COVID-19 has forced many of us to slow down, significantly alter our daily routines and hunker down at home. For the “doers”, the “fixers”, and the “go-go-goers” among us, the knowledge that you’re most helpful in fighting the pandemic when you’re social distancing at home can leave you feeling stir-crazy and powerless.
When things feel out of control – and let’s face it, there’s a lot that’s out of our control right now – the best place to start is with YOU. You’ve heard it on every flight you’ve ever taken – you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, and that advice couldn’t be more true for women leaders during this time.
Research shows that sustained stress depletes our immune system, hindering our ability not only to fight illness, but also to maintain normal bodily functions like digestion, hormone regulation, and skin repair. Not ideal in the midst of a health crisis!
But what if we told you there was a simple practice that could help you supercharge your mental, emotional and physical health? (Spoiler alert: there is!)
Research shows that journaling can strengthen the immune system and help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Not only this, but journaling can help us find clarity, gain new insights, and put things into perspective.
This unprecedented pause in the bustle of daily life has given rise to a unique opportunity to turn inwards, self-reflect and make a purposeful choice about the kind of life you want to live and what kind of leader you want to be through this pandemic and beyond.
Below we’ve shared some of our favorite journaling prompts for women leaders to get you started.
Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed, turn off all notifications, and place your phone and computer out of sight where you won’t be tempted. Then grab a journal or a pen and piece of paper and get writing!
Choose a prompt that’s most interesting to you, let go of any expectations and allow yourself to write whatever comes to mind without any judgment or filtering.
Before you begin, take a moment to ground yourself with five deep breaths. Are you ready? Here we go…
PART 1: TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
- What activities excite, energize, or inspire me? How can I add more of these activities to my life and/or practice them from home?
- What are some small daily actions that I can add to my daily routine that would make a positive difference in my life?
- Are there any habits that aren’t serving me and that I want to let go of? (i.e. obsessing over the news, over-drinking, stress eating)
- What beliefs do I need to let go of in order to show up as my best self and freely move forward in my work, leadership, and life during this time? (i.e. I have to make everyone happy, no one else works as hard as I do, nothing ever goes right for me)
- What distractions am I allowing into my days and how can I minimize them?
- What is an example of a time that I successfully managed a stressful situation in the past? How can I use what I learned from that experience now?
PART 2: TAKING CARE OF OTHERS
- Who are the 3 leaders that I most admire? What qualities do I particularly respect? How would they show up in this situation?
- What words do I want others to use to describe me?
- How do I want to make others feel during this time? Are my actions aligned with this response? (i.e. if you say you want to make others feel calm and inspired but are showing up frazzled and distracted).
- What are the biggest needs and concerns of the people I lead? What do they need most from me right now?
- What are the biggest needs/concerns of the people who lead me? How can I step up and support them during this time?
- How do I make a positive difference in the lives of others? How can I do that even more right now?
- If I decided to show up as the leader who others need me to be, how would I be thinking differently in this moment? What actions would I be taking?
PART 3: MOVING FORWARD + PUTTING IT IN PERSPECTIVE
- Why is this actually the opportunity of a lifetime?
- What would I need to believe to make the most out of this time?
- What advice would my future self give me for navigating, leading and thriving during this time?
- What can I learn from this experience?
- What am I grateful for? List at least 10 things.
As a leader, focusing on keeping yourself strong, healthy, and grounded will have a powerful effect on everyone around you. We hope that these journaling prompts will help you gain insight and emerge from this time of crisis stronger than ever before!