Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker & Executive Presentation Coach - America's Marketing Motivator

Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker &
Executive Presentation Coach
Let's Talk. 860-371-8801 or Email me
Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker & Executive Presentation Coach - America's Marketing Motivator
Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker & Executive Presentation Coach - America's Marketing Motivator

Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker &
Executive Presentation Coach
Let's Talk. 860-371-8801 or Email me
Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker & Executive Presentation Coach - America's Marketing Motivator
Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker & Executive Presentation Coach
Kathy McAfee, Professional Speaker & Executive Presentation Coach
Let's Talk. 860-371-8801 or Email me

Creative Cures for What “Ales” You

I can’t remember being so consciously aware of a pandemic before. There have been others (click this CDC webpage to read more about past pandemics) but none that really touched my daily life. However, this COVID-19 virus is rapidly becoming a very scary, shared experience for all of us. The expression, “We are in this together” takes on new meaning.

With each news report, declaration, guideline, headline, rumor, and conversation that I overhear at the gym, I sense a growing fear and panic within. And this feeling is vaguely reminiscent. It reminds me of the meltdown that happened in 2008 when the recession began. Although it wasn’t a medical emergency, it might have well been one given the dread, fear and pain that ensued. So many people lost their jobs, livelihoods, homes, and their security. The stock market took a beating, and key industries like banking, housing, and automotive needed resuscitation. And it took some time to get back on our collective feet.

I remember one moment during 2008 when several of my big clients called to cancel upcoming work engagements. They told me that there was too much uncertainty and they needed to suspend all non-essential activity. Budgets and spending were frozen for the foreseeable future. That was an inflection point for my business and life. I realized that I had a choice. I could either sit around bemoaning the situation or I could change my attitude and my actions and find new ways to be productive and move forward (albeit slowly).

I had that same feeling today, a personal moment-of-truth. I made a decision to change my attitude to be more positive and resilient. And I wanted to help others do the same. I shall begin with this blog post. I’d like to offer my readers a dozen creative ways to redirect your time and energy during this “downtime.” We can have fun practicing social distancing. We can still be productive even if we can’t go to work in the normal way. We can still grow and improve ourselves personally and professionally during this time of uncertainty. And we can continue to look out for one another in ways that unite us. Remember, this pandemic is a shared experience. We have to get through it TOGETHER!

Try some of these approaches and activities to fill your  time during the stay-at-home/social distancing quarantine:

Be Silly. Have Fun.

I recently heard someone say that Corona beer sales were slumping due to the confusion between their brand name and the new virus. I don’t actually know if that’s true, but it made me want to support Corona beer. I’m not normally a beer drinker, but there’s something about squeezing a lime into a bottle that makes me smile. So over the weekend my husband and I enjoyed a bottle of Corona Extra (with limes) and shot this very short kitchen video. We were unscripted and playing off each other. The punch line spontaneously came at the end. We hope this silly video brings you a little levity in an otherwise serious time.

Pick up Trash

At times like this we have to redefine what entertainment looks like. I’d like to offer an unusual but productive activity that you might just enjoy doing. If you have school-aged children now at home because of school closures, consider inviting them to play along.

If you are able to go for a walk, do so. The fresh air will do you good. Bring along a few trash bags, a pair of disposable gloves, and if you want, bring one of those nifty-nabber reacher grabber tools.

As you stroll down the street, notice the litter and trash that has been carelessly discarded by someone not thinking. Ahh….this is your treasure. Pick it up and put it in your trash bag. Keep doing so until your bag is full. When you return home (or find a trash receptacle or recycling bin along the way), deposit the trash properly.

If you have kids, consider rewarding them for their collection (by volume or by weight). Or make it a competition. The kid with the most trash collected WINS!

Your results and impact will be immediately measurable. You will have done a positive community service. And for just a few minutes, your mind will have focused on something else, rather than the pandemic virus.

Rinse and repeat.

Read a Book (or two)

A friend challenged me recently to donate $1 for every book on my bookshelf. Before I agreed, I wanted to go home and count how many I had.

Just look at this book shelf! What stands out for you? Okay – very messy and could use some clean up and reorganization.

But the other Ah-Ha that I got from really looking at my bookshelf was how blessed I was to have so many books available to me.  Perusing through I saw favorite books that were very much deserving of a re-read. I saw books that have never even been opened. A learning opportunity sadly ignored.

When I think of having two weeks of “slow down,” reading books is one of the productive and enjoyable activities that immediately comes to mind. If you have kids at home, make reading a family activity.

Of course, we have to discipline ourselves to stay off social media and turn off notifications of news reports that continuously distract us, and then drag us back into depression mode.

Books are a great source of inspiration, ideas, history, learning, and personal growth. What books have you been ignoring? They are calling you from your bookshelf. They are saying, “PICK ME UP. OPEN ME. READ ME. I promise to carry you away to great new places in your imagination. You will love it.”

Sharpen Your Skills

Sign up for a webinar or online course to master a new skill. Could be a professional skill or a personal hobby or interest. Perhaps now is a great time to learn how to deliver your services virtually. Check out NetSpeed Learning Solutions. Last year I completed their Virtual Facilitator Certification Course. It was excellent and has boosted my skills and confidence in converting live training programs into virtual programs. Their next course runs April-May. They offer it again June/July. Imagine coming away from the COVID-19 crisis with new capabilities of a highly skilled virtual leader. Might make you more prepared for the next crisis. Watch this short video to learn more.

Do Your Taxes

Hard to make this fun, but… If you are like me,  you might be having a little trouble finding the time (or motivation) to do your tax preparation. Good news! You now have two weeks to focus on it. Get it done. April 15th is around the corner.

Remember JFK’s famous line, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Perhaps he was really talking about paying your taxes (on time).

Clean Your House

If you are stuck at home what else are you going to do? Watch TV or play video games all day? BORING. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you will feel after eradicating all of those dust bunnies hiding in plain sight? Or eliminating the germs and grim that have set up shop in your bathroom and kitchen? Grab the spray bottle with cleaning solution and have at it. That mess doesn’t stand a chance against you. You are a relentless cleaning machine!

Re-organize Your Filing Cabinet

If removing something from your business office cabinet cabinet feels like trying to squeeze into an old pair of jeans, it’s time to take action. Good news! You don’t have to eat less and exercise to improve this situation. You just have to apply the S-P-O principle of de-cluttering.

  • S = Sort l (put like with like);
  • P = Purge (Get rid of old, unnecessary papers. Recommend shredding documents with financial or client information);
  • O = Organize (put things back in a more logical, easy to find order);

Find Out What’s In Your Pantry

With everyone racing to the stores to stock up on toilet paper and other basic necessities, I encourage everyone to take stock of what you have. When was the last time you looked in your pantry, or freezer, or storage closet? There are likely items there you bought during the last pending disaster. Always shop at home first. Get creative and find ways to make sure of what is already in your possession.

Clean Your Closet

Out with the old means more room for what you really wear. Much like our filing cabinets, our closets and drawers are overloaded with things we don’t wear and haven’t worn in years and years. Consider what percentage of your wardrobe hasn’t been worn in the last 12 months? This 2018 study that suggests people do not wear at least 50 percent of their wardrobes. Other quoted statistics show that most women wear 20 – 30% of their wardrobes. What a waste (or an opportunity)!

Why hang on to the past? Why not release these garments back into circulation? There are plenty of wonderful organizations that would gladly take your gently worn clothes and give them a new home. Of course, some garments may be better suited as garage rags or dog bath towels. But get them out of your closet.

The net result you want is more open SPACE in your closet. Remaining garments that make the cut should be given a little more room to hang and wait for you to select them. Density in your closet is like density in big cities. It creates problems.

Plant a Tree. Pull Some Weeds.

You may not have noticed, but Spring is coming. It’s my favorite season of all. If you can take your eyes off your smartphone for a moment, you might notice that the trees are starting to bud out. Notice the hint of red in the Maple trees, or the flowering pear trees in the burst of color. And how about those daffodils? Spectacular!

My husband Byron and I have been busy getting our garden ready for Spring. We planted two Asian Pear fruit trees and one Swamp White Oak tree this past weekend. We pulled our fair share of weeds trying to take root in our flower beds. Perhaps the most rewarding activity was the removal of invasive vines, dead branches, and misguided growth that is now no longer. For two hours we toiled happily in our garden, completely unaware of the pandemic crisis. Being outside in nature, even for short periods of time, has such a cathartic effect on my soul.

Write a Book

My last suggestion for a highly productive activity that will completely take your mind off things is to write a book. If not a book, then write a blog or a guest blog for someone who has an established blog. If not a blog, write an article or a poem, or a short story. Put your creative writing hat on and express yourself. Share what you know.

You may be thinking “That’s going to take forever to write a book or manuscript!” It need not take that long. In 2018 Mark LeBlanc and I wrote 90% of our co-authored book, Defining You, over one weekend. Also, we did it virtually as he lives in Minneapolis and I live in South Carolina. A few weeks later, when we realized we needed another expert to round out the book, we called on Henry DeVries to contribute the last section of the book. He did that in less than 3 days. You see, great things can be accomplished if you put your mind to it, challenge yourself, and have someone else hold you accountable. Is there a book inside of you just waiting to come out?

Oh, and Wash Your Hands

Watch this fun and informative video. It will get you moving and grooving and washing your hands properly. Also read this article about how washing your hands with soap and water “absolutely annihilated the coronavirus.” Here’s where I purchase my bar soap – the best in the world, I think. A Wild Bar. Try the Seaweed or Yucca Root bars. They are fantastic for the hands!

p.s. Please leave a REPLY to let me know how you are creatively and productively using your time and energy during the COVID-19 virus outbreak shutdown.

6 Responses to “Creative Cures for What “Ales” You”

  1. Nancy Anton

    Attitude is everything! Hard to believe we all need to just stay safe and wait this out! I did my closet and it felt great. Iā€™m saving my sock drawer for a day where I really need a pick me up! Thanks Kathy for reminding us- we needed that

    • Kathy McAfee Americas Marketing Motivator

      Good for you Nancy. Your closet and home THANK YOU for the loving attention. We all need daily doses of ZEN from the constant stream of COVID-19 updates. Just a few minutes a day of a mental break and mindful productivity can make all the difference. It will safeguard our attitudes and boost our resilience during this shut down. Be well and stay motivated, Kathy McAfee

  2. JoAnn Ryan

    Thank you, Kathy. I remember you so well from our WOW Forums. Love this article. I will give you credit of course so hope it is OK for me to refer to you and your thoughts as I write my weekly newspaper article.
    Stay healthy. You are the best!

    • Kathy McAfee Americas Marketing Motivator

      Of course JoAnn. You can share my blog content with your members/readers at the NW Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. I appreciate the source credit (a link back to my blog would be wonderful as well). Be well and stay motivated! – Kathy McAfee

    • Kathy McAfee Americas Marketing Motivator

      Thank you Amanda. So glad to hear from you. I hope you are doing well and staying positive during this crisis. The world needs your creative brilliance!

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