What Day Is It?
Answer: It's whatever day you want it to be. The idea that Sunday could be Wednesday or Monday could be Saturday may make you feel dazed and confused–there's a new word for that: coronallusional–but it's also liberating to consider how Monday could become more celebratory, like Saturday. Without the anchors of 9 to 5 and with an “always there” mentality, Bloomberg reports people working on average three hours longer each day. The tempos of our lives have been disrupted, and some, lost in the timeless world of screens, are setting alarms to remind themselves to eat. Through our daily designs we become the architects of our lockdown lives, and the 5-Minute Recharge is here to help you use your time in a way that serves you with evidence-based tips, encouragement, and wellness tools. Let's get started! ONE MOVING QUOTE “Depression hates a moving target.”
– Brad Stulberg reminds us that a good mood follows action and the more you exercise, the less likely you are to be depressed
“There's nothing better than being a unicorn--everyone smiles when they see a unicorn,” says Corey Jurgenson who dons a 7-foot unicorn costume and jogs around her Tampa neighbourhood to make people smile. THREE TIMELY IDEAS #1 ZOOM FATIGUE IS REAL Now that Zoom has become ubiquitous as the lifeline to connection for over 300 million users, fatigue is setting in. Virtual connection is unlike face-to-face connection in a number of energy-draining ways. Business and pleasure share the same video platform which can make us feel like our professional and social identities are becoming less distinct, a potential source of distress. With a single click we can go from a business meeting straight to a virtual happy hour, but unlike a real cocktail party, we sit or stand motionless during our virtual happy hour with our eyes blinking half as often as usual and fixed on a heavily-populated screen, each person a reminder of what we've lost. Having our minds together but our bodies apart makes us pay closer attention nonverbal cues. Our attention can't help but wander to our own face and the urge to keep smiling. Zoom hates silence–even silence as brief as 1.2 seconds–so the conversation volleys anxiously from topic to topic, unbroken by canapés or side conversations, as attendees fill the screen with their serial monologues. It feels like a performance. Often Zoom happy hours don't end so much as deflate, like a balloon gradually or not-so-gradually losing air. It's exhausting! Experts suggest building transition time between video meetings to enable us to switch personas if required, and limiting video conferences to only those that are necessary. Sometimes a call or email will do. And, to avoid Zoom deflation and end on a suspenseful note, build a hard stop into social calls–Zoom's 40 minute free calls are ideal for this–and limit the number of friends you invite to between three and five so that everyone feels like they have a chance to be seen, heard and understood...and to perform. “At a moment when the stakes of real-life unpredictability are deadly serious, Zoom is a space in which to safely welcome unpredictability and looser boundaries.” – Naomi Fry, The New Yorker The book Acts of Friendship and free ebook Acts of Virtual Friendship have a number of suggestions for activities that lend themselves well to the unique features of video conference. #2 GOOD SCREENS, BAD SCREENS Chances are your screen time has gone way up since March 11, the day everything changed. But how can we ensure that our screens improve our lockdown lives, rather than add to our anxieties? Catherine Price (founder of Screen/Life Balance and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone) has a few ideas to help you manage your screen time that she shared with Dr. Laurie Santos on a recent episode of The Happiness Lab. First, think about your screen time as one of three types: consumption, (passively taking in content such as news, Netflix, social media) creation, (working, writing, sharing information) or connection (Zoom, FaceTime, email, texting friends and family). The key question to ask yourself after consumption, creation or connection is “How do I feel?” News consumption probably doesn't make you feel good, so Catherine advises that we take all news apps off our phone, shut off notifications and set a cut-off point for checking news, ideally an hour or more before bed. Make a list of off-screen activities that you enjoy such as walks, physical books or baths to do when you feel the urge to check the latest headlines, and be sure to charge your phone outside your bedroom. “The goal is to use your screens intentionally, so that you can interact with them when its useful or necessary and put them down when it's not.” – Catherine Price #3 THINK IN EVENT TIME Life in pandemic isolation can become a bit like living inside a Vegas casino, complete with cocktails at all hours. According to research from professor Anne-Laure Sellier of the business school HEC Paris, people who primarily plan their days by events and move from one activity to another based on their internal sense of when it's appropriate feel happier and more in control of their lives than people who live mostly by the clock. Clock-timers feel their lives are more disconnected and chaotic, are less creative and less able to savour positive experiences. Planning your day like an event-timer who thinks in strings of activities, and using small rituals to signal the end of one activity and the beginning of another–for example a ring you wear while working and take off at the end of the work day–can give you a sense of control, even in the midst of an uncontrollable situation like a pandemic. Adding themes or fun events to various days of the week can make it easier to distinguish one day from another–for example, making Sunday a Day of Reflection, Monday Movie Night, Tuesday Games Night etc–can add another element of self-determination to your life and combat the discombobulating “What day is it?” phenomenon. “Tell me what to think of time, and I shall know what to think of you.” – J.T. Fraser, founder of the International Society for the Study of Time *********************************** The Fast Five 1. Post-Traumatic Growth: Finding Meaning and Creativity in Adversity - Scientific American 2. Esther Perel shares tips for coping in a pandemic - Financial Times 3. This is the #1 Ritual You Need to Do Every Day - Eric Barker 4. Two Errors Our Minds Make When Trying to Grasp the Pandemic - The Atlantic 5. The Importance of Dancing Like an Idiot - The School of Life YouTube (Time 8:30) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE DAILY QUESTIONS “Just because people understand what to do doesn't ensure that they will actually do it.” – Marshall Goldsmith The circumstances around us may have changed, but our core values remain the same and can help guide us through the pandemic and beyond. In our book The 5-Minute Recharge we encourage you to make a list of rules to live by. This week's 5-minute recharge challenge, that comes from executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, asks you to take it a step further with a list of daily questions to ask yourself in the evening before you go to bed. The purpose of daily questions is to encourage you to put your values into action. The list should be proceeded with the phrase “Did I do my best to...” so that your answers relate to what is within your control. To get you started, here are a few key questions you might ask yourself based on our five pillars of wellness. Did I do my best to... Get adequate sleep? Move throughout the day? (Goal = X steps) Sweat? Make time to stop and reflect? Connect with others? Now take five minutes to fill in this list with questions that reflect what you would like to live up to. At the end of the day, give yourself a 0 (No) or 1 (Yes) score based on your answers to these questions, and notice how the score varies with your perception of how good or bad the day was. Living according to your values is the foundation of contented, meaningful days, in or out of quarantine. “Measure every day 'Did I do my best to...?' Your problems won't disappear, but you will exist in a different relation to them and you will improve.” ― Marshall Goldsmith Wishing you a valuable week ahead, Lynne & Addie