I’m worried about you. I can feel the strain and stress when I talk to you or you ask a question in one of our open mic webinars or I get your text at 1 am because we’re in different time zones and you can’t sleep. The covid-19 crisis is a mother and there’s not an agency on the planet that isn’t feeling the effects.

It’s not all bad news. Many of you are busier than ever. Lots of agencies are hiring and every day, I get a text from an agency who landed a new account. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some of you have watched 50% or more of your AGI walk out the door and you’re wrestling with managing the agency to the numbers — knowing that may mean you have to lay some people off, despite the Paycheck Protection Program loan. Most of you are somewhere in the middle.

I see this in my own interactions with all of you and we saw it in the poll we took of about 125 agency owners, asking about the impact of covid-19 on their agency.

All of you are used to dealing with tough times — when a key employee walked out the door or your gorilla client gave notice. You weathered those situations and got your team through whatever came next. But part of what make that more palatable for you is that you knew what to expect.

One of the most disconcerting aspects of our current crisis is the unknown. Agency ownership already has an element of that baked into it, but not like this. I think most agency owners are in a constant state (even if they’re crazy busy and hiring) of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I absolutely do believe that we can and will survive this.  But a key component of that survival is us.  The agency owner.  If we can stay strong and steady — everyone in our orbit (employees, clients, family, etc) benefits. That’s why I think it is so critical that you weave some self care into every single day.  Your daily To Do list needs to include activities that replenish you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

How we manage the stress of this can be the wild card in how it plays out for our agency.  We have to give our body and brain some relief.

I know we joke about it — but it’s way too easy to have a few extra glasses of wine or one more piece of cake to sooth our worried souls.  You and I both know that’s a slippery slope we need to be mindful of as we manage through this.

If our brains don’t get any rest or relief from the worry — they actually get less effective. And we need all our brain power right now.  So you need to give your brain and your body some distractions so they can rest.

I know my list is not going to be filled with any amazing revelations. You all know how to wind down.  But knowing what to do and doing it are two different things.  Again — every single day — your To Do list needs to include at least 30 minutes of some sort of body and brain rest. Do it for yourself, for your team and for your family.

We have more challenges ahead. Let’s make sure we’re in the best position to manage our way through them.

So…in no particular order — here are some suggestions on how to train for this marathon so you stay healthy and strong through it, no matter how long it takes.

  • Take a walk and listen to some music
  • Bike (with or without the kids) and master some bike tricks
  • Get yoga into your routine with online classes or a yoga meditation combo)
  • Meditation (anything from transcendental to meditation for non-meditators)
  • Yoga app called Down Dog (free use through May 1)
  • Mediation and deep breathing exercises via the Calm app (it also helps with sleep)
  • Create — paint, sing, draw, write, compose,  bake, choreograph etc.  Whatever your creative gift is — tap into it.  It’s a wonderful way to clear your mind for an hour or more.
  • Read something non-business, just for fun or to replenish your heart.  I recommend The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse.
  • Learn something new.  MasterClass is an amazing resource (and super cheap).  Why not take a scientific thinking class from Dr. Neil degrasse Tyson or a conservation class from Dr. Jane Goodall.  These classes are fantastic!
  • Exercise — play hoops, run, jump rope, throw a family dance party — but get that body moving
  • Garden/landscaping (people swear this is relaxing — I don’t get it but…)
  • Relief those tense muscles with the Vybe Percussion Massage Gun (highly recommended by an AMI agency owner)
  • Pray/communicate with your spiritual leader (everyone is streaming live and has videos of past gatherings)
  • Get outside and as deep into nature as you can
  • Virtual game nights with friends
  • Take Yale’s free class on the science of well-being

Some of my personal favorites…

  • Let the puppy drag you around the neighborhood while you wish you’d trained her better
  • Train the dang puppy
  • Beat Saber and BoxVR on the Oculus Quest
  • Audio books from Audible. My personal favorite escape fiction is the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker
  • Virtual coffees with family and friends
  • Sleep — actually sleeping 6+ hours every day  (who knew how awesome that was!)