goal – 1 year of household expenses in cash. Although I only have about 6 months of expenses currently saved, creating this cushion helps me to feel powerful, like I have options.
  • Don’t Check My Retirement Fund:  I used to have a system where I checked my 401K monthly and made adjustments based on that data. Since the stock market dipped significantly, I ‘ve made a commitment to myself to not make any rash decisions and stay the course with my investment strategy.  Not checking my 401K for the next 6 months is helping me to not react based on fear and make a decision I may regret later.
  • Create new Income Streams: Using my creativity, interests and skills to identify opportunities to serve other people and increase my income has been one of the gifts of this moment. I’m currently in the identification stage, but the ball is definitely rolling!
Joy:  Prioritizing fun and gratification is always top of mind for me, but now that we are all going through an existential crisis, it feels more important.

  • Walks in nature: This is my favorite part of my new quarantine routine.  I get outside early and take a long walk through a beautiful park near my home.  It helps me stay in a place of gratitude.
  • Imagine Future Trips and Events: This helps me to remain hopeful, which is critical during times like these.  I’m still contributing to my travel fund and looking forward to exploring new parts of the world, once we are past this.
  • Treat People with Kindness:  I realize how fortunate I am to be able to shelter in place in a comfortable space with people I love and get along well with. However, since we are now spending all day every day together, the energy can easily become tense and negative. Just being kind and making positive assumptions about the people I love has elevated this experience and my joy levels.

Janine Rudder is a coach and co-owner at Manifestara:

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