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Here are 50 simple things you can do to care for yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic. I asked my friends and colleagues on Facebook and LinkedIn, “What is one thing you’re doing to care for yourself now?” Here are some of their responses.
“Walking outdoors in the fresh, cool morning air. Playing my acoustic guitar, which had been gathering dust for years. Hope and getting back to basics are what’s going to see us through.” Greg Ralls
“Building an online program on how to build an online program.” Allison Graham
“Practic pilates, bai cu sare si urmaresc Romanii au Talent.” (”Practicing Pilates, taking salt baths and watching Romania’s Got Talent.”) Diana Iosu
“Picking my weights back up.” Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher
“Turning off cable news except an hour a day. I am a total news junkie but at some point it does me more harm than good.” Alan Samuel Cohen
“Attempting to practice hot yoga in my bathroom (space heater and steam shower). It’s pretty hard with two children in the house.” Sarah Purifoy
“Laughing out loud whenever possible, I think a good laugh is like a massage for our innards.” Wendl Kornfeld
“Tenho cozinhado e desinfectado a casa. Ainda hoje, fiz uma sopa saudável portuguesa onde usei carne de vaca, batatas, couve, feijão vermelho, tomate, cenoura, e alho e, tambem fiz um bolo de maçã com canela – tudo comida de conforto! Cozinhei tudo isto antes do meio dia, alem de desinfetar toda a cozinha assim que terminei.” (”I have been cooking and cleaning. Just today, I cooked a Portuguese hearty soup where I used beef, potatoes, collard greens, red kidney beans, tomatoes, carrots and garlic and, baked an apple cinnamon cake – all comfort food! I cooked all this before 12 pm and disinfected the kitchen spotless once I was done.”) Isabelle Coelho-Marques
“Going out on my deck and looking at the Bay a couple times a day to give me some fresh air and a better perspective on life because we all know life is better with a great view!” Melanie Shong Helm
“Signing up for an online cooking course and exercise class. Both things that were on the ‘I don’t have time’ list before.” Stacey Oliver-Knappe
“Taking a nap when I feel sleepy in the afternoon. A scoop of ice cream sometimes in the evening. Hugging my husband. Texting the kids and grandkids.” Maggie Colestock Kennedy
“Using hand lotion. My hands are so dry from hand washing!” Sharon Srut
“Drinking wine…what? It’s good for your heart!” Gary Scott Gebert
“Mowed some of the lawn today. First time this year. Relaxing.” Allen Waldo
“Cleaning my books and files. Adopted a pup from a family member.” Yvonne Hudson
“Continuing to workout. A strong immune system comes from tough, intense workouts.” Darrell Wurzbach
“Journaling. Surrounding myself with beautiful things — my dog, my favorite coffee table books, fresh flowers. I can’t remember the last time I embraced the joy of life as I am right now. I am working overtime to resist plugging into the global fear and anxiety and to instead live in the moment and be grateful for all the positive and hopeful things. I am hardly a Pollyanna. I’m just choosing to embrace light and not dark as much as I can. It is a choice.” Tony Case
“Listening to motivational podcasts.” Ingrid Priscilla Wiggberg
“Cooking, reading the Bible and enjoying music from my youth.” Marie Martin
“Doing more Facebook Lives and videos. Connecting with people by phone and having some really good conversations.” Steve Gamlin
“Meditating twice a day, 20 minutes each time.” Karen Jacobsen
“Dancing ndombolo, doing pro-bono sessions and make inspirational videos—the karma is immediate.” Regina Huber
“Adding my favorite CDs to my iPhone.” Susan Blackman
“Setting a goal of one complete task a day. Crocheting, watching documentaries and saying prayers.” Gloria Hoffner
“Exercising. Simple stuff: Push ups. Jumping jacks. Stationary bike.” Robert A Saenz
“Updating my skills to get my compliance certifications and doing jigsaw puzzles to keep me sharp.” Katie Falls
“Drumming to my favorite songs.” Your humble correspondent
What does this have to do with ethics?
Who knew ethics was such a broad topic?
This is a column about ethical leadership, so you might be wondering what any of this has to do with ethics. “It’s nice to know how people are making the best of a dire situation,” a critic could say, “but this isn’t an ethical issue.”
If you’ve been reading my work over the years, however, you’ve seen that ethics is much broader than the way it is normally presented. Yes, it concerns protecting confidentiality, preventing harm to others, and speaking up when we observe wrongdoing at work. The ethical leader takes all of things things seriously.
But ethical leaders also strive to make things better and to care. Both of these activities involve how we treat ourselves as well as other people. All of the items on the list above illustrate how some of my colleagues and friends are applying two crucial principles, Make Things Better and Care, to their own lives.
In so doing, they are also enriching the lives of others.
Calls to action
If you counted all of above strategies for self-care, you’ll see that there are only 47, not 50, as the headline states. That’s because I left three for you to fill in. Write them down. Pick one to do today. That’s the first call to action.
The second is for you to post the question, “What is one thing you’re doing to care for yourself now?,” on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. It’s a great way to find out how the people you care about are spending their time.
You’ll also some ideas for how you can make the most of this most unusual and stressful time.
At the end of her live double-CD set Road Tested, Bonnie Raitt tells the audience, “Take care of each other!”
Now, more than ever, we need to follow her advice. Let’s take care of each other. And ourselves.