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How to survive (or even thrive!) through COVID-19

"When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way you are responding to what's happening. That's where the power is."

Life is weird right now, and no one has given us a manual that tells us how to manage it all.

We got some great advice from a partner of ours, Cori of JoutaHR, who suggested we think in two week increments right now. We can’t really plan much further ahead than that, as we don’t know how and when things will progress and change. But look at the next two weeks. What are you going to accomplish? What do you need to do? What do you need to not do? This has really helped us break it down into manageable timeframes we can control.

In some ways, we have been given a gift. We have been given our time back. Time to connect, time to slow down and lean into our fears, time to learn, time to develop new skills and time to look within ourselves and take inventory of how we truly want to live our lives. This has been the biggest gift of all so far through this uneasy time.

But what are you going to do with that time?

That’s the question.

Here are a few suggestions from our team here at Marr Media Group.

Pick up a new hobby.

Head to your bucket list, and see what’s on it. What can you check off right now? What inspires you? What are you drawn to? Maybe you want to learn a new language. A new instrument. Write a novel. These are all things you need time and space for, and all things that can be accomplished while locked at home.

Tessa: My partner signed up for virtual guitar lessons and for that we hired a local musician who we knew would be suffering financially, with so many upcoming gigs canceled. Now my partner gets to do something he’s always wanted to and his teacher gets to earn some $$! I have always wanted to work on my Spanish, so I’ve signed up for classes with a tutor based in Mexico City--via Skype. And my best friend, who lives a province over from me, has joined. This helps with the cost and is something we’d never be able to do with our busy work schedules and separate locations. We’re now seeing each other more than ever before.

Cheyanne: I am taking a course through Yale University on the ‘Science of Well-Being.’ Having extra time on my hands has given me the freedom to invest in myself and it has been such a gift. I schedule in two sessions a week and will take five weeks to complete the course!

Kaiya: Why not get started on that book you’ve always wanted to write! Suzanne Doyle-Ingram, from our client roster, is hosting a FREE writing class.

Casey: I've been finding my love for cooking again. We are an @earlsrestaurant family (it's where my fiance and I started dating) through and through so we took full advantage of their at home cooking kits. We ordered some soup to go, stocked our pantry with their pantry kits and made our pan bread from scratch!

Get your home in tip top shape.

There’s never been a better time to clean out a closet, or reorganize your pantry. Nothing feels better than a big ol’ purge! Sort through those cupboards, drawers and closets and get things ready to donate or sell to those in need when the world goes back to normal. It’s spring--maybe a good time to build a back deck or re-paint the fence. Again, you’ve got time. And you have to be home. So work where you are! By the time this is all said and done, your house will be in the best shape it’s ever been and you’ll be dying to entertain and show it off.

Tessa: We’ve taken on the project of building our back deck! My fiance and his son tag teamed this project, and with all their free time, they got it done so fast. It was a great chance for them to work together, for his son to learn new skills and now we spend an hour (or more!) every afternoon soaking up sun and enjoying time by our fire.

Cheyanne: I just moved into a new place a few weeks ago, so this extra time has been a life saver and has given us a chance to unpack, organize, purge, and really set up our new home to make it our own.

Develop some new healthy habits or routines.

It could be as simple as flossing! Or keeping up on laundry every couple of days rather than letting it pile up, or maybe this extra down time has allowed you to establish a routine that works best for you and your family.

There has never been access to more fitness “classes” online before--and many for free or by donation. Maybe, in place of your morning commute, you now join a live yoga class or meditation to start your day. Gyms are lending or renting out their equipment, so it is the perfect opportunity to change your living room or guest bedroom into a home gym! Contact your local spin studio, download the FREE 90-day trail Peloton app and get your sweat on, you won’t regret it!

Cheyanne: I rented a bike from a local (fitness studio) and I’m spinning almost every day!

Kaiya: I was able to take home equipment from her local CrossFit gym. So great to have that to use!

Tessa: Kaiya and I have signed up for a Quarantine Yoga Challenge for the month of April that a past client is running. It’s only $20 to join (our way to support a yoga teacher who has lost income) and we get to participate in three live classes each week. Gives us such a great sense of routine, community and is great medicine for the body and mind.

Wear less makeup. Go days without it. Treat your skin well. Do a hair mask. Have a midday bath. Some local spas are offering at home facial kits, delivered to your home for a very reasonable price. Not only did I get to treat yourself to a little self-care and stress relief, but I got to support another local business.

Casey: I ordered at an-home pedicure kit from a spa in my area (@lakeshorespa) and, while my toddler was with my husband, I set up a relaxing spa experience in my very own bathroom. A robe, music, a candle burning… it was lovely! And I feel so fresh. I would never normally have the chance to do this mid morning on a weekday.

But in the same breath. Find reasons to dress up. It will give you a sense of purpose and helps combat the low feeling that sinks in after days in sweatpants and top knots.

Tessa: While I’m spending so much more time online right now, I’m so tempted to online shop! It’s a feel good activity and my mental health is craving some feel good right now. But I didn’t want to go overboard--and truly have no purpose for new shoes right now. So I treated myself to a few new pairs of earrings made by a local artisan (@shopmuddesigns) and a couple headbands from a local shop (@frakas). Keeps me looking my best and feeling my best in the window of my Zoom calls.

Intentionally connect with others.

You can socialize and social distance at the same time thanks to technology! Seriously, set up your computer at your kitchen island or in your living room and dial up a friend or family member on Facetime, Zoom, Messenger, Skype--whatever. It’s like they’re right there! You can chat, cook together, enjoy a happy hour, eat dinner together…. This really helps fill your cup, especially for those social butterflies out there (like me!). Connect with your best friends or the people you’re used to seeing all the time and now can’t. And/or reach out to people you don’t get to connect with all the time, who maybe don’t live near you.

Tessa: I’ve even set up virtual “family reunions” for my family cross country in the next couple weeks where everyone can dial in--even my grandmother. BYOB. My social cup is feeling very full even with all this distancing!

Casey: I love getting together with her friends on Friday nights over Twitch to play Jackbox games. So fun, interactive and a great way to get your mind off the world around you for a while.

Do less.

It’s also okay to NOT learn a new skill, or clean your whole house top to bottom right now. You don’t have to come out of this in the best shape of your life. This is a trying time emotionally for everyone. And we need to remember to be gentle with ourselves right now. If filling your extra time doesn’t fill you up, then stop. Sit on the couch. Cuddle with your dogs. Sleep in. Binge the housewives, the Tiger King, or any of your favourite shows. Do what serves you, and drop any guilt about that.

Maybe you are used to a rushed schedule running out the door to work, scurrying to get kids to their extracurriculars at the end of the day and helping out other family members or friends with their needs. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day when you’re in the thick of it - take this time to reconnect with those in your household and figure out exactly what it is your family unit needs to thrive.

Casey: I’ve got a 17 month old toddler at home, and a partner that is typically out of the house 10-12 hours a day - so for me, those quiet moments at the end of the day and those slow mornings are just what I need to keep my head straight and my family happy.

Focus on what you can offer.

I’m not a doctor, so I can’t get out there on the front lines and help people battle this disease. But I have lots I can offer. We all do. Start by looking at yourself, or your company and figure out what you do well; what you know. Maybe you’re a musician and can offer a performance or lessons. Maybe you’re a yoga teacher and can offer a practice to help people move. For me, I work from home and have for many years now. And I know a lot of people are struggling with adapting to that. So I offered up my time and knowledge to anyone who wants to connect and talk about it. It’s not everything, but it’s what I have to give.

If everyone does this, we’d be able to create this beautiful ripple effect of paying it forward. And it feels good! This really helps curb anxiety as well.

There are an abundance of tools you can use to help deliver your “offering” virtually like Zoom (for web conferencing), Facebook or Instagram Live, social media posts, websites and more.

Work on your business, not just in it.

Business owners, this is the perfect time to build your dream website, revamp your social media strategy, update your contracts, clean up your drives, do your taxes. So, take this time to step back INTO the business and get organized.

Work on your team. Now, more than ever, they will need you as a leader. How can you support them? How can you create a safe environment for them?

And most importantly, do not go silent. Everyone’s entire world is now digital and online, and your followers, customers, partners and team need and want to hear from you. Be mindful and deliberate in your messaging, take more time than ever to consider your target market and what they need, and execute quickly. Social media is now the primary means of communication between human beings--ensure you’re part of the conversation.

If now feels like the right time to build a strong social strategy and you need help, let us know. We’re offering a 20% discount on strategies booking between now and June 30.

Also, for the month of April (and we might just extend this--we’ll see), we’re offering FREE product photography! This is our way of giving back to support businesses who may have a frozen marketing budget right now and have noted a decrease in sales and therefore user-generated content. It keeps us busy and keeps our creative juices flowing and helps support other brands out there during this time! Send us your product, we’ll send you back images - it’s that easy! Reach out if you’d like to set this up.

Stay in touch with us here!



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