7 Ways to Fuel Energy During a Pandemic
The good ole days seem sweeter during a pandemic. In the afternoons, I put in earphones and listen to James Taylor, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, the Beatles, and others.
Familiarity during disruption fuels energy and calms turbulence.
7 ways to fuel energy during a pandemic:
#1. Leverage the power of conversation.
Provide time for casual banter before and/or after meetings.
All-business drains energy. Moments of connection re-energize.
#2. Express appreciation frequently.
Normal courtesies mean more during disruption.
- Say thank you for things people are paid to do.
- Express the kind side of your heart.
- Remember everyone feels burdens.
#3. Reconnect with the old days.
I’ve never been a fan of nostalgia. Frankly, it offended me. I don’t want to re-build the past. I want to create the future.
The past is gone for good. The good ole days weren’t heaven and the present isn’t hell. But pandemics make nostalgia attractive.
- Play some oldies through your earphones.
- Watch a few episodes of Bewitched or DuckTales. (You gotta click the Bewitched link and watch the first couple of minutes!)
- Dig out some family albums or videos.
#4. Establish morning rituals.
#5. Get up and move.
If sitting is the new smoking, some are up to three-packs a day.
I have a friend who walks a mile at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
#6. Schedule something you can anticipate.
Scheduled fun is more fun than spontaneous fun.
Anticipating fun is often more enjoyable than having fun.
#7. Ask yourself some energy-making questions.
What gives you energy during a Pandemic?
Sounds like a lyric from your playlist: “The good old days weren’t heaven and the present isn’t hell”
LOL… thanks Robb. Hope you have a great weekend.
The Magnificent Seven, Dan! And that is a great movie to watch at this time. One other activity to create and fuel energy—think about what makes you the professional you are and drives you to be the best professional in your field. in the first 2 years of my career as an Insurance Loss Control Consultant, 2 of my cousins were killed on the job. From that time, I do everything I can as a Loss Control professional so no one will die on the job and their Families will not have to go through what my Family did. More than 42 years on Loss Control and still going strong!
Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. What a great way to explain the power of purpose. Best wishes!
Great movie btw. I was also thinking about he Wizard of Oz. 🙂
Wow. That is a powerful WHY that forms all of your actions. I’m guessing many newbies in loss control have asked you over the years, “Why are you so passionate about loss control.”
Meditation, long walks, webinars, the Beach Boys and Fifth Dimension, SNL clips and of course—your blog.
Thanks Paul! How could I forget SNL?
Dan, another timely post. I agree with you on getting up, have rituals, and keep moving. Since the weather has been sporadic, I find myself looking at the weather channel daily to capture the sunshine and schedule my conference calls or school during cloudy or rainy periods – if possible. I recognize that not everyone has that luxury. This is how technology has improved our lives as compared to 1918.
Aside from school reading, I find myself less in TV and more with an enriching book. I am reading David Brooks’ Second Mountain. Also, I try to balance the conversation – pandemic and politics are allotted only so much time : )
Thanks Kishla. Love the idea of using weather as a factor in scheduling. Never thought of that.
I’m with you… not too much time on news and politics. It’s so negative and draining. Although, during breakfast I watch a morning show that seems more upbeat. Cheers
Create a monster to do list. There is satisfaction in remaining productive. This is a great time to get after the “gotta do it someday” projects. If your project includes something to prepare for the future of your business that is even better … new website, update mailing lists, put together promo materials, etc.
Thanks Kass. Nothing like turning off a few dripping faucets…those things you’ve been meaning to do. 🙂
The future of business is an interesting topic…hmmm
A guy on our team emails out a song, or songs, each week & he does a great job of making it fit. “Don’t Stand to Close to Me” from the Police, is today’s song.
Normal courtesies mean more during disruption. I am finding this stands out. Be kind, express grateful and thankfulness in all communications and others will respond similarly.
I definitely enjoyed this post as it is something I am trying to perfect while in quarantine. I am a MD/MPH student trying to study at home and finish out my first semester of school. Energy is difficult to come by when we are not experiencing a pandemic. It is even harder to muster up energy when we are at home 24/7.
I agree with you that getting up and moving is key to staying healthy and also keeping your focus. Running outside has been great for me. It clears my mind and de-stresses me. This combines two really helpful things – exercise and nature.
One other fairly simple thing I have been trying to implement during the pandemic is positivity. I think this echoes your first few sentiments about being gracious and making conversation. I have tried to remind myself that during this pandemic I have had time to spend with family at home. I have been spending more time with my cat, Lenny. I have had time to be more mindful and healthier with preparing my meals, fueling my energy. I have had more time to focus on schoolwork. I have been consistently getting 8 hours of sleep per night. It is easy to feel down, but if you try and shift the thinking to what you are grateful for, it can be motivating.
I would also agree with you that scheduling is key! I am someone who enjoys a plan. My first instinct during the pandemic was to keep a daily routine. This has helped me maintain productivity. I am a big fan of writing out my goals each morning and crossing them off as I go about my day. Again, simple but also satisfying.
Lastly, it is easy to wonder when this will all be over. I have tried to not think too far ahead, which is hard to do when you have summer plans on the horizon. I try to take each day as it comes. These are a few things that I have been trying to implement during this pandemic! Stay safe.
A brief vacation to any sort of normalcy or familiarity is certainly something I have found myself subconsciously doing during this unstable time. After reading through these guidelines and strategies to re-energize and calm in times of turbulence, you really start to reflect on the little ways you may have already been trying. For me it was some of the steps above such as connecting to some recent past time through musical nostalgia or old media. I really like the point you make on nostalgia regarding how it kind of needs to be used with caution in a sense. Yes, the good ole days, so to speak, seem brighter now but dwelling on any one past is going to inhibit the future. I think that the message is almost a great “playing with fire” metaphor. Nostalgia is great in trying time to re-energize, but you cannot get lost in it and let it pick at the foundation of a better future. That outlook alone is almost calming, but I am also very much looking forward to what this pandemic will impact the future once it’s passed as well.
The other key points I have latched on to in your discussion above, is establishing daily morning routines/rituals, but not so much that you inhibit yourself from exploring fun activities or ideas. In times of instability, it seems important to maintain some form of daily stability and productivity, but I think you are correct in that one must also make time to actually have some fun and relax. Setting some time aside for yourself can make you take a break rather than getting totally wrapped up in the rat race and stress of a destabilizing pandemic, and forgetting about that for even a few hours just to focus on you seems vital, or has been for me at least. And now I have even more tips and tricks to make that happen. Stay safe and well!
Dan, thanks for thoughts on ways to fuel energy during this difficult and unprecedent time. Like many other Tulane students commenting on your blog, I am in the Public Health program too. So many of us have studied about previous pandemics and even discussed what would happen if/when another major pandemic would occur. We have studied and discussed the numbers of deaths that could occur, what steps should be taken, who has authority during the situation, etc… While we are going through a pandemic it is important for us to ensure we are focusing and fueling energy in positive areas in our life. It is easy to get sucked into all the negativity during this time and put a major strain on our lives. While I am not taking light of the current situation, it is important to note that we will make it through this time and life will continue. It may not be the same and there will be scars, but it will continue. I would like to discuss the seven ways you mentioned. 1) This time provides a great opportunity to pick up a phone and call someone. This could be a grandparent or a friend that you have not talked to in a long period. 2) You never know what someone may be going through on the inside. Having a smiling facing and being kind can go a long way. 3) This can go along with number 1 with picking up the phone. I remember Sundays were free long-distance calling days and many calls were made to far away family. While we may not be traveling to see family or friends, we can still have contact with them. 4) With more people working from home or having kids at home for school, having establish morning routines is an important start for the day. 5) Beautiful spring weather makes going outside very appealing. 6) This can also be tied into 1 and 3 with having a day and time to call a family member or friend. 7) A great question to ask is what can I do to make today a better day?
I agree that a morning ritual is a great way to get energy flowing first thing in the morning. I often do a small yoga routine, make coffee and journal, and then go for a run. No matter what, this starts my day off on a good note, allowing me to get my mindset right for the day. I can tell a major difference in my productivity and my mood if I fall out of this routine. Exercise has always been a critical part of my life, but recently it has been a major factor for my mental and physical health than ever before.
Additionally, I find that this has been an excellent time to revisit old patterns and goals, and really consider what is working, and what may need to change post-pandemic. As I am about to graduate, I have had to take a very critical look at where my career is heading and what I want that to look like over the next few years. Ending my graduate career in the midst of a pandemic has been strange, but it has also given me a unique opportunity to look forward with more purpose, which gives me even more energy to work for it.
Other things I have done throughout this to fuel energy include:
1. Listening to podcasts and audiobooks- I highly recommend a podcast called “Rise,” by Rachel Hollis, which is more geared towards business and leadership.
2. Reorganizing my (very small) apartment, which has allowed more space and functionality since I’m home more.
3. Learning a new skill- in this case, I am learning how to build a website, utilizing free resources I’ve found online.
4. Going hiking or simply getting outside in the sunshine- it’s a great mood booster.
5. Talking with friends- technology has made very creative ways to stay in touch with friends.
I do disagree with the idea about scheduled fun- I think that spontaneous fun often makes the best memories, which are great to reflect on when stressed. But, both have their benefits.
Hey Dan! I love these suggestions on ways to re-energize ourselves during this time. It is ironic that I have been feeling so drained mentally and physically; yet, I have just been at home all day. I think that all of the computer-operated work from Zoom calls, steady emails, and homework assignments have really depleted my body. The first suggestion of allocating space in business calls for causal banter has been the main highlight of my weekly check-ins. I have been enjoying simply talking about the mundane parts of my day with my colleague from sharing what I cooked for lunch to suggesting random TV shows that I have recently enjoyed. Equally, I have also loved hearing about their personal and family updates. It is so reassuring to connect on a deeper human-centered level as opposed to just focusing on work-related tasks. To the second suggestion, I have also noticed that I feel happy and energized when I show affection to my loved ones. Although we are literally around each other all day at home, it is great to thank them for the small, but important things that they do, such as cooking dinner and respecting my need for alone time. Similarly, in the workplace, expressing appreciation is an effective way to increase team members’ sense of belonging. I agree that it has been lovely walking down memory lane with my loved ones and passing the time by exchanging random stories. I love your suggestion about establishing a morning ritual! Routines help create a sense of normalcy. I have been fulfilling both suggestions five and six by incorporating a daily workout routine. I always look forward to the physical challenge of my workouts, which adds a sense of purpose to my everyday flow. Finally, I appreciate your suggestion of asking energy-making questions! Recently, I have been asking myself how I can deepen my relationships by actively engaging in empathic communication.
I really enjoyed reading your post and thank you for sharing some helpful tips I had not thought of. I agree especially with your tips to reconnect with the old days, establish morning rituals, and get up and move. My husband and I have definitely found these to be a part of our quarantine schedule. We stay true to our weekly date nights and watch old movies such as Space Jam, which really reconnects us to the old days. Our established morning rituals include coffee and a big breakfast, which normally we would not have time to fix. Lastly, just like Kishla, we plan our afternoon walks or fishing trips around the weather. I am so thankful that the weather has been so nice during this time and has allowed me to reconnect with nature and make time for some physical activity. All of these tasks have really proven to boost my mood and productivity. It only took a pandemic to help me realize that!
You make a great point with your statement that pandemics make nostalgia attractive, but I really love the way ABeermann elaborated on it. I had not considered the drawbacks of nostalgia, but I agree that dwelling on the past is, in a way, “playing with fire” and should be used with caution. I can see how nostalgia can be beneficial to one’s psyche, but I believe small doses of it are best. Looking forward and moving toward the future are more productive than focusing on the past. I find that many people are holding on to the past and not finding the silver linings in this situation. I think many of my peers and family members have a difficult time seeing the pandemic in a positive light. Victoria also touched on this. I acknowledge that not everyone feels the same way, but I have found this time to be extremely refreshing and forced me to stop, slow down, and enjoy the little things. I have more time to work on my house, study for school, and enjoy quality time with my husband. I also believe giving up social media for Lent was a huge reason I have been able to stay so positive. I highly recommend implementing a social media ban for the duration of the pandemic, it helps!
Hope you are staying safe and well!
Hi Dan, I appreciate your post on how to fuel yourself during this Pandemic. I truly need a pair of “jumper cables” to get me back on track. I have always heard that stress affects everyone differently, and I can see the difference in me since March.
I do agree that a routine is needed. I have established a routine every morning to get up like I am going to work and have my same cup of coffee. I have multi-tasks from remote work, remote distance learning, homework assignments and being a mom of three. I must say that the kids have handled this much more than me, however adults always have unseen responsibilities.
Playing some oldies through my earphones have helped smoothed my soul. I was scheduled to see Earth Wind and Fire in Las Vegas this weekend, so now I am forced to hear them through I-phone. And of course for me gospel spirituals help keep me grounded.
Scheduling a movie to watch has been a task for me. Lately, I am excited to know that I have enough brain cells left and a little control over my anxiety to watch a movie! I was so proud of myself to be able to do this.
More importantly, I am thankful for those that are on the front line fighting to keep all of us safe. Be safe everyone, Nicole
Hello Dan, It’s a crazy time, and reading your post, helps us to thrive in the positivity.
The amount of time we spend watching, reading news, and discussing the pandemic, it deprived us more into the negativity and creates more challenges for a normal life. This stressful time brings more of the depression and unhappiness. To survive, we have to change our attitudes towards life in this uncertainty. To live within this uncertain time and find peace in the misery, we have to change our aspects of life with the ongoing conditions. Many of my friends are doctors or in the medical profession, they are constantly working to fight against the COVID-19 and we all are proud of them. The positive aspect of this is that humanity that’s only going strong rather than any superior power.
Finding happiness in insignificant things, such as appreciating our colleagues and friends who are working, talking with old friends, reconnecting with relatives, improvising skills, learning new things. With old mates of mine, we started playing many fun games online that keep us entertained and a reminder of the good old days, sharing old albums or just old music with friends makes our time happier. I have learned new tools, that’s used for digital paintings, I am fond of the abstract paintings and have got no time in the past, but now with a new skill and tool, I can use an iPad for paintings. I like the DIY products, and started redecorating my bedroom with these products, I made using the least useful stuff. Doing so, help me think about certain aspects of my life from my point of view. The perception of my life changes that happiness is not within certain boundaries and not surroundings, it’s about a bit amount of joy within what we choose to do and how we look forward to it.
I really appreciate your suggestions for how to fuel energy during a pandemic. Expressing appreciation frequently was my favorite of your seven listed ways. I think it is really hard during these times to remember to find the space for gratitude, so it is always nice to see that reminder given its crucial contribution to overall wellbeing. I view gratitude as a form of healing, not only when you receive appreciation, but also more importantly when you give it. For me, genuine gratitude inspires connection and warmth, even between strangers—a kind of connection that is especially important to tend to during social distancing and isolation. Viral videos and posts have flooded the internet about ways people are showing gratitude to strangers during this time, which is particularly heartwarming to see. Your other suggestions are also useful techniques to implement as grounding tools and allow you be more present.
I have always loved a well-bulleted to do list. Now they are energizing in a different way in that they keep me a bit more grounded. It’s a very difficult time to stay mindful and in the present (read focused). Getting sucked into dissociative behaviors, like checking Facebook…again, can be an enormous time and energy suck. My to do list has evolved from the pre-pandemic scribble on a loose paper to an all out structured thing of OCD beauty. I suggest using actual paper to others, too, because a tangible object with texture and that you interact with is yet another grounding mechanism. And, when we’re grounded, we’re present, and when we’re present we’re productive.
The thing about my new list is I’ll throw in simple things that, when checked off, still satiate that itch to feel even small amounts of accomplishment. Right under ‘finish term paper’ I’ll have ‘take out recycling’ and crossing either out is just as satisfying as the next. These little wins are like a recharge to keep moving. Another way I get energy from the list is breaking up the big items into small chunks. If I can’t check something off for hours, I’ll likely lose interest in following through with the rest of the list, then it gets stacked onto the next day. And,between list items, add in some words of encouragement or intentions. Right before a big item, write in “I want to feel proud of myself today.” I’d bet that next task is done with a little more effort and won’t feel as draining. These things might sound trite, but they work.
You don’t need an app or a complicated planner, people tend to abandon those anyway. I think keeping it mega simple is valuable in that there’s no fussiness in making the thing. Your attention and effort shouldn’t be exhausted on planning your day anyway. Grab a random paper, write some stuff on it, then shove it in your pocket to have it with you all day. Save the energy.