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13 ways to refuel after a global pandemic

What can I do to energise, refuel and refocus?
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Coaches around the world are supporting people right now with this critical question: how can we refuel and recover from COVID-19? It’s safe to say that the pandemic has hit us hard – anecdotally, we’re hearing tales of people feeling tired, stressed and lacking motivation.

Studies are emerging to support the stories. Research from the Australian National University last year found three in five people were feeling anxious and worried and were experiencing increased levels of loneliness and declines in life satisfaction.

But not all pandemic-related news is bad. The Workplace Happiness Test by Work has found that people’s happiness at work has increased to a global average of 72 per cent, up from its pre-pandemic level of 64 per cent. And many of us are getting out there and giving new challenges a go. Data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) shows the number of new business name registrations soared in June last year, up 43 per cent from June 2019. It’s the same in the US, where The Wall Street Journal reported in September that new businesses were being formed at the fastest rate in more than a decade.

There’s definitely hope amidst the chaos, so if you’re keen to set yourself up for success this year, try these 13 strategies.

1. Hold on to your values
What mattered most to you before the pandemic? Those things are your guiding light through any crisis. Keep hold of your desire for integrity, wellbeing, achievement, contribution, curiosity, fun – whatever motivated and inspired you. And if you want or need to do some work on you, ensure optimism and resilience are high up on your list.

2. Make a commitment
Some people thrive with structure and sameness in their lives. Others wing it every day! If you’re closer to the latter, you may need to work harder to embed commitment to what matters most. To do this, identify five ‘must-dos’: non-negotiable commitments that you will do every day regardless of what else is happening.

3. Challenge yourself
Wherever you're on the pandemic scale between 'lockdown' and 'business as usual', pick yourself up and challenge yourself. Banish complacency, apathy, passivity, reactivity! Instead, pick a problem, deal with an issue, find a resolution, make a plan, get proactive, optimistically prepare for what comes next – and make something of every day.

4. Don’t be a dumbass (like honestly, stop it!)
Stop doing stuff that saps your energy and dulls your brain. Don’t post stuff on social media that you shouldn’t. Don’t pretend you're an expert in something that you’re not. And please don’t open a box of cereal until the other one is finished. There’s dumbass and there’s smart ass – be like a smart ass!

5. Don’t miss the opportunity
Take this time to be strategic about how you can upskill to be the best version of you in your next chapter. COVID-19 and its variants will be here for some time yet. Tap into your optimism: practise positivity, hopefulness, confidence – the world is still a great place full of great people and opportunities. Tap into your resilience – you can do this! Bounce forward and high – get going and doing!

6. Feed your heart and head
Get high on endorphins, electrify your neurons, fire up your synapses! Find ways to stimulate your brain with some great good-mood-inducing brain food. And feed your soul with whatever works for you: exercise, music, reading, some good lovin’, dancing in the rain! Nurture your sense of self by connecting and contributing – be a giver.

7. Get inspired by nature
Being in, or even just viewing nature will help you feel better emotionally. And you’ll positively impact your physical wellbeing – reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. So, surf a wave, pat a cat, gaze at the heavens, walk in a park, track an ant, or just watch some David Attenborough and a few elephants chasing lions. The world we live in is spectacular and varied and ever so interesting – and it’s our playground.

8. Create your own pandemic story
Don’t let anyone tell you what this pandemic means for you. You get to decide how you'll use this time and who and how you'll be on the other side. This is one chapter in your life’s journey – write well. (Stay safe.)

9. Bust the excuses, skip the blame game
Make a list of all the excuses you make for yourself to justify your actions and responses – and stop it! There are the limits you impose, the incorrect assumptions you make, the faulty beliefs you hold, the excuses you make, the blame you ascribe – get yourself out of your way, move past what doesn’t serve you. You will not regret working on you.

10. Embrace weirdos and weirdness
There’s intolerance of diversity, there’s recognising diversity, and there’s the true embracing of diversity. Value others in all their diversity, and value your own. Learn from and enjoy those who live, think, behave and communicate differently to you – they can play an important role in your development and your future. We need less ‘group think’, more diversity of thought – and more kindness.

11. Know who you are when life is hard
You don’t have to be perfectly positive or eternally optimistic, but you do need to be positive, optimistic and resilient as often as you can manage it. These are mindsets that permeate all that you believe, do and achieve. We all can be inspired by and practice the behaviours of resilient, optimistic people – for example, self-awareness, wellness, managing feelings, putting in effort, bouncing back (and forward), expecting challenges, reframing the negative, finding the light (and some fun) ...

12. Don’t tell people how to feel
For example, even a simple, 'You must be so worried about that …', tells someone they should be worried. Ask questions instead and listen really well – more than you talk. Give people space to vent. Connect, care and trust that people can mostly find their own best way forward if someone who has their best interests at heart believes in them and takes the time to listen to them.

13. Learn something new
All things are possible. Get off the couch. Move out of survival mode. Use the time to work on you – to create what you want. Adapt, flex, stretch! Look for learning opportunities. Look for what you can do and can achieve in these strange times. Look ahead to a changed future. Do what you haven’t done before!

– The Coach Place Global

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