All aboard! A nice peaceful vacation cruise to the Bahamas would have been nice, but here we are riding down unfamiliar tracks on the COVID-19 crazy train. Our entire world is unsettled. It’s a strange time to live. Schools are closed, so most of our youth are now homeschooling. Our guest rooms have become home offices. Activities are cancelled and we are being encouraged to practice social distancing, which means we’re all home together… all the time.
While some leasing offices are still open, it certainly isn’t business as usual. Understandably, the weight of world is on all our residents, who call our communities home. They are uptight, on-edge, and asking some interesting questions such as, “Can I deduct money from my rent because I can’t use the fitness center, business center, pool area, etc.?” While you want to respond with “Really? Have you watched the news lately?”, you don’t. Because everyone is riding on the same crazy train. Unfortunately, we are all looking for answers and there just aren’t many yet, although I am optimistic we are getting closer.
So, where can you (employee, parent, spouse, friend, etc.) find sanity in all this crazy? While I don’t have an “easy” button, I do have four practical thoughts for you that have nothing to do with property management, renting apartments, leasing training, or increasing revenue but have everything to do with helping you and those who are with you. Check out 4 ways to stay sane on the crazy train.
1. Limit Your News Intake
Are you triggered by the 24/7 COVID-19 news cycle? Try turning on the cooking channel, history channel, etc. Check out Guy Fieri on Diners-Drive-Ins- and Dives to plan your next restaurant visit once all of this passes. Join Mike and Frank on American Pickers as they travel the USA looking for “jewels” in people’s barns and garages. Maybe you have a hidden treasure in your home? No matter what you choose to watch, definitely reduce your news intake.
2. Increase Synergy
Whenever we put multiple people in a closed space for any length of time, struggles arise because we are all different. We all handle stress and the unknown differently. We all handle disagreements differently. These can lead to frustration. Synergy is the benefit that results when two or more people work together to achieve something either one couldn’t have achieved on their own. It’s the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
In the 2015 Forbes.com article, The Ultimate Guide to Team Synergy, the author Luis Romero takes us back to chemistry class to explain the idea of synergy and how it can be damaged. “We know that if we add sulfur (S8) to a controlled environment already containing water (H2O), given the right temperature and pressure conditions we can turn said water into sulfuric acid (H2SO4). In other words, we can transform a life-giving substance, water, into a destructive one, sulfuric acid. This is a metaphor to show how positive synergy can be turned into negative synergy by adding the “wrong” element. In teamwork, the same can happen.”
Here are some ways to beat the odds, add in the right elements, and increase synergy with your home or office team.
Share a meal around the table. Sharing a meal with others around a table is one of the most uniquely human things we do. No other creature consumes its food at a table. Sharing a meal with other people reminds us that there is more to food than fuel. It connects us deeply. A great tool to spark dinner conversations is to insert a starter question. Here are a few:
- Parents share what you were like at your kids’ ages. Kids say what they think they will be like as parents.
- Describe the person sitting to your right in 3 words. Keep it positive.
- Would you ever change your name? If so, what would your new name be?
- If you could pick any age and stay that age, how old would you be?
- If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
- Click here for more conversation starter ideas…
Refresh your table manners. Brushing up on table etiquette is another way to add some fun to the meal.
- If you have some extra silverware, set up a formal dining table in your kitchen or dining room.
- Play a video or instruct your guests on proper dining etiquette in various situations. This one is great for adults and kids!
- Think you have your fine-dining etiquette perfected? Write these 11 etiquette rules down on slips of paper, pass them around the table as each person reads one. You just might learn something new.
Prepare a theme-based meal. Themed meals are another way to make your time around the table a memorable one.
- Feedingmykids.com is filled with themed meal ideas that will fit any group or family.
Work together. Jayde Powell is my new hero! She is a 20-year old student from the University of Nevada who heeded the call from her mother to check in on her elderly neighbors. Her mother was concerned that they were at high risk for COVID-19 and could be short on supplies at home. Powell began to gather several members of her school’s medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, to help and soon formed a group called Shopping Angels. Jayde created a Facebook page, and it went viral. What can you do?
Work on a project. Many of us are at home staring at the projects we have been pushing off for months or even years. While the crazy train has forced many of us to be shut-ins, now is a great time to take on a few of them. What can you fix?
Play games. Dust off some of those old board games. Make paper airplanes and hold a competition in your living room. Play hide-and-seek. The sky is the limit! Here are 14 indoor family games (no board necessary)
Teach your dog/cat a new trick. Before I had children, I had a cat and a parrot. They were my children. If you are spending more time at home, they might be wondering what is going on too. Consider teaching them a new trick. Here are some ideas.
3. Learn Something New / Practice Something Old
I am the mother of two boys, and they have a lot of energy. I am always encouraging them to learn something new or practice something old. While many of you know me as the Learning Strategy Consultant and Blogger on Edge2Learn, what you might know is that I am also a tenured homeschooling mom. We have spent many years digging up activities to keep all of us fresh, learning, relearning, and motivated throughout the week. Here are some ideas that can be adopted into any household.
Paint with Bob Ross. Do you remember Bob Ross from the 80’s? If you have access to Amazon, all his seasons are included with an Amazon Prime membership. There are also many free episodes available on YouTube. We typically purchase our paint brushes, canvas, etc. at the Dollar Store. If you don’t have access to any of this right now, pull out some crayons and get creative! Bob’s calming voice is bound to relax even the most active in your household. He is one of our favorites!
In-Home Exercise. You can locate just about any type of exercise video on YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon. If you happen to have an old Nintendo Wii collecting dust in the corner like we do, it can also offer another active option for you and your family.
- Wii Just Dance – Hold a dance contest in your living room.
- Yoga with Julia Marie – We started her Yoga for the Inflexible routine last week. My boys loved it, and hopefully, I can walk again by next week.
Music. Our home is always filled with a variety of musical instruments. I love this quote from Angela Monet, “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” Is there an old instrument hiding in your closet? Does your repurposed piano in your dining room still work? Have you considered making your own instrument? Here are some ideas and resources from our home to yours.
- Guitar – When he is not doing his schoolwork, our oldest son has a baseball in his hand or a guitar in his lap. Since baseball is on hold right now, he is practicing his guitar a lot. He wanted me to share his favorite “teaching tools” with you.
- Ultimate Guitar Tabs and Chords App
- Marty Music With over 1.9 million subscribers, he is one of the best!
- Piano – The last time I played a piano was when I was 10 years old. I can do this!
- Make your own instrument – Maybe you don’t have an instrument to play at home. Here are some fun DIY instrument ideas.
Get creative and make your own music. Teach yourself or your kids how to whistle without using fingers. Or make a grass whistle!
4. Be Flexible Like Bamboo
The last idea I would like to share comes from Dr. Debbie Phillips, Ph.D., CPM. Her words are so fitting for this time, so I would like to include her thoughts rather than mine.
“I’m thankful that some things remain constant: Flowers still bloom and friendships endure! I was reflecting on something my coach shared with me a few years ago. “Debbie be bamboo!” You must learn to be flexible. Bamboo bends with the wind but never breaks. It is capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. I read this from my journal in July of 2009 and my gosh, that advice stands the test of time! I’ve set a goal to send out ten cards a day to encourage my friends. Flexibility is the key this Friday and every day that ends in “Y”.”
Soon enough, life will be back to normal. We will all go back to eating meals in our cars, burning up the highway as we drive from this activity to that activity, and maybe some of us will get to take that cruise to the Bahamas. Our days will be filled with busy-itis, so make the best of your time on the crazy train. Stay bendy my friends.
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Vice President of Training and Development
Edge2Learn / Ellis Partners in Management Solutions
Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With over 30 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and also reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.