From Self-Care & Gratitude to Peace, Joy and Confidence

The prolonged Pandemic is a big reminder to take special care of yourself. In order to have the energy to give to our various communities (family, work, philanthropic, spiritual and more) we need to fill ourselves up first. From flying we are all familiar with the airline’s oxygen mask rule, which tells us before you assist others, always put your own oxygen mask on first. To maximize your joy and peace, it helps if your personal oxygen mask includes daily gratitude practices; being kind to yourself and giving yourself grace. You can emerge from the pandemic with more clarity and confidence than ever.

People often view gratitude as a “soft” aspect that is unnecessary. However, the research shows the contrary. Brene’ Brown, an author and expert on the topics of shame and vulnerability, has conducted groundbreaking research around the topic of gratitude. She began with the hypothesis that gratitude follows success. She expected to find that when everything is going well in someone’s life (they have already achieved high socioeconomic status, have a phenomenal job and rewarding intimate and family relationships)—then they become grateful and incorporate gratitude practices in their life.

After interviewing 11,000 people over 12 years—she discovered the exact opposite. Without exception Brene’ found that when people are genuinely grateful and practice gratitude daily, then their situation improves and joy increases. Rather than gratitude following success, success and joy follow gratitude. They actively invite joy into their lives. Brene’ Brown quotes a Jesuit priest who shares, “It’s not joy that makes us grateful. It’s gratitude that makes us joyful.” Brene’ adds, “We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from lack of gratitude.” How to incorporate this into your life?

Six Ways to Tap Into Gratitude:

Daily Meditation and Intentional Morning Rituals. This will set you up for success and prime you for the day you most desire. Click this link for free access to an empowering morning gratitude meditation I lead you through. If you prefer writing in a journal or planner over relaxing meditations and visualizations, you can start the day by asking yourself: What are three start of “day gratitudes” I have? What actions do I want to prioritize and How can I move my goals forward today? Try ending the workday by listing three successes you had, making note of what you learned, and three end of day gratitudes. 

Keep Critical Voices Out of Your Head. Start to pay attention to the messages you bombard yourself with daily and hourly. Are they kind? Are they empowering? Or are they judgmental, mean and disempowering? If they are the latter, you can… Name that critical voice: This creates a line in the sand where you acknowledge the voice is not the true you. Is it a judgmental relative? If you had an aunt Amelia who always found the worst side of everything, name this negative voice Amelia, or Negative Nancy. Try picturing her, then turn down her volume, or thank her and put her in a box because you don’t need her anymore. Incorporate the Choose Again Method: Best selling author and speaker, Gabrielle Bernstein suggests simply witnessing the storyline. Notice with awareness what message you are giving yourself. Where do you feel it in your body? Then forgive yourself for having that thought; no judgment or self-ridicule. Next, choose again and cultivate a new message and belief system to empower yourself. Once you have this self-awareness, you can choose again and make a healthier, more motivating choice, filled with positive vocabulary and messages.

Use Movement to Alter Your Mood. Movement leads to a better mood. Changing your physiology can drastically change your mindset. Years ago, when I was going through my divorce it helped me to jog the loop one way, come home, talk to my attorney and then jog the loop the other way. Even two minutes of quick exercise can alter your mood, state and energy level. Between Zoom calls, get into a sprinting position. Hold your legs in place and move your arms as fast as you can for a minute. Try running in place or jumping jacks as fast as you can for two minutes.

Tap Into Your Best Self. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing your posture or stance to what feels empowering. Is it Wonder Woman, Princess Warrior, Majestic Beauty, Queen, Wise One? Imagine the strongest, kindest, most confident, compassionate version of yourself. Assume that stance, hold it for at least 30 seconds.

Ask Yourself 12 Important Questions. What are the seeds of learning in this pandemic? In the midst of this challenge, what is still very much right in the world, and in your personal world? How can you make this more fun? Can you find a way to contribute to community or your favorite charity? What goal or goals could you focus on during this pandemic? If health and fitness matter to you, now that you are home, what can you do to have more control over what you eat? Will you set an alarm to remind yourself to exercise for 10 minutes every hour or two? Do you want to spend your lunch hour walking your neighborhood? Do you have a “Covid-don’t lose your mind list?” Do you want to use this time to learn a new language, or musical instrument, to connect on a deeper level with friends and family members you may have taken for granted pre-pandemic?

Once You’ve Got It Share it. Try saying out loud: “I am friggin’ amazing!” or “I rock!” Depending upon the dynamics of your team, maybe you can get them to do this too. Practice gratitude! We are all going through something very difficult right now in this “new normal.” And at work, you can incorporate gratitude into your Zoom meetings and daily activities.

Whether at work or at home, as human beings we want to make progress in some area of our lives. As successful female professionals we have a strong need to feel we are making progress. Instead this “new normal” has many feeling paralyzed, thinking they can’t, and as a result they don’t. We are all going through something very difficult right now with the “new normal.” One very intelligent client felt extremely lonely during the pandemic. She quarantined alone and this compounded the negative spiraling feelings. I quickly taught her techniques and tools to reduce stress and anxiety during uncertain times. Then we connected her with other professional women through the Thrive Tribe group coaching program.

Through one-on-one coaching, coupled with the group coaching program, she will emerge from the pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever. Last week she wrote me sharing, “I have never felt this confident in my entire life! I am initiating things both personally and professionally I never dreamed of doing. Coaching is truly making a huge difference.

Another client who began coaching during the pandemic arrived exhausted and somewhat sad. She is professionally successful and was working long hours from her desk at home. As soon as we did coaching exercises around her core values (what she needs to feel most fulfilled and happiest) she was able to align her spare time (weekends and later evenings) to sync up with the new awareness of her core values. Her Zoom sessions now show a woman that is genuinely smiling and exuding happiness. 

Many feel they can emerge from the pandemic with deeper relationships and improved self-esteem. They can see the prolonged pandemic can be an opportunity for growth by focusing on what we are grateful for and realizing we are stronger and more resilient than we ever imagined. You women are amazing leaders, learning, pivoting and modeling for your family and employees during this pandemic. You are all examples that shine brightly!

“Gratitude is like a flashlight. If you go out in your yard at night and you turn on a flashlight you suddenly see what … you couldn’t see it in the dark. Gratitude lights up what is already there.” -MJ Ryan, author of Attitudes of Gratitude

By Jill Kersh

Jill Kersh is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) honored with Professional Certified Coach recognition and credentialing from the International Coach Federation and CEO of Thrive Unlimited, LLC; helps high powered professional women who are stressed and overwhelmed, create more peace, clarity, confidence, joy and fulfillment.

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