Reading is framed as a fun activity that will make you feel better, but can reading create situations where you need to care for yourself?
As the pandemic comes to a close, it is easy to forget the struggles and hardships that came along with it. Stuck inside four walls with no inspiration besides the internet can become shackles to people’s creativity and mental health. Writer’s block and lack of motivation was a huge issue for a lot of writers.
We're celebrating the 33rd birthday of Sarah Kay! Let’s appreciate her bold but touching words, engendered by creative thoughts which foster empathy.
For most of us, the last 12 months have been rife with isolation and filled with loneliness. We’ve leaned into technology to stay in touch, but those platforms don’t replace the joy and thrill of dinners with friends, celebrations with extended families or even the occasional water cooler chats with colleagues. Now, with vaccinations underway and the COVID rates dipping, it’s time to start to think what to do as we emerge from our socially distanced abodes.
Some good news — whether you’re a born connector or someone who struggles to widen your circle, the pandemic has, in a sense, leveled the playing field — forcing all of us to start from scratch when rebuilding the real life experiences, we’ve been lacking. Here are six quick ways to get started:
- Be Intentional. Spend some time now reflecting and thinking about what it is you want to accomplish when you emerge. Do some old-fashioned naval-gazing and determine what and who matters to you. What values do you want to focus on? What are the special assets you have to offer those you know and those you will meet? Being clear about your goals will help you chart your course for connecting.
- Forget FOMO and Create JOMO (the joy of meeting others). As we return to a sense of normalcy, consider becoming a convener (online and/or in real-life). Start small if the idea intimidates you. Invite five friends or colleagues to a small gathering and ask each to invite one additional person. This group approach will put you in contact with friends of friends and increases the chance you’ll cross paths with others who share a mutual interest.
- Ask Questions. To truly build connection, learn the art of the ask. Have five or six questions ready that will illicit meaningful responses. For example, instead of standard and stale conversation starters like inquiries about the weather, consider instead, “What are you looking forward to the most once the pandemic is over?” or “What part of social isolation is most challenging to you right now?” These questions invite a more thoughtful response and are far more likely to result in a meaningful conversation.
- Learn How to Listen. Most of us fail miserably at listening with several studies suggesting that 75% of the time most of us are distracted, preoccupied and forgetful. But to be a great connector (again both online and in the real world), listening is the secret weapon. It’s critical to building meaningful and long-lasting ties to others. The next time you’re in that conversation asking good questions, be certain to focus on and retain the answers. Knowing what’s on someone’s mind, what they prefer, what they are excited about are the keys to offering an appropriate and supportive response.
- Follow Up. If you truly listen and go so far as take notes (a great way to actually remember), you have all the tools you need to artfully follow up. If your colleague mentioned that they were planning a trip to a city you or someone else in your circle has visited, send them an email with the names of several museums or restaurants you know and loved. If a friend is looking for a nonprofit to support and you are familiar with one looking for their expertise, make that introduction. It may feel uncomfortable at first but turn that idle thought into a concrete follow up action.
- Rinse and Repeat. Like most things in life, practice makes perfect in connecting and you have a lifetime to finesse your craft. After your colleague returns from their trip, check in and ask how it all went and if they visited the spots you recommended. Reach out to see how they’re doing, what’s going on in their lives personally and professionally. This can be a phone call, a text, a direct message on Twitter of Instagram or even a hand-written note.
Knowing how to skillfully and artfully build a community is a skill that will serve not just in the wake of a pandemic and prolonged self-isolation, but also whenever you’re faced with a new environment, be it a move to a new city or a switch to a different industry. Approach it with confidence, and your efforts will be richly rewarded time and again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SUSAN MCPHERSON is a serial connector, seasoned communicator and founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focused on the intersection of brands and social impact. She is the author of The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Relationships (March 23, 2020; McGraw-Hill). Susan has 25+ years of experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications, speaking regularly at industry conferences, and contributing to the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Forbes. She has appeared on NPR, CNN, USA Today, The New Yorker, New York Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Susan is a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador and has received numerous accolades for her voice on social media platforms from Fortune Magazine, Fast Company and Elle Magazine. She resides in Brooklyn.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The onslaught of technology and social media provides for a tightly woven “community” online, but isolation and loneliness remain high for people of all ages, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. In her practical and much needed book, The Lost Art of Connecting, seasoned communicator and serial connector Susan McPherson explains how to go back to basics and forge lasting, effective, and meaningful connections—the human way. Her three-step method (Gather, Ask, Do) encourages people to be more intentional and authentic both when looking for new connections and retaining old ones—on Zoom or in real life.
The last year taught many of us an important lesson: taking care of your wellness and health is vital to your life—your health is more important than anything else. Many of us believe that the condition of our health is determined by how we look or how much we weigh, or that being healthy only consists of eating well and exercising regularly. In times like these, we might even think that the condition of being in good health is merely the absence of sickness.
However, wellness goes far beyond that. It goes beyond our physical health and extends well into mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well. Your body, mind, and spirit are all connected, and not taking care of one can be just as harmful as not taking care of the others. Well, we have Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Dondeena Bradley Ph.D, and Sonia Satra, founder, and CEO of Moticise, teaming up with Bookstr for a Mega-Wellness Giveaway this month.
Yoga, meditation, hydration, and mindfulness are all things that can help you to ensure that you’re living a life of wellness, and will help to benefit both your mind and body.
So, to help you make 2021 the year of health, we have teamed up with three wellness authors and speakers with a giveaway to help you make your health a top priority this year!
What You Can Win:
- Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book
- Dondeena Bradley’s Living Full Circle
- Yoga Mat
- Gourmet Mood Tea
- Water bottle
- Aromatherapy Candles
- Wellness Journal
- Oxygen and Heart monitor
- Dr. Suzanne’s Beanie
- Sonia’s Mindset Reset Bundle download
- $100 Gift Card
About Sonia Satra
Sonia Satra is a mindset & fitness thought leader who specializes in personal transformation for women by integrating the mind, body, & emotion to create lasting change. As the founder & CEO of Moticise, an award-winning lifestyle wellness program that combines movement with mindset, Sonia travels the world helping people reach their own personal greatness. Sonia is a certified NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) Practitioner, as well as a holistic health coach and certified fitness instructor.
Sonia has appeared in the Huffington Post, CBS, Fox, the Examiner, Celeb Dirty Laundry, Celebrity Parenting, Women Fitness, and other outlets.
About Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum
She is the author of Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart-Healthy Life, teaching all women how to lead the healthiest lives by living from the heart and Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally, with the editors of Prevention. She has been awarded a New York Times Super Doctor, a Castle and Connolly Top Doctor for Cardiovascular Disease, and New York Magazine’s prestigious Best Doctors in the New York edition. She became focused on the connection between the mind and the heart and how behavioral change is often driven by perception, resilience, and support.
Dr. Suzanne is in private practice in New York City, and is the president of SRSHeart.
About Dondeena Bradley, Ph.D
Dondeena is the author of Living Full Circle: Simple Ancient Rituals for Modern Life. She is an expert in identifying the benefits of health and well-being practices and translating them into practical ways that people can adopt into their daily lives.
She has spent thousands of hours challenging teams to deliver breakthroughs in health and wellness innovation with consistent success in diverse cultures at a number of Fortune 500 companies. She is a master at bringing people together with varying perspectives in order to extract new insights that creates traction toward a better outcome.
She shared her conviction for health at TedxOrangeCoast in the talk “Let’s Create a Society Addicted to Health.” Dondeena’s formal education includes a Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science and a Master of Science in nutrition. She is an avid reader, curious explorer and grateful for any time spent rejuvenating in nature.
About the Books
Heart Book: Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart-Healthy Life
The regimen Dr. Steinbaum developed has transformed thousands of lives and is now available to every woman in Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum’s Heart Book.
Living Full Circle: Simple Ancient Rituals for Modern Life
In a hectic world filled with trendy products and expensive retreats designed to reduce stress and anxiety, it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed just trying to find ways to be well. However, as product innovation and well-being services expert Dondeena Bradley shows in this book, the key to sustained wellness has always been within reach with ancient, tried-and-true practices.
In Living Full Circle, Bradley translates time-tested and proven healing remedies into practical tools for taking care of yourself. Guiding you through the vast landscape of health and wellness, Bradley focuses on traditional methods and applies them to today’s modern world. These classic and simple techniques will ultimately enable you to rejuvenate your daily rituals, ground and reconnect with all five of your senses, and improve your overall well-being.
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