These are times that demand a lot from financial advisors emotionally and personally. Each day, speaking with clients, listening to clients, being isolated, needing to still be a present partner and parent and business owner. Even financial transitionists, who are deeply trained in the human side of our business can be overwhelmed by uncertainty and have anxiety about what’s to come.

There is something that can be done, though. We encourage everyone to create a formalized self-care plan that maps out habits that cultivate wellbeing. From good sleep hygiene to limiting exposure to news to meditation (I’ve been doing Transcendental Meditation for decades) to spreading connection rather than panic, there is plenty we can all do to protect ourselves from rising anxiety and social contagion.

We become what we practice.

Our own learner-in-chief, Mary Martin, Ph.D., is a Brown University Mindfulness Center-trained teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and a Certified Mindful Schools Instructor. She has been offering 30-minute free self-care guided meditation practices, daily, in addition to instruction in creating formalized self-care plans for anyone who wants to attend.

Here are five simple practices, grounded in research, that anyone can begin, right now.

1. Self-compassion. Remember the inner resources that you have cultivated or that you naturally possess, that allow you to face challenges? The kindness, generosity, patience and compassion you heap on others? Turn it inward. Speak to yourself with the tone of voice and language you would use for a beloved friend. Put your hand on your heart and feel your supportive touch as you feel the rhythm of your breath—the rhythm of your body breathing. Compassion is boundless (as opposed to empathy, which can lead to distress and burnout). Self-compassion is a valuable tool for caregivers of all kinds.

2. Presence. A wandering mind has been associated with unhappiness and unhappiness has been associated with a wandering mind. Two months ago, we would say that decreasing rumination by training your attention to focus on the present is a superpower. But right now, it’s a necessity. Getting caught up in endless mental loops and habitual thinking isn’t healthy, and there’s something we can all do to create behaviors and habits that better serve us. Recognizing the mind is wandering by developing strong, stable attention is the first step.

3. Make an intention to savor positive moments. Appreciation isn’t an activity we’re wired for. It makes perfect evolutionary sense that we’d always be on the lookout for dangers and threats to our survival. Maybe in 10,000 years we will be a species that naturally scans its environment for things to appreciate. But that will only happen if we begin, as individuals, to cultivate the habit of seeking out joy, beauty, awe, love and connection, and then savor them in our minds.

One way to do this is at bedtime, perhaps when you are taking stock of your inner resources. Recall just one moment that was pleasant. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary. These days, listening to the early-morning birds, seemingly unaffected by our shared human crisis, is remarkably beautiful for me. Or maybe you reached out to a friend and spoke on the phone rather than texting. Maybe hearing that person’s voice was a pleasant moment and reminded you of your connection. Whatever the moment was, recall it in as much detail as you can. What did it look like, sound like, smell like? And then feel the moment. How would you describe the pleasantness and what is its unique fingerprint in your body? What does awe feel like? Or connection? Or beauty?

4. Lovingkindness. This is a self-care practice that often seems a little weird, at first. It’s basically another way to express and practice appreciation, and it’s perfect for this time. Physical distancing is already an act of generosity. We can power that up even more by adding appreciation, kindness and connection, all from the comfort of our own homes and minds.

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