According to Webster’s Dictionary, “cabin fever” can be described as the irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms that result from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.
According to my personal dictionary, “furlough fever,” can be described as the irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors while on furlough and quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% of what happens, and 90% of how you react to it.” So once you get over the initial shock of being furloughed (and the shock is real), how have you responded? Personally, I made a decision to focus on renewing three key areas of my life: body, mind and spirit.
Explore your network
As some health experts have noted, the term “social-distancing” is a misnomer. The more accurate term is “physical-distancing,” because socially we have to be more connected than ever. As I look back over the last couple of months, my level of interaction within my network has really skyrocketed. I’ve had conversations with Olympic gold medalists, special ops and military generals, and even a former strength coach for the New York Yankees. The knowledge and experience that each of these individuals have imparted upon me is priceless, and has changed my life. I’d encourage you to explore your network and see which relationships you can nurture during this time.
Sweat it out
The No. 1 excuse we always use for not getting fit is, “I don’t have time.” Since this pandemic has taken that excuse away, I’ve been exercising on a regular basis. You’d be amazed how much better and less stressed you feel after working up a sweat. Neighborhoods are booming with families walking pets, jogging, and riding bikes — while practicing personal distancing, of course.
Directly related, more people are also preparing their own meals. With more time on our hands we have the ability to plan and prepare meals with our families. It is another great bonding experience that allows us to use our creativity to develop some really tasty dishes (grilled ahi tuna burgers w/ sesame slaw and grilled pineapple is to die for). This is a great example of how the byproduct of this pandemic is combatting the obesity epidemic.
Now that we’re not spending our days in meetings, updating spreadsheets, and entering data into a CRM, we can sculpt our mind by reading more. I’ve read several awesome books while in quarantine, but one of my favorites is “Habits of a Champion,” by Dana Cavalea. Cavalea discusses his experiences training some of the greatest athletes in the history of the game. Lessons that stood out to me are that you have to approach people as people (regardless of status) and take a genuine interest in knowing who they are. Nurture that relationship and add value, as opposed to trying to exert a position of perceived power. This is a great lesson for all of us in sales and management.
One of the first decisions I made was to invest in myself. I hired a business coach who somehow has become a life-coach, mentor, and friend. I didn’t realize it was buy one, get three free, but I’ll take it. We consult with experts in all areas of our lives — health, finances, legal. However, when it comes to our careers, we try to wing it. Especially at a time with so much uncertainty, it is extremely helpful to have a coach who is objective and invested in our success. If we have learned anything during the COVID crisis, it’s that things can change in the blink of an eye. It’s good to have someone in our corner.
Heart of a servant
Service is the cornerstone of humanity and knows no boundaries. Nothing brings joy to my heart more than being able to do for others. I had a very inspiring conversation with one of my connections this week. Despite going through multiple unthinkable tragedies, she has decided to serve her way through. She and her children are making care boxes (with sanitizer, disinfectant spray, body wash, hand soap, detergent, and a brief note about love and community in an isolating time to send to those who need encouragement. What a great example of serving in spite of your personal circumstances. The best defense against furlough fever is a humble heart geared towards serving others.
Have you been furloughed, and are you coping with furlough fever? Please share so we can all combat it together.