tl;dr – Overwhelmed by this list and so many others like it?
We recommend, first, a deep breath. Then, set aside 4 minutes to read this single article.
Let’s talk about flex(ibility)!
Don’t Panic is more than a virtual assistant company. Among the myriad other things clients praise us for being, one of them is a never-ending resource.
Over the past few weeks, CEO and Director of Calm, Jess, has opened up her schedule even more to clients who need help making any necessary changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to be a general comrade-in-arms as we all navigate this new world. (We’ve also waived contract and retainer commitments for those who need help NOW: https://products.dontpanicmgmt.com/a-la-carte-services)
Similarly, Jenn Hines, our Chief Client Officer and overall second-in-command ’round these parts, is booking time with anyone, client or not, to brainstorm what new potentials may make sense for businesses – online, physical, or those converting from physical to online.
And, of course, our team of rockstar acrobats is using those flexibility skills by supporting our clients as needs shift, priorities change, and focuses pivot.
All this to say: we’re here for you.
Yes, you, whose workload is increasing and your own clients need additional help as they make shifts or changes.
Or, you, who is maybe a little (ok let’s be real, a lot) afraid of what change looks like and what it’ll take (hint, readjusting the mindset from “what something will take” to “what you can give” can help).
And even, but not limited to, you, who needs support, who needs to hear we’re in this together, and, maybe, who needs to know you’re not alone and whatever you’re feeling right now is absolutely valid, absolutely normal, and absolutely ok.
A roundup for everyone: the five Hs
In the spirit of flexibility and change, we also know that some of you may have never been on work from home status before and may still be getting your sea legs! When the lines blur between work and home in this way, it’s important to find other frameworks to create a work-life structure that makes sense for you.
Introducing: the five Hs! Our team has pooled together our favorite things to keep us all healthy, happy, hopeful, helpful and honed-in. Thinking about indoor and work from home life in these five buckets may be just what you need to keep things a little more sane and safe while being cooped up.
➡️The World Health Organization and Google have created a public service announcement, with easy links to all the latest information on COVID-19. A good page to bookmark and check periodically.
A side note on this: Seriously, do not—I repeat, DO NOT—keep this tab open and refresh it every 5 minutes. That’s the opposite of healthy behavior. Our best recommendation for keeping your mental health in check right now is to turn off news alerts (on phone, on desktop, and on email), set alarms for a couple of times a day, and then set a time limit for when and how long you check the news each day.
➡️Build Yourself founder (and Don’t Panic friend and client), Mia Scharphie, has put together a comprehensive list of ten ways to stay meaningfully connected. Even if you’re a work from home veteran, it’s always important to check-in with your habits. And now, more than ever, practicing these habits can also be a model for others who are unsure of how to navigate the work from home space
➡️While I’m questioning the #Quarantine15 hashtag with some “don’t judge me” side-eye (and simultaneously hiding the cheesy-poofs container from sight), I can’t be mad at this fairly comprehensive at-home workout list from CNET.
Another option? Check with your local yoga studios, gyms, and even dance instructors. They’re likely offering free (or very low-cost) at-home lessons. This is a great way to support businesses that are forced to close during this time.
➡️Author of How to Break Up with Your Phone and DPM client, Catherine Price, has created a new arm of her Screen/Life Balance platform, called #QuarantineChallenge. A few times per week, Catherine sends out tips on how to maintain a healthy relationship with screens during self-isolation and offers ideas on how to help all of us stay a little saner these days. On Mondays, she also hosts live chats with a Q&A. Sign up for the #QuarantineChallenge here.
➡️It’s no secret DPM is a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin. We even consider her Four Tendencies when making matching decisions for our virtual assistants and clients. Rubin’s ‘Coping with Covid-19’ collection is exactly what we need for, as she states, addressing the question of how we can be as calm and happy as we possibly can under the given circumstances.
➡️Musically, there are so many options out there to keep our ears, and therefore minds, happy. Broadway musicals are now free to watch, the Met is offering free opera streams nightly, and even solo artists like Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard is streaming live daily to spread a little more joy around.
➡️But what to do with your hands while listening to all this awesome music? Break out the pencils, pens, paintbrushes; grab the pastels, chalk, and inks! The Kennedy Center hosts free lunch doodles daily on YouTube and McHarper Manor offers free daily art & craft tutorials right on their Facebook page.
Again—check out your local theater groups and art studios to see if they are hosting virtual events!
While, yes, we should all be taking this pandemic very seriously, we’re also a species that has the ability to hope, and hope can be a powerful tool when faced with a crisis. One DPM client reminds us that, “Finding light in a situation does not mean we are taking it lightly.”
➡️So, in making the best of a situation… We now have the technology to Netflix and chill even while isolated.
➡️A little old now, but our hearts are still melting… The Shedd Aquarium is changing things up for their rockhopper penguin friends! Watch them explore the human-side of the aquarium. (Can we just get a live stream, please?)
➡️None of this is easy, but Brother Richard Hendrick’s poem “Lockdown” might be the hopeful comfort you need right now (tissues recommended for us more sensitive folk).
➡️As already mentioned above, seeking ways to support your local businesses is one of the best ways to help out right now. If offered, purchasing gift cards now for use later is one way to help keep the lights on while we weather this storm. As well, reaching out directly to those businesses and asking how you can best help support is always an option
➡️Artists, writers, musicians, dancers… Freelancers of every type are all affected by the COVID-19 just as much as their employee-status brethren. The Freelance Co-op has started a Freelance Emergency Fund for those who can give and those who can use the extra support right now.
And, finally: Honed-In
➡️DPM’s own Molly Mayer shares with us her personal advice for working from home on LinkedIn. Thanks, Molly!
➡️For the parents out there: Scholastic is offering free online courses; we all need some tips about talking to our kids about Coronavirus; and Common Sense Media is a great general resource for those with kids to help guide their understanding of COVID-19 and increased media usage.
➡️Also, Morning Brew has an even longer, more in-depth roundup that puts ours to shame! But hey, working smarter not harder, #amirite?
Your attention is already being pulled in so many directions. At the end of the day, you are doing your best. We all are. Breathe, and come back to that breath in moments of increased anxiety.
We’ll get through this, together.
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Jenn’s background ranges from IT to creative writing, making her a natural curious doer. Over the last decade, she's developed her professional writing, communication, and marketing skills because she's not afraid to ask questions, click around, and find the answer. Jenn is fixated on developing processes, creating templates, and designing workflows that help bring order and ease to everyday tasks. Outside of being a professional renaissance woman, Jenn enjoys a good cup of earl grey, dabbling in poetry, and working on her next book one word at a time.
Work superpower: Master planner
Favorite cheese: Blueberry, lemon, and thyme goat cheese
Go-to karaoke song: "Fancy" - Reba McEntire
Beverage of choice: Extra, extra, extra dirty Grey Goose martini
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