Last week was exhausting.
Mentally, weeding through the volume of information, misinformation, charts, interviews, and opinions while trying to comprehend the full situation we are experiencing. This came with worry for family and friends and the stress of preparing to do our best to stay healthy.
Physically, ensuring that we had the groceries and necessities to keep our family fed, cleaning the house, and organizing supplies for the next several weeks of distance learning for my daughter knowing that we are being advised to minimize contact with the outside world for the weeks to come. In fact, as I’m writing this, the state of New Jersey has announced a curfew over coronavirus.
Luckily, our team is equipped to work remotely, and I have a designated home office. However, I can imagine for others who work in an office every day, the mental and physical stress that also comes along with testing remote technology, bringing equipment home, setting up a workspace, etc., is likely taking its toll.
We all have some version of this story.
As we wake up this week living our new normal, each one of us is likely dealing with changes and challenges that are causing us stress during this time. We are human. We all react to changes and challenges differently, but we are all in this together. And together we can support each other to get through.
We’ve compiled a list of tips and suggestions from our team and members throughout the legal community that we hope inspire you to commit to maintaining positivity and mental health during this time.
- Show Gratitude: Start each day by writing a list of the things for which you are grateful.
- Be Kind: “Do charitable work or an act of kindness for others, whether it be delivering groceries to those who are homebound, writing letters to the elderly in retirement communities who cannot receive visitors at this time, or just being an ear and a voice of positivity for somebody.” -Karen Preston-Loeb, Furia Rubel
- Listen: Play your favorite music in the background while you are working.
- Have Fun: “Make team meetings fun. Host a crazy hat meeting or take five minutes at the start of a meeting to allow a team member to introduce their kid, their pet or show the team something interesting that’s in their house.” – Jasmine Trillos-Decarie, Legal Marketing and Business Development Expert
- Tour: Take a virtual tour of any of these 12 famous museums. Visit Travel and Leisure for more information.
- Be Creative: “I’ve turned on music after hearing the first hour of news, instead of listening to public radio all day as I usually do so I can get away from it for a bit. I’m also an artist and doing some artwork is extremely healing and helps me clear the noise from my head. Anything creative is good, be it cooking, crafts, baking, gardening. I find all of it very helpful.” – Rose Strong, Furia Rubel
- Look: Set your computer’s background image to one that makes you happy, such as a photo from your favorite trip.
- Read: “More than ever, I think that making time to read is so important – for me, a great story serves as an escape from reality, even in the best of times; especially now, taking a break from the anxiety-inducing news cycle we find ourselves in, by diving into a great book can be incredibly therapeutic. Let yourself get lost in a narrative for an hour, and you may come back from that journey with fresh energy.” – Jenna Schiappacasse, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP
- Color: “Print free coloring book pages, like those available from illustrator Lee Harper, to color with your kids or check out Justcolor.net for hundreds of free coloring pages that will challenge your adult senses and temporarily take your mind off of things.” – Gina Rubel, Furia Rubel
- Keep Moving: Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of anxiety and stress. Download a fitness app on your phone, tables or smart TV and keep moving. Charity Miles, a free app, donates money to the organization of your choice when you use the app to log miles running, walking, or bicycling. For in home workouts, Peloton is offering a 90-day free trial of its fitness app that includes yoga, meditation, strength training and more.
- Routine & Clean: “Things we are doing to stay positive are keeping a regular routine, getting outdoors at least 60 minutes a day (for us this means playing in the back yard but could be anything from walking to biking). We also started spring cleaning with the focus of what good can we do in the world. I am looking forward to finding clothes and other items to donate. People still need clothes, food and basic necessities – now more than ever if they are struggling to keep afloat.” -Danielle Gower Adamski, Furia Rubel
- Be Positive: Share positivity with others by sending a positive quote or message to a friend or colleague.
- Learn: “Use this time to learn something new. Stay busy. Build a new skill. Explore something new. Here is a list of 450 Ivy League courses you can take online right now for free.” Sarah Larson, Furia Rubel
- Explore: Here are 30 virtual field trips you can take with your kids.
- Meditate: “Take a couple of short breaks during your day to do a simple meditation or some mindfulness. Headspace has a 10-day free trial and is a fabulous 10 minute online/mobile guided meditation for different areas of interest. Good for a short work break. And, remember when your feet are on the floor or your back is against the chair – you are always supported.” -Leslie Wolfson, Association of Corporate Counsel New Jersey
- Stretch: Practice a stretching routine at your desk. Visit WebMD for simple stretches you can do at your desk to relieve back pain and boost energy.
- Cultivate Resilience: Learn how we cope personally and collectively, especially in the midst of this health crisis, from Renee Branson’s blog.
- Manage: “Learn about how to manage anxiety and isolation during quarantine by visiting the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s COVID-19 Lockdown Guide.” -Caitlan McCafferty, Furia Rubel
- Get Ready: Start your workday by getting ready in the morning like you are going into the office to help you mentally prepare for your workday.
- Take Note: “A tip I share with team members who will be home with kids old enough to write – keep a notebook handy. I’m on the phone a lot and it may be a while before my daughter can ask me a question. It’s hard for them to wait, especially if the ask is for a snack! Instead, she’ll write down her question in the notebook and I can quickly glance and respond. That way she doesn’t feel ignored, but she’s also not disturbing my work.” -Stefanie Knapp, Allen Matkins
- Deliver: Schedule grocery delivery or meal delivery service.
- Listen, Read, Exercise & Plant: “As a multi-tasker and someone who gets stir crazy quite easily, it’s hard for me to provide just one tip. What I’ve been doing is listening to podcasts that inspire me and audiobooks that distract me; reading books where there are messages I need reinforced (like The Four Agreements) and others that have been sitting on the nightstand for a while; getting on the Peloton bike (sometimes forcing myself) and taking extra flights of stairs doing chores; and planting seeds in window boxes so by the time late spring arrives, they can be planted outside.” – Gina Rubel, Furia Rubel
- Create Space: Create a positive workspace by working in an area with natural light. Print and hang artwork and favorite sayings and move any houseplants to your workspace temporarily.
- Stay Above the Fray: “Don’t get in arguments with know-it-alls. None of us know how this story ends. Be calm, be gracious, walk away from trolls. From a work perspective, be sensitive to the burdens everyone is carrying. We need to stay the course on projects that will need our attention when this crisis has passed, while communicating information that our colleagues and clients actually need in this moment. We don’t need to be the source of ALL information on this crisis. There are a lot of other people who are doing that better than we are. Share information that is relevant and appropriate.” -Roy Sexton, Clark Hill
- Breathe: Set a reminder on your calendar to stop, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Check out the book, Breathe, by Tania Trozzo, available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.
- Focus: “One focus at a time. Often times we are asked to multi-task and juggle so many things that come into our inboxes like a revolving door at the Department store that it actually decreases productivity and can leave many to feel like they haven’t accomplished much. We use Tasks to organize our projects and I support fully pouring into each initiative without distraction from another whenever possible.” -Gia Altreche, Newmeyer Dillion
- Host Tele-coffees: “Plan virtual coffee dates with friends or colleagues over FaceTime or video conference. A 15-minute chat over a cup of coffee with a good friend or co-worker could be the break you need to destress and recharge.” – Jennifer Simpson Carr, Furia Rubel
- Rest: Get the right amount of quality sleep. Visit the CDC’s chart to learn more about the recommended quantity.
Thank you to all our contributors. The more perspectives we share, the more people we can positively impact. Let us know what you’re doing to destress or make life easier during this new normal by emailing any member of the Furia Rubel team.