For some people, life was already challenging enough without Covid-19, a terrifying corona virus going around. Now you can add quarantine, lockdowns, lay-offs, illness, poverty, fear, and even death. You might find it hard to find inspiration during hard times like these. And we all need stress relief for sure.
I’d like to share what inspires me and what I find helpful nowadays. And who! This is an article about self-care, making money, having a laugh, and changing your way of thinking. It’s about learning new skills, staying true to your eco-friendly lifestyle, and, last but not least, giving back.
Turns out, even a few of the things that inspire me make this a long read. So I decided to cut it in half. You get the rest next time. These are the topics I’ll walk you through today, each with multiple examples and inspirational ideas:
- Self-care is your priority
- Money Matters
- Find inspiration in ingenuity
The second part of this duo article will also be filled with a bunch of inspiration. Just click right here if you want to read that post. These are the topics you’ll find there:
- Keeping up with your eco-friendly lifestyle
- Spread some love and kindness
Finding inspiration during hard times can be a challenge. I sincerely hope you’ll find some golden nuggets in this article that inspire you as much as it does me. Let’s go!
Self-care is your priority
First of all: how do you stay sane? There’s no use in trying to work, keep your house in order, homeschool your kids, and help family, friends, and neighbors when you don’t know how to take care of yourself. Especially mentally. You need to be kind to yourself. That’s not selfish, that’s wise. You’ll be more productive and helpful when you feel good.
Mell Robbins tells it like it is
If you like fantastic tips about keeping your mental health and how to go about staying sane, you want to check out Mel Robbins’ Instagram feed. I’ve only known her work since when I joined her free course to have your Best Decade Ever in January. And I loved it!
Mell Robbins gets real and personal on her Instagram account. Since the Covid-19 virus outbreak, she’s been teaching about dealing with all the emotions you cope with. Every day she talks about a different aspect or answers questions from her followers. I’m telling you: you’ll find many gems in what she has to say to you. Pick the ones you need right now and stay sane. Small warning: you need to be able to handle a little swear word now and then. Because Mel Robbins is fresh and unfiltered.
Learn from like-minded people
You are not alone. You are not the only one feeling what you’re feeling. Ever. When you realize that, you can find people to connect with. Who can help you, maybe to understand yourself better or to find ways to deal with your emotions. Because let’s face it, not everybody has the luxury of a personal therapist.
That’s where social media come in. Sure, there’s a lot of bad out there. And a lot of silly. But there’s also a lot of useful, loving, caring, engaging, thoughtful, helpful, intelligent, and meaningful out there. Like this thread on Twitter from @brokeymcpoverty, where people share the best things they ever learned in therapy. If you’re not on Twitter, search for this kind of content on your own accounts, like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
Meditate with Demo and Joe
What you can do to keep peace of mind in an overwhelming world, is meditate. The benefits of meditating are undeniable. It’s a powerful tool for your health, both physically and mentally. You can find many free apps and websites that have all sorts of meditations for you to try. Find a voice you like, one that doesn’t irritate you to the bone. Because that would be highly counterproductive, right?!
If you’re new to meditating, start with short and simple exercises. Search for guided meditations. It’s a lot easier when someone talks you through it than just sit and try to quiet your tattering mind all by yourself. Start with sessions that last 2-5 minutes. You can find easy and great working meditations at Stop, Breathe & Think. They do mindfulness as well. If the short sessions come easy to you, increase the number of minutes as far as remains comfortable for you.
I’m loving the meditations from Demo DiMartile to unwind, to love, and to forgive. When he soothingly tells me to relax, I feel all my muscles soften. If I need an activating session, I turn to Dr. Joe Dispenza. It took me some time getting used to his voice, but his meditations work like a charm. They change my way of thinking, reactivate my body and mind, and help me do things I used to tell myself I couldn’t. Mind you, these are long ones. The shortest one is half an hour, most are an hour or more.
You need laughter in your life
Remember to have fun! Laughing isn’t just great for your mood. It also stimulates your immune system. Having fun keeps you healthy. When it comes to social media, my poison is Twitter. To me, it’s an unlimited source of information that I can get directly from the source. But it’s also an ocean of hilarious people, memes, pictures, gifs, and videos.
Many Tweets are uplifting, inspiring, or flat out funny. So go to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest and fill the search bar with your favorite things. My weakness? Arrogant cats and cute kittens. Here are a few social media shares that made me feel good, smile, or even laugh out loud.
Dealing with a health crisis is draining. When you live in a country with little to no financial backup for people who lose their job, it’s brutal. When you live in a country that doesn’t provide free health care, it’s killing. I won’t pretend to know the amount of stress some people go through right now due to money problems.
If you are financially stable and can help others, please look further along in this article for ways to help. If you need help yourself, here are some projects and ideas to help find money to survive a crisis.
Find out if your government can help
A pandemic crisis is not the time for pride. Find all the help you can and embrace it. You deserve it. Start with the government. Check the USA government website to see if you qualify for financial aid. As the website says: “Get help with food, housing, bills, and more. Learn about stimulus checks and read what’s included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”
Get friendly with the IRS
Not too many people get all enthusiastic when they hear about the IRS. You might not find taxes fun to talk or even think about. Well, put your feelings aside for a minute and check the IRS website. There’s a possibility that you get tax relief, and that’s worth looking into. According to the IRS: “We are offering tax help for taxpayers, businesses, tax-exempt organizations and others – including health plans – affected by corona virus (COVID-19).”
Small business loans with 0%
Kiva.org is an awesome charity that I’ve been supporting for many years. Because it is just so much fun. It’s fun to see your money get reloaned and reloaned and reloaned. One small amount helps so many people all over the globe. And Kiva also helps small business owners in the USA.
If you are an entrepreneur that got into trouble due to the corona crisis, turn to Kiva. See if you are applicable for their COVID-19 relief program. You can borrow money to keep your business alive. And you won’t need to pay any interest on your loan. How great’s that?! If you don’t need the money yourself and got some to spare: why not join Kiva and lend to somebody in need.
Realize you are the good cause: ask for support
If you’ve got money problems or are in other ways in trouble due to the corona crisis, realize that you are the good cause people want to help. Reach out to organizations to see how they can support you.
You can find some of these organizations on the website of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). The CDP is helping numerous causes. So you may not be able to get support directly from the center. But you could contact some of the organizations they are funding. Your local government or community churches might also know where you could turn for help.
SumOfUs brings people in need and helpers together
What I love best about a crisis is the willingness of people to help each other. The horror and the doom of a situation like this pandemic always has a silver lining in the helpers. Look for the helpers. You might have trouble finding them. That’s where organizations like SumOfUs come in.
SumOfUs created a platform where people who need help and people who want to help can find each other. Cool, right?! This is what they say about it: “People are asking two kinds of questions at this time of crisis. “How can I help?” and “How do I get some help?”. SumOfUs has responded by building a centralized, global response system where people can connect by seeking help and offering help.”
Start a farm with Heifer
Heifer is an international organization that helps underprivileged families get back on their feet. They donate pregnant animals, like cows or goats, and teach receivers to take care of those animals. Enriching their lives with milk and cheese. The excess can be sold and provides an income. In return, the families give the firstborn to another villager. I love how they pay it forward. But, I hear you think, how does that help me get any money?
The answer is: Heifer USA is helping out American farmers. So if you are living in a rural area and have been thinking about homesteading or starting small scale farming, you might want to contact Heifer. They promise hands-on learning. You’ll be guided by experts who know about livestock and about horticulture. Heifer says: “We teach farmers how to grow their sustainable farm enterprise while caring for the Earth.”
Take advantage of freebies
Many bloggers, vloggers, and influencers are handing out extra freebies to help during the Covid-19 pandemic. Find the ones that suit your needs. As a blogger, I was glad to get my hands on a free course about passive income from Pat Flynn. On his Smart Passive Income website, he’s put together a few treasures for small online businesses. Check them out here.
AppSumo does the same. They’ve put all their resources on one page. Ideal for online businesses, bloggers, vloggers, and entrepreneurs who want to expand to online business. Aren’t you into an online business? Find people in your own area of work and see if they are giving away some extra freebies.
Find inspiration in ingenuity
The many ways people are inventive is admirable. Entrepreneurs are often top league when it comes to adapting to change. Or even creating the change, we didn’t know we needed. How many times do you wish ‘if only I thought of that’?
Maybe you are one of those ultra-creative minds. If so: thank you because you are a true inspiration. If you are more like me, you’ll probably love the Dutch expression: better well stolen than badly invented. Of course, I’m not suggesting you steal people’s work or ideas. That’s just hurtful and wrong. But you can sure use them for inspiration.
Brewer turns beer into sanitizer
Let’s start in my own country, the Netherlands. Because I loved how the large beer brewing company Bavaria turned a huge problem into a big win. Due to the corona pandemic, bars and restaurants were forced to shut down. But they had large amounts of beer in their tanks, waiting for costumers that weren’t allowed in anymore. The beer was destined to go bad and be useless.
Bavaria couldn’t bear to let such a delightful product go to waste. Especially in such large volumes. The brewer wanted a sustainable solution. And had a light bulb moment. Bavaria decided to go back to all the bars that bought their beer, recollect it, and turn it into… hand sanitizers. Yep, the beer became rubbing alcohol to sterilize care taker’s hands. Hospitals and doctor’s offices around the country were standing in line to get some. It just goes to show: one man’s waste is another man’s produce.
Old t-shirts become organic cotton face masks
Another excellent example of thinking in solutions rather than problems: Coalatree’s organic cotton face masks. The world is in dire need of protective gear to stop the spread of the corona virus Covid-19. But disposables that are now used and thrown away by the millions is not a sustainable solution. Not for the long haul.
Coalatree decided to take old stock and turn those organic cotton t-shirts into face masks. They partnered with a local business to sew those masks, making sure people kept their jobs. For every one sold, Coalatree donates one to community workers. And they sell at cost price. You can check out more details from this story here: Coalatree upcycles old stock into reusable organic cotton face masks.
Change how you do, not what you do
When life turns upside down, like during this pandemic, you don’t always have to change everything you do. Sometimes it suffices to change the way you do it. Like my friend Marlies van Lier and her company FRIS Presentaties, which translates to FRESH Presentations. Marlies is a professional presenter, voice-over, conference host, and lady speaker. With conferences and events being canceled, a big part of her work vaporized.
Marlies is a breath of fresh air, so her company name is well chosen. And due to her giving personality, she built a strong network of people to work with. In no time, she switched her routine of working up close and personal to video conferencing and webinars. Paid work in a time of chaos and a new skill set to add to her resume. An impressive way to change the how, not the what. Her Insta is in Dutch, but you get the picture, don’t you?!
A few other quick inspirational ideas
Entrepreneurs around the world are thinking on their feet and make the most amazing adaptions to their workdays. They think outside the box and roll up their sleeves. Here are a few extra ideas to get your own creativity flowing.
Like the real estate agents who are still giving tours through the properties they sell, but with video calls. It’s live, so you get to ask all the questions in real-time. And you can give directions on the go. “Could you go back a bit, to the left, and show me the inside of that walk-in closet again, please?!”
Or the Dutch bar owner that looked at his empty tables filled with board games without guests to play with them. He decided to rent them out. Not only are his old costumers renting board games to play at home with their kids. He has a whole new clientele who wasn’t into his bar but is into his board games.
Let’s not forget about the farmers and greengrocers who can’t receive people on their land or in their farm shops. In my neighborhood, a few created a grocery drive-thru. Once a week, people can drive by and buy what they need without even leaving the car. Don’t you just love this kind of creative thinking?!
When you buy products using links on this website, I may get a small amount of money. It will cost you nothing extra! But you would help me keep this blog going and you would make me happy. Thank you!
That’s it for today. But there’s a part 2 to this story. Next time you’ll get yet another bunch of inspiration about:
- Keeping up with your eco-friendly lifestyle
- Spread some love and kindness
Click right here to jump to part 2 for more inspiration. You can let me know some of your own stress relief inspiration in the comments below. Or drop me a line on social media. If you know somebody who could use this kind of motivation, please send them this article and spread the love. Stay safe!