Quarantine has been a challenge for many of us. If you are feeling lonely during quarantine, I made this video for you.
Because I Have it all Together, and Other Lies I Want You to Believe About Me
Has the 2020 election gotten you filled with anxiety or uncertainty? These 7 tips will help you feel better about life no matter who is elected. For those of you who know me-this video isn’t super funny-but hopefully super helpful.
Do you find yourself being swept up in the election and post-election drama because X candidate is winning or has won? Well, then this video is for you. We’re going to go over seven things to help reframe the way you’re thinking to help ground you and get you out of that post-election anxiety. Before we begin, please like, subscribe, and share if you find this video helpful.
Okay. First of all, I do have to confess that I am filming this on Monday, the day before the election, because I’m smart. I’m actually having surgery on Tuesday, which is a really smart thing to do because I will be knocked out cold. Then, the following few days I will be on prescription narcotics, which means I’m not going to care what’s happening in the world for those days. Should this video be tone deaf, I will take it down but I have a feeling it won’t be regardless of who wins or what happens.
First thing is, number one, is to stop the catastrophic thinking. Okay. You hear it from either side, whichever candidate wins, they have this catastrophic end of the world thinking like, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to be led by a dictator or Hitler and there’s going to be dead babies in the street. Everything we know is over because X candidate has won. The world is over.”
My question to you is, is it though? Is the world really over? Here’s what I want you to do. Just work with me, I know nobody really wants to do this but just try this. I want you to put your feet squarely on the ground and take a deep breath. Seriously, do it. Put your feet on the ground, take a deep breath. Okay. Now look down at your feet. Do you have feet? Do you have legs? Do you have hands that work? Obviously, your heart is beating and your brain is working because you wouldn’t be watching this video.
Now I want you to look around. Are you out of the cold? Do you have a place that if it rains you’re not going to get wet? Have you eaten today? Do you have people in your house that you love, whether that’s a pet or a friend? Do you have people in your life that contribute positive things to you that you could reach out to? When you look out the window, do you see the sun or the rain or the trees? Is the mountain still there, is the ocean still there? If it is, the world is not over. Okay? That is catastrophic thinking. No matter what candidate wins, the world doesn’t care, nature’s still moving on like nothing happened because it’s not that big of a deal.
Number two, because that just leads us right into number two, is don’t give your power away. When you do the catastrophic thinking of, “Oh my gosh, the world has ended and now this candidate is going to blah, blah, blah.” No. Who’s responsible for your life? You. Really, the only thing you have control over with the politics is to vote and if you care about a certain aspect of policies or whatever’s happening then you can peacefully protest or help write new laws and become involved in that sense. If you’re just sitting at home, really, you’re giving your power away by saying your life is ruined because X candidate won. You are responsible for you and the actions that you take from morning ’til night, that’s on you.
That leads us right into number three which is, “Hey, guess what, American citizens, we’re not that special.” I know. Shocker. We’re not the center of the universe. Sometimes us US citizens are really narcissistic but the truth is we’re not that special. For thousands of years, since the beginning of time, there has been some pretty hideous leaders, probably more bad leaders than good leaders. Terrible kings and dictators and all those things and guess what? People still fell in love. Babies were still born. Music was still made in song. Art was still created. Literature was still written. Science was still progressed despite bad leadership.
Really, when you think about, “Hey, how much does the government have to do with my day-to-day life? Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist and you’re like, “They dictate everything.” No, they don’t, you do. It’s just no matter who’s in charge and what policies change you have the capacity to still live a good life because this has been going on since the beginning of time. It’s not that big of a deal. We’re not that special to somehow miss having bad leaders once in a while.
Which leads me to number four, is that nostalgia is not real. What I mean by that is, I don’t know about your grandparents but I would hear, “Kids these days. Back when I was a kid, we never blah, blah, blah.” You hear that now. We’re like, “Our country was so amazing since the beginning, blah, blah, blah, and now it’s in ruins.” No. Our country was never perfect awesome ever, since the time it was created. I live in Colorado and there’s trails that are littered with dead bodies, graves of pioneers who came over here and they all died in their mid-thirties of the flu or childbirth or starvation.
There was saloons and there were whore for houses, and that was in the United States of America. Look what we did at the native Americans. We had slavery, we fought Wars. We’ve been through The Great Depression. We have not always been so amazing and awesome. We always have had ups and downs. This whole nostalgia that our country’s gone to pot isn’t exactly accurate. We have it pretty good compared to where we were 200 years ago in a lot of ways.
Which leads me to number five, and that is to nix the all or nothing thinking. What I mean by that is that naturally we like to think we’re right so I’m right and you’re wrong. I’m good and you’re bad or you’re evil. When it comes to the political parties, you hear that over again. “All Democrats are straight from the devil, all Republicans are backwoods idiots. No, they’re not. There are good Democrats and bad Democrats, and there are good Republicans and bad Republicans. There’s good policies on each side and bad policies on the other. This whole it’s all or nothing, it’s my way or no way is really emotionally an unintelligent way to think. It really is, because you and I, we all have good in us, we all have bad in us and that’s just the way the world works.
That leads me really into number six, which is because when we get into this all or nothing thinking, we’re like, “My way’s the right way,” there’s just a lot of anger there and you see that over and over again, especially this election, all this anger. Anger has never convinced anyone of anything. Have you ever in your life thought, “Wow, you’re so angry. I totally am convinced now because of your anger.” Never. Whenever somebody’s angry you’re like, “Okay, that person’s a jerk, I want nothing to do with them. You shut down and you no longer listen to them. All this screaming and yelling, whether you’re doing it on Facebook and calling people names, and Twitter, and no one’s listening because everybody’s angry, that really comes from that all or nothing thinking.
When you recognize that there are good to both parties and there’s rationalization to each side, whether you choose to agree with it or not but you can respect people’s differences, that’s when we can unite and come together as a country. Don’t use anger and don’t use that all or nothing. You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, one party’s not perfect, the other party’s not perfect. Same with whoever is the president, whoever gets elected.
That leads me to number seven, which is to check your motives. What I mean by that is a lot of us contribute to the chaos, I do too sometimes. This potentially could be contributing to the chaos but I really think that through a lot when I talk about something controversial. I really weigh in how much of my do I really believe in this to contribute. What I mean is, if you’re doing these nasty Facebook posts like, “The world’s now over my candidate didn’t win and now they’re going to dah, dah, dah.” You’re posting conspiracy theories, just a lot of hate and anger or despair, you’re contributing to the chaos. I’m asking you why, why do you want to do that? Is it to make yourself look smarter than other people? Is it just to vent or can you contribute to the solution, which is being positive and doing good and kind things to make positive change.
Really, so my solution for that, and really for all of this is not to get swept up because I’m going to recap here. Just hang on, I’m going to recap. Is Not to get swept up but, finally, do good things. This is kind of like a number eight bonus. Just do good things. You will never regret being kind, ever. How many times have you regretted being angry? You will never regret being kind and doing positive things for other people, ever. It’s always the opposite. When you’re selfish and mean and it’s your way you regret that?
Let’s recap. How do you deal with this anxiety? Gratitude. When I walked you through putting your feet on the floor and looking at your legs and is my heart still beating and is the world still turning, that is practicing gratitude. When the world feels really out of control you have to start really, really small like, is the sun still shining? Is the world still turning? Do I have food? Do I have my own toothbrush? That is gratitude. That right there is one of the number one ways to help you calm down and then really taking personal responsibility.
When I said you’re giving too much of your power away, what I mean is take personal responsibility for your life. Again, practice gratitude, take personal responsibility for your own life rather than blaming everything on the government or thinking the government’s going to change everything for you. They’re not. Just remember big picture thinking, so when I said we’re not that special and nostalgia isn’t real, that’s big picture thinking. When you look in the big picture, you’re like, “Oh yeah, I guess it’s not as big of a deal as I’m making it in the moment because this has happened for hundreds of years and thousands of years and so forth.”
Really, just that all or nothing thinking, it’s really about contributing good things and kindness. It’s being open and to other people’s point of views, whether you agree with it or not, it’s just respecting that not everybody is like you. When you live like I’m right and everybody’s taking things away from me, you live like this, and I don’t want to live like that. I don’t know about you, I want to live like this, open and kind and loving to new opportunities, to new relationships, to new people, to a good and positive life. That comes from being open-hearted whether I agree with you or not, but that I respect you in a kind and loving way. I don’t know who’s going to win but I hope this video helps. Just, you got this, it’s going to be okay.
Been home a while? Wondering why you haven’t lost that weight, started that side hustle or wrote that book? This quick video explains why.
Last night when the world was tucked away in bed, I lay in awe. I now live in a time where my daughter could see a beautiful, intelligent African and South Asian American woman, speak at a Vice Presidential Debate. My daughter could see someone who looks like her.
It wasn’t her ethnicity alone that made the night memorable; it was what she said that stole the show for me. (I’ll give props to the fly, though. Best walk on roll ever.)
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.”
There it was. Hundreds of years of oppression, racism, and strife. To finally be heard on a stage in a bid for one of the highest honors/positions in our country.
The women who were sold and placed on a boat. The immigrant women of a myriad of ethnicities who came by ship or plane. The women who worked the fields. The women who worked the home. The women who worked the factories. The women who had no voice. The women who had no vote.
The women who sat on a bus, who were arrested, who picketed, who shattered glass ceilings. The women who slowly but steadily started using their voice.
The women who believed in their daughters and granddaughters. Who modeled work ethic, resilience, intelligence and hope. The women who didn’t speak with words but spoke by the sweat of their brow.
Because of these women who fought to be heard in the workplace, their home, their community. Because of the women who used written words, spoken words, musical words, art that spoke for them, we heard for the first-time last night:
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.” And she was heard.
Today, many of us do have a voice. But many women still don’t. From the Dalit woman in India to the sex workers in Cambodia. The young girls not allowed to have an education to the elderly women in nursing homes alone and afraid because of Covid. The women who are still seen as second class. The single mother who cleans your home or bags your groceries. The woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship. The woman who is shamed for her body being too big or too small.
The women who are afraid to raise their voice in fear of retribution, name calling, or being seen as a “b***”.
These women still have a voice that needs to be heard.
We- who have a voice-need to speak on their behalf. To model. To give hope.
We who have a voice need to-
Do the work.
Move the needle.
Cast the vote.
As the first African American and South Asian American, Kamala Harris spoke the words countless women before her worked so hard to say-
And the world heard.
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who has almost died a bunch.
Photo of My Sister and I.
I wasn’t myself last Friday. I was too blunt. I didn’t listen. I felt restless. Most of all I felt tired. So, I slept for 12 hours straight.
Yep. In a world that idolizes productivity, I laid like a slug and did nothing but sucked up time.
Sunday, I felt sad and restless. Monday even sadder. What?! Me? A motivational speaker who teaches people how to be happy? Yep. And I was fine with it.
You can’t love without loss.
I walked outside a lot Sunday and Monday thinking about daffodils and little girls in Easter dresses. Boys running rampant grabbing candy filled eggs. Grandparents in their Sunday best asking, “What?” every 5 seconds on the sofa.
How different this year will be.
No half-eaten ham left on the table. No tiny colorful candy wrappers scattered on the floor where the kids counted their candy. No shoving the leftover deviled eggs in the refrigerator, so no one gets food poisoning. No fruit filled jello mold-which truthfully, I’m fine with.
We all have rituals this time of year. Whether it’s celebrating the Passover, listening to elderly “Mrs. So and So” sing hymns way to loud at the back of the choir, or listening to your drunk Uncle’s conspiracy theory tangents for a pleasant holiday meal.
We come together this time of year, different cultures, races, religions, and celebrate traditions that make us unique- but also make us one.
Yet-here we are. April 2020.
Now every blog writer, motivational speaker, etc., knows here is where I insert the BUT and spin everything into a positive take away for you in order to keep you reading.
But I’m not going to do that….yet. I’m going to take it a step further.
Stay with me. (I promise this gets to be about you soon.)
As I said, life is about love. You can’t love without loss.
When you hear older people reflect on their regrets in life, it’s usually about chasing after things that didn’t matter or choosing the safer route in their day to day living. Choosing career over children. Choosing protection over pursuit. Choosing being right over relationship.
Looking back, they know something many of us don’t know. It’s something you won’t hear about from those with a “success mindset”, either.
Life is really about love. Love is a driving force in all of our lives from birth to death.
We long to be loved despite our flaws. We strive to love other people despite their flaws…or the cost. We long for a loving community. A loving world.
Real religion is about love. Relationships are about love. We are born needing, wanting, and thriving on love.
This is not wishful thinking. Most of the choices we make are bound by one thing-to be loved or to display our love.
We want to be beautiful, successful, thinner, wealthier. Why? So that we’re “easier to love”.
We work, we sacrifice. Why? For those we love.
Love risks, and most often, requires loss. Loss of self. Loss of security. Loss of time. Loss of control. Loss of the ability to prevent ourselves from experiencing pain.
In my faith as a Christian, we celebrate Easter as the ultimate example of love-Jesus’ love. A love that displayed the ultimate loss – life itself on a cross.
Real love is a unique combination of sorrow and satisfaction. Service and sacrifice. Beauty and brokenness. Loyalty and freedom. Life giving and soul wrenching.
We’ve experienced this perhaps with a parent or grandparent. In loving a child. A spouse. The military. A neighbor. A friend.
And now by healthcare workers across the globe.
Many of us are experiencing loss right now. Loss of stability. Loss of routines. Loss of a job. Loss of face to face relationships. Loss of identity. Loss of a sense of purpose. Unfortunately, some are also facing the heart wrenching loss of a loved one.
Now truer than ever is the ol’ line, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
If you are experiencing the feelings of loss or grief-it may be because you loved something you didn’t even know you loved.
Loss is often mixed with sorrow. I looked up the origins of word “sorrow” and according to etymononline.com, it comes from words meaning, “grief, regret, anxiety” and “illness”.
If you find yourself-especially during this time of celebration-struggling with anxiety, grief, regret, or a sense of loss, it may be a sign that shows you- you loved.
You loved your family despite how maddening they are. You love the work involved in setting up a holiday and celebrating it. You loved the traditions that make it uniquely yours.
You loved your job even though you thought you hated it. You loved your freedom to walk among people without fear. You loved your friends. You loved your family. You loved a lot of things about your life.
You loved. And this is a good thing.
When people say to focus on the positive but you find yourself with unexplainable sadness or feelings of anxiety or loss, this means you are a human who has loved fully and for a time- have lost much. And this is ok.
Now, for the part I promised-the bright side. Back to my Christian faith-Jesus loved to the point of losing His life. He did it to bring life-a more abundant life.
During this season we may struggle with loss but it is just a season.
Next year, when the daffodils bloom, the brightly colored candy jar is filled, children are running amuck, and people are arguing in the living room, we will have a new take-a new life on old traditions.
We will have the gift of gratitude. We often discover gratitude during loss. Studies show gratitude is a key ingredient to a living a long-term happy life.
All of the things we took for granted will appear different now. Things that aren’t meaningful fall to wayside. Appreciating the small will become a large part of who we as individuals and even a nation can become.
You’ve lost because you’ve loved. With loss comes gratitude. With gratitude comes love.
This is the cycle that makes life both rich and beautiful.
This is why when I go for my walks I am ok with being a little sad. I recognize it’s a part of the process. Because with death of the old comes new life. Life more abundant.
My Easter prayer this year is that you will discover:
What it is you have loved.
What it is you have lost.
What it is you have to be grateful for.
So that this time next year-you will have a more abundant, happy, rich, and meaningful life.
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who has almost died a bunch.
Have a mom or wife or S.O. in your life you don’t always understand? Does she seem like she’s losing it during quarantine?
Helping bring peace into your home by explaining the “Top 5 Most Misunderstood Mom Phrases”.
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who’s almost died a bunch. Learn more here.
I’ve almost died before. I don’t recommend trying it. It’s not that fun.
I’ve also lost a marriage, a job, a home, and support system all in three week’s time. I also don’t recommend that.
Due to tremendous rapid loss, as well as almost dying a bunch more, I was diagnosed with PTSD and went through severe depression.
Yet here we are where many people are, or will be, experiencing exactly what I’ve been through with job loss, health crisis, and life altering circumstances in an extremely short amount of time.
Right now is a being touted as a “perfect time” to write a book, develop a course, start a hobby, and a myriad of other things to “start doing”.
I see a little of what’s to come from learning what is now mostly behind me.
Here’s why I’m not trying to be productive during Covid-19.
Keeping things simple means less stress. Stress suppresses the immune system and can trigger a whole host of other problems. It can make you physically, mentally and emotionally sick.
To say most people are experiencing an unprecedented amount of stress right now is probably an understatement.
Three weeks ago we were lapping up our lattes while our kids were galivanting around in a thing called, “school”.
Now we’re counting cases, tripping over toys, wondering what to sell, and debating if we should divorce now or wait and see if Covid strikes.
Too much change, with too little time to process, and too much uncertainty is more than enough to switch on the ol’ fight or flight response.
We are all fighting for normalcy, getting a grasp on the unknown, fear of illness or death for ourselves or our loved ones, and fear of financial instability for basic needs. It’s a fight for life.
When people say, “don’t panic”, they’re basically saying, “don’t be human”. It’s normal to be stressed, anxious or afraid. It’s ok to have those feelings-as long as you don’t stay in that mental or emotional space for too long.
Acknowledge your negative feelings. Take a moment to feel them. Then move forward or take a step back. (Fight-or flight.) Whatever you need to do to gain a better sense of control.
You can’t be “productive” if you’re stressed. You also won’t make sound, logical decisions which are important when taking on new projects. (Hence insane toilet paper hoarding. Not logical. Hoarding cheese, wine and chocolate-now that’s a different story in my book.)
I’ve learned to listen to my body’s AND my mind’s alarm bells. I’m a flighter. I’ll be the first to run and hide under the covers. When my body or emotions are sending me signals, I take a step back. I don’t push forward. Productivity requires pushing forward.
Some people want to work and be productive for a sense of normalcy and also something to look forward to. A goal, project, new things to focus on to help detract and distract from what’s going on around them.
I did that. For a very long time. Here’s why I don’t recommend it:
When you constantly remain distracted or bulldoze through-when you do finally fall apart-it’s brutal. Disastrous. You’ll find yourself completely unprepared mentally or emotionally for the flood of pent up feelings or thoughts you refused to allow yourself to deal with as it was happening.
Instead, I recommend sticking your toe in the water EVERY morning. If you’re feeling good, and working on a new project brings you peace or joy, then move forward.
If you’re pushing yourself emotionally, mentally, or physically-STOP. Listen to your body and mind. What does it need to process what is happening around you? Quiet? Rest? An intense workout? Socializing? A Plan? Then do that instead.
Slow your productivity so that you can forge out a new trail of living. You’re used to producing on a well paved highway that requires little thought or adaption. You were most likely living on autopilot.
You’ve suddenly been forced to now stare at an “off the beaten path” of what daily life looks like. A path that’s not forged yet. You can’t run full speed on an ungroomed trail. It takes time and work to build the trail first.
Build the trail of your new normal first. Don’t clutter it up with projects that will cause you new stress or even more levels of uncertainty.
There’s a lot of mental work, physical strain, and emotional re-routing that takes place when dealing with a lot of change. Give your body and mind grace with this.
Rather than focusing on new projects or getting “caught up” I’ve focused my energy elsewhere. First and most important, I’m taking care of my mind and body. Second, I’m experimenting on trying new routines, priorities, and giving myself grace through all of it.
Here’s some ways I’m doing that to put myself in the best possible state of mind to handle the physical stress of uncertainty and change.
1. I stopped setting my alarm until my kids’ online school starts. Stress is hard on the body. Your body needs healing time. Most days I still wake up around the normal time but a few of those days I slept 10 hours straight.
2. I walk outside every day. Sunshine and nature calm the stress response beautifully. It rejuvenates me and boosts my creativity.
3. I make relationships the #1 priority. My family and people I care about come first. It’s not always this way, but in times of crisis, this is THE thing that matters most. Everything else can wait.
4. I’ve whittled down my work priorities to just three things and only three things. These things are what’s required, what brings me the most satisfaction, and what I’m the best at. Everything else will wait. (Yes! In times of crisis in your business you “should” focus on what brings you money now. When you’re laying in a hospital bed, as I have, money doesn’t matter much. You need your health, your mind, your relationships to get through. Period.)
5. I don’t think about what “needs to get done”. Instead I test out certain times of day to try different things. My focus is more on my “training” (like an athlete). I’m working on the skills of working vs running the race now. After just under 2 weeks, I have a good handle on what’s working for me. Things are kicking in easier, as well as being more balanced and focused.
6. I do what’s right for me, so I can do right by my friends, work and family. You can’t do right when it comes to others if you’re stressed, angry, anxious, or sick. You need to focus on your own health in all areas so that you’re available and ready for those who need you.
7. I don’t freak out over being inconvenienced. Most of the time we as humans, get frustrated or angry because someone has inconvenienced us. You get mad at your kids because they inconvenienced you. Same with your significant other. The person at the grocery store, etc. It’s a waste of negative energy on your end. So they got in your way or caused you more work. In the grand scope of what’s happening right now, who cares??? You’re going to have to work harder and deal with more for a time. Your comfort or convenience is not your “end all” right now. Getting through it the best you can is. You’ll be a better person for it.
The truth is, when 2020 is over, the world is not going to “return to normal” and hopefully you won’t either. Instead, there will be a “new normal”.
The quicker you can learn the skills to adapt by taking the time to process your feelings and emotions as they come, experimenting with your routine, and embracing rapid change instead of fighting it, the better for you.
If you want to be healthy and productive in the long run,
Yes, I could be richer financially if I pushed out a new project, but at what cost? I’m focusing instead on being richer in wisdom, relationships, health and skill of living. You can’t make money lying in a hospital bed. Trust me. I’ve been there.
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Stacy Pederson is a funny motivational Keynote Speaker, who’s almost died a bunch.
Let’s be honest, life has taken a sharp turn from where we were just a few short weeks ago. Many of us find ourselves working from home for the first time WITH our kids underfoot.
If you find yourself tripping over laundry, sharing a desk with your three-year-old’s cheerios, and seething quietly at your significant other, all while getting nonstop texts from your boss or co-worker-these work from home tips are for you.
First, I’ve worked from home for several years with a plethora of children. I normally scoff at “work from home” articles because they make too many assumptions.
“Create a Workspace”. “Minimize Distractions”. “Turn the TV off”. “Create a set schedule.” This is great if you’re a robot or live alone. Many of us don’t have time, space, or silence in our homes.
Here’s some real work from home tips you won’t hear anywhere else.
1a. Ignore the idea of “morning me time” and “set schedules” if you are not wired that way.
Morning people have no problem making “me time” in the mornings. Night people do. If we asked morning people to make 8-10 pm the time to do their most difficult tasks of the day, they’d think we’re nuts. Yet this work from home tip is touted everywhere in regards to making early mornings the time to do your most productive work.
“Set” your schedule to what works best for your own body and your own family life. If you know you are completely worthless between the hours of 2pm-4pm, embrace it. Do other tasks. Go for a walk. Prep dinner. Take a 20-minute nap. Don’t plow through. It’s a waste of your time and your company’s money because you won’t be productive.
“Set hours” from 8 am -5 pm also may not work for your kids. If you know they fall apart and start fighting around 3 pm-(Ok more like 8:00 am, 8:10 am, 8:35am…) there’s no point in yelling for the next 45 minutes. (I’ve tried it with zero positive results.) Instead, stop working during that time each day and engage with them.
1b. You’ll Struggle with Motivating Yourself to Work- Especially with the World Burning Down Around You.
If you are a person who is super chill or freaking out, you may find yourself waking up at 11 am after binge watching, “Baby Ballroom” and crying yourself to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. You’re going to need some motivation. Like a paycheck as your motivation.
Here’s the simplest motivation mantra you can use, “I’m never going to want to work-so I might as well do it anyway.”
So easy. Totally works. “I’m never going to want to exercise, eat healthy…be your friend…”
In addition, give yourself grace because you will be under a tremendous amount of new stress. You are unable to think clearly and be “productive” when you are stressed.
You hear this advice over and over again, but it works. Take a deep breath. Several. All the time. Anytime you start to feel anxious or angry. Breathe.
AND, get outside in the fresh air if you can for at least 20 minutes. (That’s easy for me to say since I live in Colorado.) However, if you have a balcony, rooftop-anything, get outside. It boosts your vitamin D, your serotonin levels, and will calm you down.
If you can’t go outside, I love the “Calm” app.
Do yoga…with the dog and your kids in your face-it works great. Just don’t be shocked when you’re doing a “Downward Facing Dog” and you get a glimpse of what’s living under your couch.
2. Communicate with Your Boss Regarding Expectations, Boundaries, Etc.
In a perfect world, because this is a unique time, there should be some flexibility and space for growth, failure and adjustments. If your boss has no idea how to manage remotely here are some great questions to ask:
-Can I adapt the hours I work to find the right rhythm for my job while balancing my family? I think these times work best….
-Can I adapt the times if we find they are not working?
-What is the best way to communicate? (Text, email, phone call, Slack, etc.)
-If I get a text or email from you at random hours when I’m not scheduled to work, are you expecting an immediate reply, or can I respond when I’m “back on the clock”?
-What is the best way for us to communicate with each other to let you to know I’m getting my work done, etc.? (Example, weekly one on one zoom call, end of the day completed task list, etc.)
-Because this is a new and challenging time, if I find I’m a struggling with balancing everything or adapting, who do I talk to? Are there resources for me through HR, etc.?
Just like all relationships communication is key. Also, just like all relationships, unmet or unclear expectations are a relationship killer. Addressing these types of questions upfront can help “flatten the curve” when it comes to miscommunication, hurt feelings, or resentment.
AND, if you find yourself now communicating only with email, texts or a project management software-feelings will get hurt. Exclamation points, curt responses, etc., are breeding grounds for miscommunication. Having that group discussion upfront regarding the need to give everyone the “benefit of the doubt” in their communication, can once again, help “flatten the curve”.
3. Banish the Idea of a Monday-Friday Work Week or a Definitive Line Between Work and Home Time if it Doesn’t Work for You.
If you have the ability to set your own hours or work for yourself, you may find with kids at home it’s easier to work less per day with a longer week.
I work most days for fewer hours. It works best with my kid’s schedules, the fact I’m on the road speaking a lot, needing creative time, or I’m simply mentally or physically exhausted. (I’ve almost died a bunch so I listen to my mind and body.)
My work life is more fluid and a lifestyle, as opposed to a structured schedule. This works for me.
If you’re structured-I almost just made you spit out your coffee with this work from home tip. Not everyone operates best-especially at home-with high amounts of structure. A certain amount of freedom for some people is not just for fun-it’s actually important to their overall mental health. Be open to the fact people operate differently.
4. You’ll Get Lonely, Overwhelmed and Make Bad Choices.
High amounts of change in a short amount of time with zero time to process, is a recipe for some hardcore mental/emotional struggles.
If you’re an extrovert, the initial excitement of nixing your commute while working in PJ’s will quickly wain when you realize your lonely and have no one to talk to. Recognize this WILL be an issue for you. Set up “coffee dates”, “Game Nights”, “Girl’s Night In”, via video.
In regard to work, a “happy hour” Friday’s at 4 pm may be a great way to wrap up each week with your team to check in and see how everyone is doing and set the game plan for the following week.
If you’re an introvert, the crowded house with lack of ability to process or take in your surroundings may cause you to have moments of complete overwhelm. A movie, laying down for 20 minutes, or locking yourself in the bathroom with a book for 30 minutes may be a saving grace. (Pro-tip: If you lock yourself in the bathroom shove a rug under the crack so the kids don’t slip their toys, fingers and notes under. Then put your earphones on so you can’t hear them whisper and breathe since their faces will be smashed up against the door….)
You may overeat. Over exercise. Over drink. Over yell. Under work. Under communicate. Under- get out of bed. You’re probably going to have some meltdowns…daily.
When you find yourself “over” or “under” anything you’re trying to medicate your negative emotions.
When you’re starting to shove your hand down the chip bag, or start to clean the kitchen counter for the 307th time that morning-STOP and take note of your emotions.
-Acknowledge that it is OK to feel the way you feel.
-Give yourself a certain amount of time to be angry, sad, scared, etc. It can be 10 minutes. Even a day.
-When your literal time is up, it’s time to pull up your bootstraps and get back out there and deal. No excuses. Eat the chips while cleaning the kitchen counter….in moderation.
5. The House Will Drive You Crazy.
WARNING: I’m going to make a politically incorrect comment on this work from home tip. (I also acknowledge that I’m not addressing single parents in this portion. I was a single Mom for a bit. It’s hard. VERY hard. That’s for another article.)
Back to being politically incorrect: My firsthand experience with the men in my life is MOST (not all) men can work and not think twice about the house being a mess.
My husband has ZERO problem grabbing his laptop and guitar and heading to the basement to work while the house is in utter turmoil.
I cannot work when I know there’s dishes rotting on the counter, laundry that needs to be changed, crumbs on the floor…and divorce papers that need to be filed….I just can’t. With kids at home 24/7 this is a legit problem.
On the other hand, my husband can’t work with music playing, chaos, etc. He goes down in the quiet. I can tune it out.
A nicely decorated, distraction free, dedicated workspace is great if you have time and money. Most of us don’t. Think outside of the office box. If you need distraction free, can your garage, laundry room (yes, laundry room) or even bed work?
If there’s simply no place, can you rotate hours with your significant other of 2-hour shifts of child/house care, while the other works? One gets the bedroom, while the other works on the schooling and the mess.
As far as household chores, with kids at home, the chores are never done. Here’s some things we do at my house:
-My husband and I both spend 30 minutes of housework before we “go to work” in the morning.
-We split the housework based on what we “both don’t mind doing”. Neither one of us has the “I love housework” gene. Instead, we break it down by what he doesn’t mind doing too much, and what I don’t mind too much. Then we negotiate on the “we both hate doing that”. Oddly enough, I love doing yardwork. He hates it. He doesn’t mind bathrooms. I hate it. Saturdays he’s cleaning toilets and I’m working on the lawn and we “both don’t mind doing it”.
-I get up and move around as a reward to myself every 90 minutes. During those 10 or 20 minutes I rotate the laundry, let the dogs out, do the dishes, etc.
-At night, when all the kids were still here, we had a “20 minute clean up time”. We set the timer for 20 minutes from 8:00 pm – 8:20 pm. Everyone was responsible for picking up their own items from the main living areas. (Kitchen, living room, bathrooms, etc.) If there was any time left, they spent it on their rooms. We always got everything picked up because there was 7 of us. 7 x 20 literally saved me hours of time.
Keep the end in mind. I used to clean non-stop and I still get distracted. With most of the kids graduated, looking back those times of household chaos really are sweet memories. I miss the matchbox cars and playdough crumbs all over the floor. Someday you’re house will be too clean. Like your Grandma’s house that smelled of mold and Pledge. Recognize it’s hard, but remember it’s temporary. Too temporary.
6. You will Hate Your Spouse, Roommate, Children, or Significant Other…Maybe Even the Cat. (The Cat Already Hates You So the Feeling Will Be Mutual.)
Everyone’s struggling with sudden change and everyone will handle it differently. This means the best AND the worse will come out of all of us. You will hate everyone and everything at certain points-especially your spouse or significant other.
My work from home tip, before the big blow outs-know it’s coming and make it fun.
-Have a talk where you openly acknowledge things are a wee bit stressful during this time.
-Share the negative side of how you handle stress. (This could be you get angry, depressed, withdrawn, lash out.) If you unsure how you handle it poorly, I’m sure your S.O. will be more than happy to share the negative side of you.
-Then really think about what it is that you need during those moments. Do you need to go in a room and do 20 minutes of push-ups to physically get the anger out? Do you need to go scream in your pillow, or have a good 10-minute cry? Once you’ve come up with some ideas, let everyone in the house know. This way, when you blow up or completely shut down, they know what’s happening and to leave you alone to go do what you need to do.
-One fun idea is to write each person’s name (or have your kids’ draw each of you) on separate pieces of paper. Then post it on the fridge or a wall. Have another piece of paper that says, “Today I feel”, and have strips of paper with emoji faces on it. Everyone posts what they’re feeling each morning. (Passive aggressive tip: you can always stomp over mid-day and change it while staring at the person who’s making you crazy.)
This can be a non-threatening way to get a pulse on how everyone is doing. It’s fun for the kids, but it will also give you a world of insight on each of your family members.
-I know this seems weird, but the above idea is also a great way to check in on your team if you are a boss or a manager. You can have everyone at a set time in the morning do a “today I’m feeling” and then text a gif. It can be fun, but you’ll also know who to check in on.
It may feel goofy or uncomfortable to you or to some on the team, but the idea is really about care. You care about them as individuals and want to support them during this time. It will also help mitigate issues and improve your bottom line. Stressed or unhappy employees aren’t productive. Cared for employees, are not only productive, but committed.
7. This Can Be the Greatest Thing That Ever Happened to You and to Your Family
My most important work from home tip:
We get lost in the day to day. Most of us don’t “live” we just survive our list of “to do’s”.
Family life is the same. It’s carpool, work, groceries, cleaning. Now amidst all the chaos of everyone home, or the loneliness of just being with yourself, this is an opportunity to learn about yourself and those you’ve taken for granted.
You are about to learn so much you didn’t know about one another, including yourself. This is a good thing.
Yesterday, I saw a mom walking her school age son up the road. He was having so much fun, because it was something special. Being together. Just him and his Mom. Between work and school-they normally wouldn’t have that precious time.
These moments for our kids can be life changing. Make these moments count.
If you are alone, now is a really great time to evaluate yourself, what you want/need in your life, relationships, work, etc. Write the life out you want. Take a hard look at what needs to change.
When the clouds part and the sun begins to peeks through again, my hope is that people will slowly enter back into life knowing what truly matters. Just like I did the first time I got up out of the hospital bed.
Your relationships at work, home, friends, and extended family can be what makes life both bitter and sweet. Acknowledge the bitter but choose the sweet.
These next weeks can be the greatest thing that ever happened to you by being around those you love and stretching yourself to be a better person.
Sending you literal well wishes.
Kindly, Stacy P.
PS Struggling with productivity or anxiety during Covid? Here’s a helpful blog post.
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Funny Motivational Keynote Speaker. If you need help navigating your workforce through stressful times click HERE:
Watch Stacy in action:
I spent a weekend with uber successful people and I learned some habits and common character traits they all share.
First, a little about me. I didn’t rub elbows around “successful” people in the way we tend to think of “success”. (More on that later.)
Here’s Me: ↓
Here’s the house I grew up in: ↓
Currently 77% of students attending the school district I grew up in are on free or reduced lunch with test scores far below the nationwide average. (Hence-my inability to spell.)
Poverty was pervasive, but my positivity propelled me forward.
Here’s me ↓ on my 21st birthday exposed to the “high life”:
Here’s me now ↓: (On a good day…with photoshop.)
I went to college. Did well. Went through some challenges. Almost died a bunch. Now I do some crazy things far beyond what I ever thought was possible.
However, you can see from the above photos, “success” was not handed to me. It often feels like a foreign concept.
What is success anyway?
I define success as living a life that is congruent to who you are as an individual. That’s a fancy way of saying living a life that makes you happy because it embraces who you are and what matters to you. This looks different for all types of people and I admire that.
I’ve sat with people in their doublewide trailers who were happy. They were successful in living a life that honored them and their families. I’ve also sat in many multi-million dollar mansions and experienced the same. We’re all human. We’re all trying to figure this “life” thing out. Success looks different for all of us.
However, for today’s purposes, I’m defining success as those who have done well in their businesses and careers.
I’ve met a lot of successful people in my life. Celebrities. Writers. Athletes. This past weekend was jam packed full of them. I’ve noticed a difference in habits and character traits of those who are successful in their business compared to many who I grew up with.
Here’s 10 things I’ve learned from hanging out with successful people:
1. Successful People are Really Really Good at What They Do.
Here’s me ↓ last weekend with successful person #1, Michelle Robinson.
Michelle has written a gajillion books and runs a top-notch marketing company. She’s also a freaking genius when it comes to publishing. She’s not just good at what she does-she’s REALLY good.
Successful athletes, business owners, speakers, etc., aren’t satisfied with being mediocre. They don’t rely on their natural talent alone. They take their natural talent and push themselves to be better.
Successful people are on a continuous journey of learning followed by putting what they’ve learned into practice. This constant state of striving for improvement means they’re not just good- they’re excellent at what they do.
2. Successful People Under-Promise and Over-Deliver.
Michelle was scheduled to spend three hours with me. She spent seven. She way over-delivered. Now DON’T go hiring her and expecting her to do the same for you. I’m sharing that because I find truly successful people put the customer first. They genuinely care about the customer’s outcome over their own pocket-book.
Are you over-delivering in your business? If not, what areas can you begin to deliver more value than promised that won’t overtax you? What area can you over deliver that makes you, your customer, and your overall business better?
3. Successful People Have Fun!
Jeff and I with successful person, Michelle, and successful person #2, Michelle’s husband-Kevin, singing Karaoke. ↓
Burnout sucks. I’ve been there. Many successful people have been there, too. They’ve pushed their businesses to the point of personal break down.
Because of this, successful people make time to enjoy THOSE they love and doing WHAT they love outside of their business.
You can, in fact, work yourself to death. Success is not about a high profit company. Success is about being a whole person in ALL ways.
4. Successful People Have Overcome.
Every successful person I’ve met has a story. That story is usually not a positive one. Successful people have failed. Lost money. Lost marriages. Lost relationships with their kids. Lost their identity. Lost hope.
Yet, they’ve learned to overcome. Something happened where they were able flip the switch from flat on their face to rising to first place.
Overcoming is a skill that requires street smarts. It’s something you can’t learn from the comfy of your phone. You have to live it out. And it’s usually pretty painful.Click to tweet
This makes success sweeter. Which is why:
5. Successful People Appreciate What They Have Even When They’re Striving for More.
6. Successful People Have LOTS of Energy.
After a full day of business and fun, I spent the next morning teaching speaking skills to a group of highly successful people. (I forgot to take a picture.) They fully encapsulate the habits and character traits I share.
Next, we were off to a lunch with successful person #15. (3-14 were in the speaking class.) Successful person #15 Esther Spina.
Here’s me ↓with Esther…I looked and felt rough.
I like this ↓ highly filtered picture better.
I will not share Esther’s age. Let me just say-it makes Jennifer Anniston and Jennifer Lopez look like child’s play. You would NEVER guess her age. Not only because of the way she looks-but because of her energy.
The very first potluck I ever went to with successful people was VERY different from the country church potlucks I grew up with. There were no “Ms. Fanny’s Baked Beans”, “Aunt Helen’s Butter Mac & Cheese”, or a slew of desserts topped with good ‘ol Cool Whip.
Instead, there was a variety of fruits, vegetables, salads, humus, fish (sushi), nuts, a little whiskey and wine and that about sums it up.
Successful people take care of their bodies through diet and exercise-not simply to look a part-but to keep their energy levels up. They know that diet and exercise affects their performance level just like an athlete.
Most successful people I know are avid runners, bicyclists, skiers, golfers, or travelers. (I know because I see their Facebook posts from my couch.) They do so to keep sharp, de-stress, and be at their best.
7. Successful People Are All About Relationships.
They say it’s “who you know” and there is truth to that. However, not in the way you may think.
Most successful people I’ve met have wanted to introduce me to someone they felt could help my business. Successful people are connectors.
Rarely, if ever, do successful people become successful completely on their own. They had mentors, teachers, etc., who helped guide them. They love doing the same for others.
It absolute thrills me when I get to connect people knowing they’re a great fit for each other’s businesses.
There is a HUGE difference between USING people to get ahead vs. VALUING relationships. (Key word: “value”.)
8. Successful People Are Givers.
The next morning my husband and I headed out to spend the day with successful people #’s 16 – A LOT. Including someone I deeply admire – THE Jeanne Robertson.
Jeanne was having a show in Denver.
My Husband and I ↓
Backstage with ↓ good friends AND Jeanne.
Scott Friedman (the successful nice guy in the yellow) had thrown Jeanne a birthday party the night before. Jeanne (as legend told) performed at her own birthday party and then proceeded to give advice on the speaking business to those who came to celebrate her. She is a giver.
Scott is a giver-he gave me the tickets to her show!
While backstage, Jeanne explained to us what stories she would share and why, and mentored/gave advice on her business. She did this up until they told her she HAD to get changed because the show was going to start.
Highly successful people give willingly and freely the wisdom they have learned through their own trials and success.
The two key elements that have brought me to a certain level of success is: 1. I have always valued and taken advice. 2. I’ve given back freely to whoever I could.
Successful people pass the baton to the individuals who will take their industry to the next level.Click to tweet
9. Successful People Are Positive Open-Minded Thinkers.
After the show, we went to dinner. I sat with a famous athlete, a New York Times best seller, and someone who runs a trophy worthy non-profit that does a whole lot of good in this world. I forgot to take a picture…
Casual conversation can be interesting between successful people. The two things that are consistently prevalent are positivity and an unusually amount of open-mindedness.
Successful people are open to new ways of thinking or doing. They also consistently believe the best is yet to come. Instead of concentrating on protecting what they have out of the belief someone is out to the get them. (i.e. the government, other businesses, people with different views in general) they focus on possibilities.
Conversations center around new business ideas, technologies, family, or goals for the upcoming year.
If controversial topics come up, such as the dreaded conversation/relationship killer-politics-there’s a genuine desire to hear from the other person’s point of view. I like this trait.
10. Success is a Lifestyle.
We’ve all heard of those who have won the lottery or received a huge settlement and then, sadly, a few years later have lost it. Perhaps this is because success appears to be a lifestyle not a place of arrival.
Age does not seem to dictate when a successful person ends their career. Rather it’s a time and place for new possibilities. I hear it over and over again in conversations with successful people. They’re starting new businesses, creating new goals, making shifts, but they have zero desire to quit living in the way they’ve lived. This doesn’t mean financially, this means in their day to day life.
Striving for improvement, consistently learning, trying new things, taking time for fun, valuing relationships, taking care of one’s body, navigating new challenges, being grateful, being open-minded, being a generous person are all lifestyle related. It has nothing to do with numbers.
Here’s the kicker:
Studies show the above character traits are key elements to becoming a happier person. These same traits also lower stress. By adopting the above, you have the potential of creating and running a successful business AND living a happier, less stressed, life. Who doesn’t want that?
If you choose to adopt the above traits and habits you’ll be the next successful person I’ll have the pleasure of being around. (You’ll have to remind me to take a selfie with you. I always forget.)
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Funny Motivational Keynote Speaker. She’s almost died a bunch. She loves to be hired for events, so….if you’ve got one-click HERE: