Mindfulness Tactics to help Content Creators Cope during COVID-19
Last week Freestak hosted a virtual mindfulness session with Dr. Ruth Allen covering topics including how to cope with anxiety and uncertainty during the current times, tactics to connect with your core creativity as a content creator, and ways to restore resilience.
Ruth is a qualified outdoor counsellor/psychotherapist, person-centred therapeutic coach, and an experienced trainer and facilitator. She specialises in outdoor practice, nature connection and the power of relationship.
“I’m interested in how we make meaning of our lives, the stories we tell, and the things we’ve been through.” Ruth stated.
As many battle the anxiety, fear and uncertainty of COVID-19, there are a lot of emotions and worry about the unknown future. This leaves many questioning how to act, feel or continue with what they’re used to doing in the current environment.
Ruth has noticed a range of feelings and believes it’s important to recognize these in order to cope with them.
- Grief – People are experiencing grief for a variety of reasons including a loss of identity: no longer having the freedom to be outside and go on adventures. Others may be feeling grief for a loss of work or life that they knew. Things have changed so quickly, and there’s an unknown for when life will go back to what it was.
- Trauma – Many people may find themselves overly energized without the outlets or ability to burn this off. Opposed, others may feel frozen and unsure of what to do.
- Stress – Ruth runs daily polls on her social media asking how her audience is doing and tiredness is a common sense of feeling for many people which is a sign of stress. “Just processing the emotions of this crisis is quite exhausting in and of itself,” she said. Memory loss, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration are other classic signs of stress.
- Anger – There’s a pressure to keep up with what other people are doing and not be left behind which can lead to anger. Anger at oneself for not being able to do things or at other people for doing it better. Also, a sense of anger at the universe as to “why now” when life was going well.
“This variety of quite traumatic emotion that is hanging around is all going to really be reducing our capacity and our resilience,” Ruth said. “Our bodies are very busy in survival mode at the moment, and I think that’s a really important thing to acknowledge.”
There’s a lot going on even in isolation and lockdown. There might not be much physically happening, but we’re having to adjust quite emotionally and psychologically to the current situation. As a result, this is going to reduce the resilience we normally have in order to get on with usual routines.
How to take care of yourself and restore resilience
In order to help restore your resilience, the first piece of advice from Ruth was to bring yourself into a state of calm. You’re not going to be doing your best work or be your best self unless you can get back to a place of calm. It’s through that to when you’re going to be able to restore your capacity and resilience.
Here are three pieces of advice from Ruth on why this is important:
- It’s good for you: “A very stressed body is a compromised body,” Ruth said. It’s during this time when you must pay active attention to your body and keep yourself calm.
- It’s good for your followers: In a crisis people need a leader, people are looking for someone to give them certainty and guidance. As a content creator, recognize the simple things you can do like presenting yourself as a role model by taking care of yourself.
- It’s good for your future: Place yourself in problem solving mode to help restore a sense of identity in order to keep your work flowing and the ideas going.
Coping with anxiety
As our bodies transition into “survival mode” in order to get through the day during the COVID-19 pandemic, this steals away from our sense of measure, calmness and ability to problem solve. Therefore, the need to get calm and manage anxiety is really important.
Here are some of Ruth’s tips for handling stress and anxiety during these tough times we’re facing:
- Breathing exercises: Anxiety quickens and shortens the breath so it’s important to make sure you’re doing exercises that lengthen the breath and promote calmness.
- Grounding techniques: Ground yourself to the present and control your mind from getting too worried about catastrophizing thoughts.
- Connect with nature: When you’re a content creator you’re constantly thinking and worrying you need to do more. Alternatively, take the time to remember that you need to connect with nature and your body and mind, and what you can offer people will flow out of that.
Allow yourself to develop a productive plan on how to get through this difficult time and continue creating content in a healthy way.
Connecting back to your creativity
With race cancellations affecting our training plans and lockdowns ceasing adventures, many content creators are faced with challenges to stay creative. In order to help with this and connect back to your core creativity, Ruth provided two questions to ask yourself. Take a moment and write down your answers.
- What is unique about you?
What do you bring to your community? On a good day, outside of coronavirus think about something unique that you bring to your audience and use that to connect back with your core.⠀
Now is the opportunity to discover what you like to create and really focus back on what’s meaningful to you. Once you connect back to that, your passion has an opportunity to really shine.
- What excites you?
Start being curious about what you’re noticing at this time. Become sensitive to what’s around at the moment and discover what your audience needs right now that you can bring. ⠀
“When you really listen, there’s a lot to be heard,” Ruth said.
Many are looking to their community to see what’s being offered. Use this as an opportunity to help bring yourself back to your inherent creativity.
“There’s a lot of space for content, and there’s a lot of people that want content,” Ruth said. “But there’s a real need to be creative about it.”
If you can find ways, there’s a lot of opportunities there.
We hope you found this mindfulness session with Dr. Ruth Allen helpful. If you have any other suggestions for sessions you’d be interested in or if you would like to lead one, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.