engage in the three ‘r’s

“These are unprecedented times.” I’m sure you would have heard this phrase multiple times over the past few weeks. Yes, we’re all stuck in our homes, and the future is uncertain. It’s not an overstatement to say that every day, it’s a new battle with stress, anxiety and isolation.

No matter how much we try, we must accept the fact that our productivity will get compromised. We all respond in different ways to adversities based on our brain chemistry. Some get overcharged while some become more passive than required. These are just their inherent coping mechanisms and whichever group you belong to, it’s best to not judge yourself or others. 

We must acknowledge the fact that productivity in the midst of this pandemic is a privilege, not a necessity. Yes, we must push ourselves hard as much as possible but at the same time, we must also honor our body and our mind. Respecting when we need a little breathing room without any motive or agenda is self-care at its best. Cultivating this discipline can be extremely helpful not only during our current times but in the future as well.

Rob Fazio, Ph.D. and founder of Hold the Door, a 9/11 inspired nonprofit that focuses on growth through adversity points out, “You cannot sustain being a firefighter if there is a fire every day.” That’s why, in order to navigate times of extreme anxiety and uncertainty, he advises people to engage in the following three Rs: 

  1. Recognize their stress triggers. 
  2. Reset with active stress management, humor or self-care. 
  3. Rebuild their strengths and personal growth.

If you thought that the secret to exceptional productivity and self-motivation during this crisis was making a to-do list, watching inspirational videos, shutting off distractions and temptations, and getting dressed up and pretending as if everything was normal, then you’re wrong. Yes, at the risk of stating the obvious, these are unprecedented times. And we must be willing to accept that we’re humans, not invincible superheroes. It’s okay to be vulnerable and experience some raw emotions. To take stock of our lives, and become self-aware. This will help us design new strategies to not only show up as our most productive versions at work and at home, but to also take better care of ourselves. These are times when we must do everything possible to safeguard our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. 

Yes, these are overwhelming and uncertain times. But it’s also an incredible opportunity to press the reset button and start with a blank slate. To slow down, heal and rebuild ourselves. 

Stay away from negativity and self-sabotage, and accept your fate without condemning it or fearing it. Just focus on doing the best you can while taking good care of yourself and others as the future unfolds.