Meditation, Mental Stability, Prioritizing Life, Positivity, Wholistic Living

5 Ways to Cope with working from home during COVID19

I dont know about you but the last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride for me! The world has changed and will most likely never return back to the normal that we knew  prior to December 2019. With all of these new changes underway, it is important that we learn to adapt to those changes, flow with the tide so that we are not swept under by the current. The way we have now been forced to live, move around and communicate has tested even the very fabric and theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

5132e9c7b77ba8baa54dd9e7f68cc696

In my own personal experience of being in lockdown since March 16th 2020, I have had to process how this new norm has impacted me emotionally and physically.  When the national address by our local authority (Bahamas) was issued on Sunday March 15th announcing that all schools would be closed until further notice, I immediately began taking the necessary steps for the way forward.  I knew that given the present circumstances, it was only a matter of time before the domino effect would begin.  If the children were now out of school then the parents of those children would obviously be working from home next.

Work laptops had been distributed and a Business Continuity Plan set in place at least two weeks prior to the national announcement. None of us were truly mentally prepared for what is now the second month of a 24hour curfew with complete lockdown on weekends.

Back in the day, this would have been my ideal arrangement! Being able to home school my son while working from home would have been a dream come true for me.  They say be careful what you pray for, you just might get it. Well, its now 6 weeks in and I am just now settling into this new temporary set up of being a working professional wife and mother operating from home.

The first two weeks were a major challenge to say the least. And there were a few days of total melt down and temper tantrums…not from my son, but me!

You see, I work in a very fast paced, high intensity environment where my primary function is not only time sensitive but carries a very high degree of risk. Where I would normally be sitting in the front of two large computer monitors which assists me in my daily routine of working between multiple applications; I was now confined to a small laptop doing the exact same work, volume and all.  My husband, who is classified as an essential worker, has continued as normal, going out each morning and working a full day. So imagine the chaos in the first few days! Now I had to manage an over active demanding three year old boy at home alone while trying to meet the demands of this new virtual office set up. Oh did I mention that I was only 2 months into this new position before COVID 19 lockdown started?! Not to mention that my every move was being closely monitored.  Lets just say anxieties were high and so was the pressure to deliver on everything I had sold myself to be…

Between the noisy toddler who refused stay in his section of the house and me trying to adjust to my new work environment outside of the new position, my stress level had hit an entirely new high!

In the first week I attempted to keep the usual morning routine. I woke my son up as I would normally do for school, getting him and myself dressed (bath and lounge clothes).  I would prepare breakfast, set it up in the t.v. room and put on his favorite educational program and then anxiously proceed to my work station which I had set up on my family’s dining room table.

After the first week I realized that  I was working longer hours in my attempt to meet unrealistic deadlines given the circumstances, closing down my laptop sometimes way past the 5pm cut off.

By the end of week two I was feeling extremely drained and depleted mentally and physically.  I was not enjoying this work from home experience at all and at some points I felt very far removed from enjoying the opportunities that had really been afforded to me.  I needed to recalibrate my mind.  I could not do anything about what was happening but I needed to change how I viewed the entire situation and focus on what I could change.  The serenity prayer needed to be invoked.

I needed to stay calm. I needed to reevaluate my responses and reactions in all situations before I allowed my thoughts to be released from my mind.  It took a few weeks but I am finally getting into the groove of truly being at peace with everything.

I am finally seeing the privileges that the present circumstances have afforded us rather than the pains.  I enjoy the privilege of sleeping an hour later and being able to walk the short distance from the bedroom to my work station at the dining room table in my PJs.  There is no morning commute traffic and no pressure to look my best during the daily virtual team meetings.

I enjoy opening up the front door and sliding door located right off the dining room to let in the morning breeze, inviting the sunbeams to shine through as I make my morning coffee at my leisure. I now allow my son to sleep longer.  He wakes up at whatever time nature allows, and this affords me a smoother morning flow; a time to mentally and spiritually prepare for the long day ahead.

When MJ (my son) wakes up I do not restrict his play time or the time that he takes to complete his school assignments. I don’t pressure him or get upset when I see him losing focus.  He’s three and if he retains anything right now, it will most likely be the memory of how he felt during his time spent at home with mommy. My only request from him is that he allows me to work undisturbed in my work area while he plays in his.  “Only interrupt mommy if you need to eat, use the bathroom or change the channel.” He is catching on and this new arrangement has proven successful over the last 3 weeks…Thank God! 🙂

img-20200503-wa0011

 

I don’t know for sure how long this new lifestyle is expected to last, but I have determined to make the best of it.  I plan to take in every moment and see it as an opportunity to grow, reflect and retreat. Once its gone and we return back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I dont want to have any regrets about how I spent this time.

img-20200503-wa0006-1

Here are a few tips that I applied to my current lifestyle change that I feel would be helpful to my readers:

  1. Take Mental Breaks:  You cannot pour from an empty cup. It is imperative that you find the time to focus on your self care.  Your physical body needs rest in order to operate at its optimum level.  You need to know when you have reached your limit-take a break from the work.  This was one thing that I was failing to do during my daily routine and that is why by the end of the work day I was feeling so drained.  You might not be able to take a full lunch hour break, but find at least 15-20 minutes within the work day to move away from your workstation and do what relaxes you.  For me its simply moving into the t.v. room, kicking back in the recliner while I enjoy my lunch then closing my eyes for a few minutes before returning to work.  Sounds simple but I found that it has made a world of difference to simply get away from the virtual office for an hour or so.  At the end of the work week I literally break my workstation down and put it away in a room where I don’t have to see it.  Literally, out of sight, out of mind! And I enjoy my weekend in the company of my family, doing the things that we love together.
  2. Be Creative:  Being restricted to your home does not restrict your ability to create. What would you normally do for recreation, fulfillment or selfcare?   Perhaps its a service that you pay for others to provide to you.  Maybe its a place that you retreat to at the end of a busy week.  Why not try recreating those same experiences from the comfort of your home! I am a girly girl, so I love being pampered.  Getting massages, hair and nails done professionally at least once per month is that selfcare gift to myself. So in my attempt to feel some level of normalcy during the lockdown, all things considered, I purchased a nail gel manicure system on Amazon, which cost me under a $100.00. I unashamedly admit that I had the most exciting and exhilarating feeling when it arrived, two weeks ago! Just to see the colors and quality of the product was enough for me to connect with my past spa experiences (my happy place).  I was eager to test my own skills out and even though the first time around I didn’t quite meet the standards of my regular nail tech, it still gave me a sense of accomplishment and recreation. I have friends that like to dine out on the weekends-trying new restaurants and their favorite dishes takes them to their happy place.  So since they couldn’t get to their favorite spots they instead spend their evenings and weekends recreating different recipes at home. If the things you like to do requires hand skills then your creative juices should thrive in this current environment.  I found that Pinterest is a very useful tool to help harness your creativity. The only limitation is your state of mind.
  3. Find Inspiration: It is important to tune into the positive especially during this time of bad news constantly bombarding the media; which can play a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing and balance.  Sometimes you have to intentionally disconnect from social media and find inspiration for your soul. It might be a book, an album, a song, a YouTube channel but it is vitally important to recharge mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Some days, the stress level is higher than others.  On those days, I am intentional about replenishing my spiritual energy.  I draw a hot bath, pour in my bath salts and bubbles, set up my personal laptop (away from the water!), find a topic that is fitting to my spiritual needs at the time and I tune in.  Feel free to add in your favorite cup/glass of beverage, maybe some scented candles for that added effect.  Whatever your preference, it is important to note here that your spirit is more vulnerable than you think and you must choose a reputable source to draw from. Just as you would not eat physical food from anywhere for fear of falling sick physically, so is the same for your spirituality. Be careful what you allow into your hearing. Shut down anything that makes you feel depressed, condemned or sad. Choose wisely, listen, meditate, relax- create your own sanctuary of peace and serenity amidst the chaos.
  4. Stay Connected: In a world of new technology, physical distancing doesn’t mean that you have to disconnect from family and friends.  Now more than ever, it is important to remain technologically connected with the people that you love and are unable to physically connect with.  Use platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype and Zoom to check in with your family and friends regularly, specifically those living alone.  I would imagine that this lockdown might be weighing more heavily on those persons emotionally.  When you speak to your family and friends, make sure to keep the communication light hearted though.  No COVID 19 topics of gloom and doom, you hear enough of that already…Find out how your loved ones are doing when you connect?  Truly listen to them, not with the intent to respond but to understand how they are really doing. Let them know how important they are to you. Talk about regular life happenings, events and future plans.  Keep hope and faith at the forefront of your conversations, always.
  5. Plan Ahead: I think it is safe to conclude that out of the human needs according to Maslow, the need for safety/security seems to be heading the chart right now.  With the level of uncertainty around us and the ever changing tides globally, no one is exempt from the possibilities of the trickling effects at the end of COVID 19.  The only saving grace that we have is to be as prudent as possible when it comes to our plans where it involves spending.  Now that I am working from home, I have found that I have been able to save more because I don’t have to worry about filling up my car tank with gas for the commute to work.  At least 3-4 days out of the work week when I was in office I would carry my packed lunch from home, treating myself to Starbucks or a nice lunch some Thursdays and Fridays, whereas now I make all of my breakfast and lunch meals at home.  The same is true where our son is concerned.  We would have normally been paying school fees on a weekly basis which included breakfast and lunch.  We were able to save a few hundred dollars for the month of April since our son has been homeschooling, purchasing most of his favorite foods wholesale/ bulk which has saved us a good chunk of change as well.  In fact, I have found that our largest bill at the end of the month is not the mortgage or utility bills, its food.  So what we have now committed to doing is purchasing none perishable food items and household necessities such as toiletries and cleaning products wholesale as appose to retail purchasing.  This small lifestyle change has already saved us at least $1,000.00 in just a few short weeks.  Also, my husband and I have already concluded that our travel plans for 2020 are cancelled. Although I had such high anticipation for our summer family vacation abroad, I chose to see the brighter side of things with the monkey wrench being thrown in our plans.  The money that we were allocating towards travel expenses and recreation we can now add back to our savings.  All monies will be applied to contingency planning and other much needed family goals to be accomplished should everything go well once the dust has settled.  And, instead of airline tickets, hotel accommodations and rental car expenses we can do a staycation,  planning entertainment activities around local sites which we anticipate to begin opening back up by summer at the very least. That’s a whole lot of savings if you ask me…and who would complain about that?

I know this post was long but as usual I had to take you through my journey so that you can see how my methods have been tried, tested and proven before providing any kind of advice or suggestions to my readers.

I do hope that this post has been not only an inspiration to you but also a guide to a healthier, happier lifestyle change…

Be safe, stay healthy and continue to do your part to help heal the world.

img-20200503-wa0008-1

Blessings and Love.

 

Prioritizing Life, Positivity, Wholistic Living, Self Evaluation, Life Lessons, Self Improvement

The Power of A Positive Attitude

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure” Henry Kissinger

Howdy do friends! Its been some time since I have posted to this blog page! I feel horrible for having neglected the few faithful followers for so long.  Anyway, I’m here now and hope that all is forgiven, so let’s move forward. I celebrated my 36th birthday this past week and thought it a fitting opportunity to bring you guys up to speed with what’s been going on with me these past few months. Life has been extremely busy! Between early morning traffic, day care drop offs, pick ups, working overtime, house chores, and all of the other responsibilities of adulting and motherhood it became difficult to post substantial material on a consistent basis. BUT that is no excuse! I made a commitment to share my journey, how ever far and few between in an attempt to inspire or encourage anyone willing to read.

…So anyway, I’ll jump straight into what I wanted to share today.

I have been meditating for weeks on the power of maintaining a positive attitude in my daily life. And how applying some of the principles that I am about to share with you has impacted the outcome of my decision making, which has added to my over all growth and development this past year.
In my last two posts I shared about my journey of being laid off and how I was able to cope through that season of self evaluation through positive meditation, self affirmation and prayer. Well in late January after being home for over nine months with no foreseeable way forward concerning my career, I received a call from my husband who in turn had gotten a call from one of his friends who worked for a local financial institution.  The company was seeking someone to complete a temporary project that their Human Resources Department was undergoing. Now, going from a well paying job with ample flexibility and amazing benefits to becoming a contractual worker, making half the salary, no benefits, and more work which involved a large degree of manual labor was not exactly what I had in mind for my next move. However, all things considered, I had to put everything in my life in the right perspective in order to move forward or remain in the same immobile place that I was currently in.  Although, for the most part, all of my basic needs were being met, the reality remained, with a very young growing family, my husband and I were not yet in a position for me to comfortably take on the role of stay-at-home wife and mother.

Here are some of the principles that I applied in my move from stay at home back to the regular hustle and bustle of an everyday working woman.
(1) Put things in the right perspective: It is important to keep the main thing, the main thing when making decisions that ultimately affect the direction of your life. It is always a matter of perspective, your point of view or thought pattern controls the trajectory of your life. When I was offered the temporary contract to assist the company’s HR Department on their uniform project, I gladly accepted. The way I saw it, taking the job was better than sitting at home doing nothing. It was a step in the right direction, no matter how small that step appeared to be at the time. Best case scenario, I would do so well that it would lead to a full time position in the company with an increase in salary and worthwhile benefits. Worse case, at the end of the 3 month contract I would have gained some experience to add to my resume and at the very least saved up some pocket money to get some much needed things done on my to do list. I had to think beyond the scope of my own ambitious desires for the next glamourous well paying job or new aspiring entrepreneurial venture. Above anything else, I had a commitment as a wife/help mate and a mother/provider first.

(2) Perform with a Spirit of Excellence: Anything that you do, it is vitally important to do it to the best of your ability.  After all, your work no matter how big or small is your trademark.  My superiors in HR were impressed with my work ethics and the positive approach that I took each day while carrying out my duties. The task ahead of me was no small undertaking. With a deadline to meet and attention to detail being critical, there was little to no room for error. The project involved me unpacking cases of the company’s new uniform order, systematically sorting through the hundreds of pieces to ensure that the orders were correct, re-boxing, labeling and then distributing them to the company’s 400 plus employees at the various local branch locations as well as ensuring shipment went out to the out island locations. It wasn’t a glamourous job but someone had to do it and I just happened to be that designated someone. And if I was going to do it, I needed to see it as more than what it appeared to be in order for it to be done properly. My reputation was at stake, I didn’t know who was watching and taking notes. My thinking everyday was that this small opportunity could potentially open bigger doors for me. So putting pride and high heeled pumps aside, I picked out my comfortable flats and jumped into full gear!

My greatest inspiration during that season was my husband, Michael’s journey. He had gone from self made boss/entrepreneur of a successful medium sized business back to a full time nine to five job following the closure of his ten year old mobile and electronics store back in 2013.  I pulled on the strength of his faith in God and his positive outlook towards the entire situation. Fortunately, he was able to go back to the company for which he worked ten years prior before moving into his own business. After one meeting with the company’s Managing Director, without reservation, they gave him a job. That in a nutshell spoke volumes, not only to his commitment to provide security for his family (above his need to protect his image or save face) but also to the level of confidence that the company must have had in the quality of his work to hire him back on the spot.

Every morning, I tapped into Michael’s voice that said “work as unto the Lord”.  It is a principal that we had been taught by our spiritual fathers. It doesn’t matter what the conditions are around us, we have a commitment to God and our faith to reflect the standards of the Kingdom in whatever we set our hands to do. Not one day since Michael went back to work did he come home depressed or sad because of some of the tasks that he had been assigned, regardless of whether he felt that they were beneath his abilities. Why? Because he understood the concept of seasons and the principles of going through the process. Also, he has always been confident in the fact that God would honor his faithfulness to perform each task in a spirit of excellence.  And on that admirable note, I took a page from his book.

(3) Think Seasonal: As I mentioned earlier, the project involved a large degree of manual labor but I could not base my decision on what was presently being offered. I had to shift into tunnel vision, putting things into the right perspective that taking on this project was just the beginning of a process that would lead to something more meaningful and rewarding for me and my family. Well, long story short, at the end of the three months, I had successfully completed the project in record time and was offered an extension to work on a project that was well underway in another department within the same company. That project held a lot more weight in terms of the level of “importance” of the task that I had been assigned in the grand scheme of things to the company. It required me to now go from working solo to now working along with a team to complete a client based regional initiative. Somehow, the skills that were required was exactly what I had acquired during my tenure in the full time job I had been released from just the year before.

This was a perfect opportunity to make my mark and prove my worth, and I think I did.  It was a lot of work, a lot more challenging in nature than the last one. Some days, my colleague and I did not even have time to break for lunch, sometimes working hours past closing time to meet weekly deadlines, knowing full well that we weren’t going to be compensated for the extra hours because it was not apart of the temporary contract agreement.  We could not look at it from that perspective though or we would lose focus of the end goal or risk compromising the quality of our work. The work needed to be done and there were people relying on us to do whatever it took to get it done in a timely and efficient manner.

So each day I approached my task with a renewed mind, remaining focused on the end goal, not just on a corporate level but for me it was personal. Now, looking back I wouldn’t trade one good or bad day of that part of my journey, because the value I got from that three month experience far outweighs the fifteen years of career training I received in my area of discipline.  It was like a three month boot camp course, only I was being paid for it. LOL! It was worth it…

Can you see the whole process unfolding so far? Keep reading…it gets better.

(4) Kick the Victim’s Mentality: Going into any environment, whether work or otherwise, the worse thing you can do is go in with a defeatist mentality.  Having that kind of thinking will also translate into how you view yourself through someone else’ lens and how you interpret everything, including other people’s response toward you. When working as part of a team, where there is a vast diversity of personalities and histories, conflict is inevitable.  However, this opportunity from day one allowed me to overcome those hurdles for which I once tripped over.  This is the part where I had to consciously work all the more to ensure given my last experience that I wasn’t being hyper sensitive at any given time.  Accepting, dissecting, analyzing and interpreting constructive criticism, as well as delegated instructions no matter the form in which it was given was under my control how I chose to respond to it.   I made a very deliberate attempt to take personal responsibility each day for my reaction towards the actions of others.  I had to level up in this area in a major way in order for me to maintain tunnel vision.  Putting my personal feelings on the side to perform at the optimum level was paramount. There were days when I felt like responding to situations based on my emotions but I knew that if I did, the outcome would have been unfavorable.

Each morning, prayer and self affirmations helped me to stay grounded and focused, taking all  things into perspective rather than interpreting things done or said by others in a negative light.  I was there to perform a duty and in return receive compensation; any other additive was simply a by-product of the experience. I was determined not to take it on. Therefore,  I took a very wholistic approach in every situation, whether I was interacting with a colleague or a disgruntled customer. I read a quote a few days ago “An unhealed person can find offense in pretty much anything someone does.  A healed person understands that the actions of others has absolutely nothing to do with them. Each day you get to decide which one you will be.”  That is the mindset that will help you get through difficult days not just in the work place but generally in life.

(5) Adopt a Heart of Gratitude: This point right here should be penned by Michael really! He has mastered the art of rising every morning from the day we said “I do” with this attitude. After 2013, just months after our nuptials the decision was made to officially close the store. I was devastated! After packing the last box, I sat in the empty store and broke down in tears. One would’ve thought that I was there from inception, but I was more concerned for our future. I also felt sad for him. I knew that he was an awesome, prudent responsible business man. So why was this happening to him? Why was this happening to us…now? BUT he maintained his composure through it all! If he did cry, I never saw him do it. Rather, he consoled me…imagine that? LOL! Explaining again, the principles of seasons.  We had entered a new season.  It was a new beginning for us, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy but nothing worth building ever is right?

Anyway, back to the present…After being unemployed for nearly a year, getting a phone call at all was like a flicker of light at the end of a very long and winding tunnel.  So to say that I was grateful for the opportunity was an understatement.  Although the salary and job description did not match my ideal job, being able to independently make some cash was a relief. I had to maintain this same mindset that Michael did nearly six years ago when he had lost far more than I did. So on days when I felt completely exhausted after working long hours, barely able to get out of bed to get dressed for work, I had to recall the same mental state that I was in when I accepted the position. I was thankful to God for providing a way for me, it was like Abraham’s ram in the thicket.

(6) Stay Humble:  So fast forward to now…right at the brink of my last few days of the 2nd contract I received a call from another institution.  I had applied for a position nearly a year ago with them. They had called me in for an interview in late 2018, followed by a 2nd phone interview  but after further consideration decided to fill the intended role internally instead. Needless to say I was disappointed at the time, because it would have been a perfect fit for what I had in mind.

Now more than six months later, the interviewer calls me back to ask if I would be ok with her releasing my CV to an independent consultancy company looking for a candidate to fill a role for which she felt I would be suitable for…My response “most definitely!”

I started with that company two weeks ago and get this, the required knowledge for the position is exactly what I had acquired during my 2nd contracted project at the financial institution.

What if I had failed to go through the process? What if I had said “No” to the initial job offer to pack uniform boxes because I felt that it was beneath my abilities? I think the lesson in all of this is very clear.  Maintaining a positive attitude and remaining humble through every high and low is a powerful method for success. I left that company on a very good note I might add, especially since my contract was due for an extension had I not opted to take this job.  My direct supervisor provided very good feedback on my work ethics at the end and even promised to put a personal recommendation into HR to rehire me should a suitable full time position become available in the future.

Its true what they say, “your attitude determines your altitude”…nothing could be more true!

Tried and proven…

 

Self Evaluation, Life Lessons, Self Improvement

20 Life Lessons of 2018

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same.  Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” Don Williams Jr.

2018 is not over yet but the last 11 months went by really fast and it was quite the ride!!! It seems like just yesterday I posted “The Will to Rise”! Well, since that last post back in September, I am excited and happy to announce that the “I Will Rise” Single is now available for download on all major online music stores i.e. Amazon Music, iTunes, Apple, Google Play, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal.  The music video can be accessed via the YouTube link below:

 

I pray that it is as much of a blessing to you as it has been to those of us that had the awesome privilege of releasing it to the world.  If you haven’t already read “The Will To Rise”, I would encourage you to do so in order to get the inspiring story behind the vision for this project.

On another note, I felt it fitting to share with you, my 20 life lessons of 2018 as my last post for the year.

HERE GOES:

1. Obey God’s instructions the first time He gives them to you! It will save you a whole lot of energy in the long run.
2. If you want to put life’s meaning in the right perspective, simply watch a child in action.
3. A person’s words may mislead you, but their actions always reveals the truth.
4. Sometimes the best response is no response; just be quiet.
5. If its not helpful, uplifting, inspiring or insightful, don’t say it!

6. Do not waste time defending yourself. Those that are meant to join you on your journey will understand you without explanation.

7. As long as you have life, it is never too late to start. Better late than never.
8. Sometimes less is more but sometimes more is necessary. Ask God to teach you when and where to apply the difference.
9. Humility is the master key that unlocks true success.
10. You produce better results when you make your moves in silence.
11. Doing a good thing at the wrong time can produce failing results; timing is everything.
12. Don’t live in your past but tell your story because it is uniquely yours. If you overcame by the words of your testimony, then so can others.
13. Endeavor to help make someone else’s life better and watch your own life improve.
14. Rejection is necessary for growth. Embrace it! Let it fuel the fire within you that lights up a dark world.
15. Believe in you first, then maybe others will.
16. Dispel immediately, negative thoughts of “cant” and “never” or they will become your life’s pattern.
17. Present yourself as if you are always on stage. Your life is an example to someone that you do not know is watching.
18. Patience is a rare virtue practiced by those that are wise.

19. Be open to life’s interruptions; they are often times God’s way of saying “I have a better idea”.

20. To thine own self be true. If not, the true you will come out inevitably.

 

May 2019 meet us all wiser, stronger, better because of the lessons that 2018 has taught us.

Happy Holidays everybody!!!