Taking care of your mental health in uncertain times, with Dr. Sherry Walling
Dr. Sherry Walling is a psychologist and entrepreneur adept at “helping smart people do hard things.” She was gracious with her time in this Post Status Webinar with Cory Miller, where Dr. Walling explained how to navigate life in uncertain times.
Here's the audio episode:
- Managing fear, worry, and anxiety.
- The coronavirus (COVID-19), and how to handle it.
- Isolation, social distancing, remote work, and mental health.
- Q&A on work boundaries, stress, and more.
- Take some big deep breaths: Do Dr. Walling's 4×4 breathing exercise: four slow seconds in, four slow seconds out.
- Refocus on gratitude: Make a list of what are you thankful for.
- Have the worry voice inside you make an appointment: Put it on a schedule that's not 24/7. Listen to it for a set time; it’s there to protect you, but once its time is up, move on.
- Connect with others daily: Social distancing doesn’t mean losing connection. Use FaceTime, Zoom, etc, and schedule a virtual Lunch or Snack.
- Have playtime: Whether that’s playing with Legos, cooking, or pulling our your old musical instruments.
- Get your heart rate up with exercise: Have a family dancing competition, do yoga or pushups.
- Limit your news consumption to 15 minutes a day.
- For single people living alone and missing physical touch: Find a soft, comfortable, and perhaps a heavy blanket, or take a hot bath.
- For entrepreneurs: Remember, you can’t do everything yourself and you can’t fix everything by yourself. We’re all in this together, especially your team: “Leadership means you're hosting the conversation. You're listening. you're engaging, it doesn't mean that you are the ultimate decider.”
- Zen Founder
- Dr. Sherry Walling's website
- @zenfounder — Dr. Walling's Twitter
- Calm Stability in the Crisis of Coronavirus (ZenFounder podcast)
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Cory: Hey, everybody, my name is Cory Miller and I am pumped to have my good friend Dr. Sherry walling. Here Today she is an experienced psychologist has worked with all types of people across the spectrum in particular how we got to know each other is her work with entrepreneurs. She is an entrepreneur, she happens to be married to a serial entrepreneur, but I love the breadth and depth of her experience, particularly with trauma. And so, amidst the circumstances, we find ourselves today, I texted Sherry and said, Would you do a q&a? Would you just have a conversation with me? And she said, “Absolutely.” Sherry, thank you for the time today. This is vital that we keep this conversation on and I appreciate you be willing to share your experience and expertise with whoever's on the webinar today.
Sherry: Yeah, thanks so much for asking. Cory and I had — we've had — lots of conversations related to mental health and the need for an open conversation about mental health in entrepreneur communities that we kind of live and work and breathe in. So I'm always grateful for the way that you are hosting conversations where people get to be honest about what they're needing and what part and also share what's helpful.
Cory: Absolutely. Well, just if you join And you can help me help others as they join the webinar late perhaps, and I'm talking to our attendees, that little button that says q&a on the bottom zoom, hit that and ask a question along the way, but Jerry and I are just going to geek out and have a conversation. And so I'm glad you can join us for it. Okay, Doctor,
Sherry: —this is also what it's like to have a coffee with Cory and me, by the way.
Cory: Exactly. Okay, doctor. The world is a little bit chaotic right now.
Sherry: Yeah, I noticed.
Cory: Um, I feel like this. This conversation is pertinent because right now, if we just kind of stay, here's where I'm going at what I'm going through. I've got two kids and now you've got three. Were quarantined. No school for the foreseeable future. They're talking about in Kansas, for instance, I think shutting down school for the end of the year. End of the school year. There's, I don't even want to look at my stock market equities stuff. Um, what are you feeling?
Sherry: You know, I think I go up and down probably like everybody else. So the pain point just for me personally right now is that I am continuing to work my husband is continuing to work because thankfully both of us still have work to do. And both of us have jobs that are fairly possible to do from home. But now we have all three of our children home off the road children who go to three different schools who are now trying to throw together online education over a weekend and you know, all of us who do work on the internet can appreciate that that's not very easy to do. So all my kids are like, how do I like it? How do I do this, how to do that, like nobody, none of the systems are flowing and that is, of course unnecessary. In where the best case scenario you've got two parents who are used to working from home and are flexible and things like that. So the bottom line is that there is no normal anymore for a while for anyone. And so there's a great deal of as you know, just anxiety and the need to be able to be extraordinarily flexible in a way that none of us are used to doing because especially those of us that run businesses we plan we look at spreadsheets, we think we're strategic, and all of those bands are not relevant right now for the foreseeable future, which is extraordinary—
Cory: So the one emotion I guess, that comes to mind in all of this and I'm speaking from personal experience here is fear. I think it was the first word I mentioned to you — so much fear — some of it just fear on fear, you know, just accounting fear. You can't go online or watch TV without being just bombarded about it. So if you had a microphone right now and the entire world could hear it and all their native languages and stuff, when we talk about fear, and fear produces anxiety, all this stuff. We can't we can get frozen in it. What? What's something you would say?
Sherry: I mean, in a way, I think we're all feeling it in our bodies. Like when even you say the word fear, like your la just kind of gets tight. Your chest gets heavy, it's hard to breathe. And on one hand, it feels really disingenuous to say don't be afraid. But on the other hand, we are all in the same boat and we will all All survived one way or another together. So I think the extent to which we can slow down that fear response and breathe and look around to see what is directly controllable which, you know for many of us is our bodies you know have gone on a walk today joining me to lay down for a nap What does my body need at this moment? Do I need just a really big glass of water, like the really, really simple things that are directly controllable help to counterbalance this sense of fear which comes from being out of control? And so getting really specific, slowing down, keeping life as simple as possible. They sound so simple, but of course, when we actually try to put them into practice, they're profound and somewhat difficult. But the, you know, the fear is in and of itself, its own problem. So turning down that fear even if it's well-grounded fear I'm I mean, I'm under No, no delusion that everything is fine. Everything is not fine, but the fear doesn't help.
Cory: Yeah, there's so much in there I want to impact. So when I think it was like a couple of days ago kids were home because of spring break here in Oklahoma. And we're looking at Oh, man, will they go back to school? markets, all that stuff. And I remember walking out that night and just looking at the beautiful sunset and going, the sun is still setting in the next morning when I woke up is still rose again. It's this weird thing. I guess we haven't told the son that there's a chaotic thing happening right now. But some of those things. One I think you just give us freedom and permission to know that fear is a human experience. But I like the words you said there — “what are the things we can control?” And I'm probably an admitted control freak. What are some of the prompts you ask yourself or your clients or others about that I want to get to? “Walk” and “sunshine” and all that because I know there's a big word called “play” that you love, you've helped introduce back to me. But, you know, for me, it's fun. It feels like okay, what can I control? You know, our responses potentially to freeze in the fear, let it compound and just suffocate us. And I go, what are the things I can't control? What are the things I know are fact like, you know, the sun setting and rising the next day?
Sherry: Yeah, I mean, I do think we can, we can control our body, sleep, food movement, we control our breasts, the ability to take slow deep breaths, we can control our thoughts. To some extent, and we can go back to breath in a minute, you want to talk more about that. But like, we can control our thoughts to some extent. And that's, that is the thing that I think feels really difficult right now. Because I know like you like my instinct is like, every time I pick up this magical device to be like, how many more? How many more cases are there? What's the market doing? Like, you know which borders are closed, which is open. You know, there's so much and I think some of the control that we all want to exert right now is to really limit the amount of factoids and information that we're, we're accessing right now. Like, obviously, it is an important time to have good healthy information on which to make decisions, but the amount of information is, is really not helpful. So 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes a night should probably do, yeah, you don't need to have your newsfeed buzzing all day. So controlling titrating turning up and down the volume around which you're exposed to information is helpful, that helps control your thoughts. Even specifically skewing your thoughts one way or another. I mean, his is the best time in the world for our gratitude practice, again, not because we need to walk around pretending it's all sunshine and roses, but because right now we're on this call and we're all breathing. And we're all okay so far. And that, in and of itself is I think going to become profoundly important to remember the things that are going well the things that are intact, the things that we can be grateful for. That helps to put some parameters around the power of fear to begin to sort of control our minds.
Cory: Yeah, I love that. The things you just mentioned are all just so simple. I think we have a tendency to … skim over them, but the fact that we can just take a breath and gratitude. I hadn't had that on the list before we talked, but gratitude those are things we absolutely control. In the past groups you and I have done together, you've really led. You really talk about the breath. And I know, yoga is a deep part of your life. I know. And that is not all about the breath. But you know, I know this is something we all have at our disposal right now, as you just said. Can you share some practices, some thoughts about that?
Sherry: So the super-fast version of the science is that there's this thing called the vagus nerve, which is based in our brainstem and then goes all the way throughout our bodies and after these tendrils of connection and all of our major organs, and that's a part of their bodies that declares all as well. So after we have that anxiety response, it's the vagus nerve that signals Okay, we're good now, like the tiger is not going to eat us today. And that is the part of the body that in a way we kind of want to hack those of you who coders here, do you want to hack to be able to say, Okay, I need to take my body into palm because my body's been living in fear. Anxiety too long. So the breath is this strategy that we use to help signal the all-clear sign to end the emergency response. You think about, it's almost impossible to be really upset and breathe really slowly there. There's kind of antithetical physical realities. So when we can engage our vagus nerve through deep, slow breath, we're essentially sort of pushing the dominoes to fall toward calm both in our mind and in our physiological reality. So the simplest practice, like the Easy, easy way to do this, is I call it it's just four by four breaths. So it's four seconds in, four seconds out, for birth should begin to turn the tide. It doesn't have to be this deep, 30-minute sort of meditation where you go into some existential Zen Nirvana place. Just really, that was a terrible cultural statement, I'm sorry, but four deep breaths. And the breath should be low and slow, which means we're pulling the breath all the way down into our belly or diaphragm and slowing it down. So lots of like apps and YouTube things about this. We can end with a breath practice if we have time. But it's beyond yoga and meditation. It's just really, really great concrete science to help counteract that anxiety response.
Cory: Well, this is something you know, I've read navy seals and combat. They control their breath. They weren't maybe before but you know, they weren't. So think about that in crisis. That first instinct is to take a big deep breath, but I love the former for practice, Southern by—
Sherry: I didn't learn that in yoga, I learned it working in with the military. Oh, that's right. That's right.
Cory: Well, I'd invite everybody right now and your own while we're talking. Let's do that the four by four, four slow, deep breaths in, slip four out. We're going to continue your conversations because I've got a lot to talk this year about, by the way, and I'm glad you're eavesdropping on our conversation. gratitude. It's that one that it's like, I know the science the studies are there. And it's that one that man, I just — my mind just wants to focus on all the junk, all the chaos. But it's kind of like that you're the former for deep breath is telling you. I love your statement there. It's hard to do both of these negative and positive things at the same time. So it is to pick feels that way was gratitude too, though. Yeah.
Sherry: I think when you're when you're acknowledging, making a list three to five things that you're grateful for. And that can be the fact that hey, I don't have to go to the doctor today. Or, you know, my kids are able to relate lead. So worst-case scenario can give him a book and we can call that school I mean there it can be really, really simple things it's pretty impossible to feel like everything is horrible when you can find those five things to be grateful for. So even you know, those of you who live with other people this is a great practice for the dinner table. When I was growing up, we would begin our meal with a prayer my family doesn't practice that tradition anymore, but we do begin our meal with a gratitude, and so each of our children will go around and just say one or two things that that are they're thankful are happening right now.
Cory: And what a great pair with the breathing you know, finding yourself going down the anxiety true deep, getting lost into feeling suffocated, whatever those sensations are, but then going back to the breath and gratitude. I think you're just really fantastic. You know, worry. So one thing that comes to mind for me is when something happens, I go catastrophe mode. And another fancy phrase, phrase for this is cognitive distortion, I believe cognitive bias traffic—
Sherry: —traffic thinking, yeah.
Cory: And I would bet you money that a lot of people go cash-free to, like the markets crashing, my 401k is screwed. Like, I'm not going to be rich, I'm going to be working until I'm 110 I live that low kind of thing. And that feels like something when we talk about worry is that our mind can it can work against us, too. What are some thoughts about that? My mind goes racing, I got a contest free I got a Yeah, you know, there is no I mean, the world is, you know, ending in my mind. I can see it all — all the bad things that could potentially happen. And how do I, how do I reset? I mean, we've just talked about breath for sure and gratitude, but how do we combat some of the — I call it my inner jerk.
Sherry: So I have maybe a little bit of a different take on that, especially right now, which is to like, let your inner jerk have his moment. So, you know, it's to sort of maybe sit down with Lindsey or meet with my husband, Rob, sort of say like, what is the worst-case scenario? Like? If we haven't, you know, to basically put it on your calendar, we're going to have two hours of catastrophe planning. And we're going to talk about all of the things that are going to fall for us it meant we like updated our will, you know, like, hey, both of us died from this virus who's going to watch our kids who haven't done in a while. We bought a hand-crank radio. So I don't know how the power is going to go out from coronavirus but like, you know, we have one in the basement now. So it's basically acknowledgment that you call it the jerk but like the sort of paranoid voice. So it lives in your head, is there as an attempt to protect you? Like, he's not really a jerk? He's just like, hey, Cory, are you paying attention? And so when we give them a moment and sort of say, Okay, what do you need to tell me? You know, and what can I possibly do with what is within my control my power to prepare for the end of the world? There might be some things, right you know, we have a really stupid radio thing, we have more batteries that we need, canned food … So I would say make an appointment with your, the crisis manager that lives in your head and give he or she a couple of hours of your focused attention and follow whatever recommendations are reasonable and you can reasonably do and then when that voice resurfaces, you can say “it's cool, dude, I got the hand-crank radio in the basement, like we did that, yeah, we have a water filter, you know? Or, you know, we've got some gold or you know…” Certainly, lots of these scenarios we can't perfectly plan for. But I think when we give that alarmist voice a little bit of airtime and make a plan accordingly, it helps to sue that more than just sort of push it down and say, Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. You're a jerk because I don't know I don't think he's a jerk or I think he's just trying to help you out.
Cory: Yes, a jerk voice though sometimes, but yeah, we'll get no I love that because I think there's this sense insane, like, make an appointment, bro. And then just my counselor a couple weeks ago, I was stressing about something like catastrophe. It wasn't related to this. Because Okay, tell me what you're gonna do. Keep going down the cash-free room. Okay. And I went dark and I went deep, and I started the video. Kind of laughing because I could hear myself say things and go do I really think this catastrophe is gonna happen? But I love your advice is that I mean there is some there's probably some sense of safety. I'm just thinking like, I want to go by hand-cranked radio, you know, but like I think there's some sense of like you've acknowledged it like you said, but also go in your head. There's a hand-crank radio, by the way. Hey, remember, I did listen to you. He may not be perfect for FEMA executive director, but you're helping me and I think what you're saying to Sherry is acknowledging that that also is natural that that inner the prey maybe not so jerk. She's there for good reason too.
Sherry: The alarm is protection has a role. We don't let it go crazy, but it doesn't also help to sort of shove it in the closet.
Cory: Yeah, then just pulls up even probably worse, when when you don't, you know, let these human things part of being human, kind of acknowledge them and, you know, thousands of years ago were in us biologically to help us survive and I think that's good. Okay, so we've talked about fear worry, there's some in that I think some of the uncertainty and some really good ways to tackle that. So let's switch gears just a tad in the situation we find ourselves in we just acknowledge like, you've got three kiddos. I've got two kiddos were sequestered at home, you know? Yeah. So it's, it's crazy. You know, Sherry have talked so long about that, trying to provide resources into the world that says I'm not alone. Yet this phenomenon that's trending which is a good reason for this particular this pandemic is social distancing. But we're sequestered in our house. You know? So this the situation we're in, I want to talk about parenting to and spouse, significant other roommates, all that. But, yeah, isolation. I mean, we have to oscillate in order to flatten that curve and do the right things and everything but there's a real phenomenon that we're pushing deeper into, which is isolation, social distancing, which is good for maybe a virus but not for our emotional high.
Cory: What are your thoughts about we're in our bunkers, right? We're in right we're told don't high five and hug. Yeah. Don't go Yeah, middle of groups, whether it be churches or groups for instance, or, you know, our workplaces. were told to go isolate like…
Sherry: — and that is where, you know, again, this magical device in my hand becomes really powerful because I can still FaceTime my mom in California. And, you know, I'm having, you know, a zoom snack later with my friend Anna. Like, I think that register zooms back. We're not drinking right now. So we're having Zoom snacks instead of Zoom drinks. But I think that, you know, the danger is that we mistake Facebook feed or twitter feed for connection. And there's a utility there, but it's not the kind of connection that we're craving. But if we get on the phone, get face to face, over the devices, with friends with people, we love that that's still a way to have a really meaningful connection that we all desperately need. Even the kids need, you know, my kids are facetiming a lot more people than normal. So, so Social distancing is about, you know, spreading germs. It's not about our hearts and our minds. social connection is as important if not more important than it's ever been before. And that's where technology is suddenly really, really helpful for all of us. But the thing that I want to stress is that it's intentional. It's connected, it's heart to heart. It's not just like reading the highlight reel on Facebook. Like that's not the kind of connection that we all necessarily need. It's the appointment. Let's sit down and talk. Tell me how you're feeling. What's driving you crazy. What are you grateful for? What's bringing you joy right now?
Cory: Those are great questions, like, just phone a friend or having a zoom snack. What's bringing you joy right now? What do you mean? You just, I see your Taekwondo here. You're a ninja. You're like, okay, ask the question. Maybe it's a conversation with someone who is a dear friend. Some of you haven't talked to a loved one. Back to the gratitude. Hey, can we have a deep breath together? I love that. Someone and by the way, let me just take a moment to say if you have a question, hit the Q&A button at the bottom of the Zoom window. And you can ask an anonymous question. A couple have come in. I'll take those in just a minute. But one of them said, Sherry, I really liked this distinction. Any thoughts on tape, changing the term social distancing to physical distancing? You can still be social. But yeah, it's there. There's a physical distance —
Sherry: —allotted for it. Yeah.
Cory: Yeah. I like that distinction. So maybe, I mean, I tend to think share a — try to think — take problems and see the opportunity in it. And you know, there's probably some kind of sunshine quote, I should figure that out. You know, like, every Rain, Rain is the rainbow or something. But there are opportunities were sequestered. It might be an opportunity where we're not in a busy office or having to run around like, you know, take kids to school and practice that we've got a little bit more time to And can use that to reach out to somebody we haven't. And, and I really, really, really like that and using technology, not trying to replace it. But right now it's a, it's an opportunity we have FaceTime is free soon, I'll have your zoom snack thing. So…
Sherry: Yeah, it's a good time to make a list of a couple of people who you haven't talked to in a while or who might be having a rough time of it. You know, I, I know my mom is quarantined all by herself in her big house in California. And she's, you know, when can come and no one can go and that's, so we're talking every day and we don't normally talk every day. And like, my yoga teachers and my kids, music instructors, like people who are really woven into the fabric of our lives, who have no income, all of a sudden, I'm sending them notes. So I think you know, we can again, we can change our frame of mind to say who needs a virtual high five, who needs a little reach out, who's going to be lonely? And I think that also helps our own mental health when we realize there's a lot I can do to be helpful. It doesn't involve maybe even finances or even just involve some fullness. So that's good for everybody.
Cory: So we've talked about just now about the forward, you know, pushing forward and reaching out. I want to switch in real quick and say, how do we ask for help? And you know, man sure this is hard. This is tough. I like to keep things bottled up. I like to try to be Superman, and do everything myself. But there is a very real-time this one, this is every single day, not just in the pain demo. Right now. It's heightened for even more of the population, I think, reaching out and saying I do need help. I do need support and how to do that.
Sherry: Yeah, I, I think this is really a tough one, especially for, again, our entrepreneur, brothers and sisters, because we're really used to being pretty autonomous and pretty capable of handling things ourselves. And all kinds of help is going to be needed, right? financial help, just emotional sanity help. Addiction help, parenting help. Like, I feel like there's really a pretty nightmare scenario where we're, we're stuck in the house, it's easy to start drinking more, it's easy to be a little more abrasive or rougher with your kids because they're going crazy and you're going crazy. You know, I just think there are lots of dominoes that could fall in a bad way and to be able to call someone and just say like, Okay, can you just talk to me for 10 minutes like I need a break from what's happening right now. Maybe you don't even have to use the H-word. Maybe you can say like, hey, “Just tell me a story from your day?” or “What are you reading right now,” you know, just get connected in a way that gets you out of the cycle that you're in. And there also may be times where you just really do need help to say, I can't pay my rent right now, or I have no work. Do you have, you know, reach out to some people? Do you have any extra projects or things that I can help you with? Or that it? I think the thing is that everyone is going to need help, you know, there's not going to be a family that's sort of untouched by all of this. And so we as leaders, as entrepreneurs, as people who are aware can now begin to set a new trend where now is just part of the vernacular to ask for an offer to help.
Cory: Yep. And I think we said examples about that, too, is I mean, I think many of us — I won't say most — many of us, and I'll just say myself, I'm good at offering help. I'm terrible at asking for help, you know, and I let it go too far and it gets, it gets tough. And I think you've hit a resonating thing, which is, this is not the time for social isolations in the sense of not the physical, we get to watch that with the virus, but that this is the time to lean in on connection and doing those to this amazing technology. We have the internet to do so free resources to do so. So I appreciate that. Okay, Sherry, I want to talk about things that I know you have put like squarely on my plate for so long. And if you follow Sherry on Instagram, you know, she does aerial yoga, I believe is the name of it.
Sherry: That's all my Instagram is.
Cory: It's all she told me a couple like a week ago she was she said she was two weeks ago. She was in Vegas and she was going to the circus on site. I remember the circus and that wasn't actually the circus. It was aerial yoga. The Circus I remember. But the word that I'm coming to share is the one that you've really helped introduced to me, which is called play, like most of us think play was when I was a kid. It's what my kids do. But you've been very intentional about talking about play. And its necessity and I think it might tie into, I'm gonna approach it again, exercise the things that we could do. You know, we talked about the breath, we talked about gratitude, there's play this component that I would love for you to tell me more about us about and then exercise too, and how to dance really.
Sherry: It's really counterintuitive, because I think we need play more than ever, but the world feels so very serious. And especially those of us who are grownups with lots of grand responsibilities. We can feel a lot of pressure to live in that seriousness all the time and our bodies and our minds really need play, which is essentially a word that It describes being part of an activity purely for the joy of it for a sense of getting lost in it for a sense of you know, flow is another word. Because it sort of stimulates your curiosity and your sense of joy not because it leads to a certain kind of outcome. So people play in lots of ways I happen to have fallen in love with play related to circus, which is very physical, but, you know, playing music, playing by cooking by, you know, working through a cookbook, so I think, you know, if anything, I would love to challenge each of us to find a quarantine play activity. Maybe that's building a new york Lego set, or maybe it's, you know, mastering handstands or something that is a break from the heaviness of life and just lets you be joyful and light-hearted Again, it's a counterbalance, we have all of this heaviness. So we need to introduce some more lightness, we have all of this sadness and fear, we need to introduce more joy. We have all of this like deep, difficult intellectual problem solving to do we need to introduce more sort of nonlinear, playful, less structured ways of thinking and ways of using our brains. So play the engages the body is like doubly helpful because you have all the benefits of play and then all of the benefits of movement. But play doesn't. It doesn't have to be physical. It's just, you know, it's nice if it is you just want to be able to lose yourself in something.
Cory: Yeah, by the way, if you're not following Sherry on Twitter, you need to. I've stolen her ideas that she tweets…. Please keep doing this. One of them was talking about Legos and I was like, you know, Calloway my son that's got a roomful of Legos, man. Maybe we could reconstruct the things. He's completely obliterated. Going back to that joyful time like, it could be, you know, doodling what thinking back as a kid and going What? What brought you joy that you'd like lost yourself in video games, whatever. I know you even mentioned to Netflix and chill like, you brought up one on Twitter By the way, she's at Zen founder. And I'll give you her website address, which is Sherry walling calm too, as well. But you mentioned the West Wing on the classics that we bought. And so, we've been just a couple things. But I love this it could be what is that art, like breaking out the instrument, you know, the musical instrument, you know, that's dusty in the closet or, you know, something and I love that you continually and you follow you know, Sherry scream, you will see that she loves the play aspect, and I think that's such a great reminder for me every time I see it, I'm like, I don't know if I could do the aerobatic stuff, but—
Sherry:—you could if you made it your ambition.
Cory: That's true. I can make it—
Sherry:—into your quarantine project, you could.
Cory: Yeah. And I love you how you've paired also, it doesn't have to but me, you know, exercise being kind of the wonder drug, getting your heart rate up doing something which we can all maybe do a push up or sit up for something, even in our confined space to do that, and, you know, I can remember the book offhand but you know, he says that wonder drug so finding something within your, you know, physical space to do YouTubing some things I think is great just getting that body, you know, what do you call that? pulse, the heart —
Sherry: …heart rate elevator getting some adrenaline, some endorphins flowing. I mean, it's also good old fashioned catharsis, right, for he talked about this the sense of like, just moving big emotion, through and out of the body. And we know that the longer that emotions are sitting stagnant in us, especially stress, it causes a lot of chemical changes within our body. So if we can engage in whether it's playful or just deeply physical activities that help, like, shift around to that chemistry, it's much better for us in the long run. So things like dancing are both like neurologically stimulating because you're like, what? Which left foot which one is left and where does it go? But also take you they require you to think about something that's not the coronavirus or your you know, your business spreadsheets. So something that engages your mind, as well as your body, is really, really helpful.
Cory: Yeah, like that. So, you know, Sherry Lindsey is listening and I don't like to dance. First thing, you know, she's gonna say is like, let's do it. Let's dance. [laughing] Cory.
Cory: Well, I want to, I want to make sure we have some time and space for questions and there's a couple that have come in Sherry and again, by the way, hit that Q&A button right there, and you can do it anonymously. I will be the only one that sees the actual questions and but it also says anonymous when you click anonymous. So please hit that. There are a couple of questions. So you just hit on stress, or you know, use the word stress in your sentence. And so one of the questions was, my spouse is in a complete state of denial, running a manufacturing plant, and when the shade the state has shut down all the essential stuff. So what if, what if you have people in your life that are in a sense of like, denial? And I've honestly, I'll tell you, some people that don't really take the measures that the CDC and government officials that know way more about these things than me have suggested don't take it. Don't take it very seriously. So, thoughts on thoughts on how to handle the denial or you know, lack of seriousness about the issues at hand?
Sherry: Yeah, that's a tough one in a family for sure. I mean, I think it's helpful that those conversations happen very intentionally. So as opposed to, like, you know, in this scenario, it's partners that live together. Like, you're not doing dishes or sort of running from one thing to another or like, you're not distracted, but you sit down and you say to your significant other, like, I, I appreciate that you see this way. I see it in a different way. And I am quite concerned and I would like your help in implementing some of these measures for our family. And you just make it a very personal conversation. You don't try to go, you know, toe to toe or head to head about like which news sources which and you know, how many people die of the flu versus how many I mean, don't just don't engage in the kind of infowar and just say “hi” to me It's gonna help my heart. Yep. If you just stay home for two weeks, like just as a favor to me, like let's just bunker up together. And I think not try to, you know, sort of went over someone's mind as much as you just asked for their heart can be a little bit more compelling than trying to debate them into submission, which you know, never works.
Cory: Well and I didn't get to this but it brings up the topic and there are two questions on this kind of thing, which is now we're isolated with our family that we don't spend 24 hours a day with basically, yeah, and now we look on potentially weeks of doing this. There's going to be inevitable conflict arguments. It's, you know, it can feel like in the isolation … with people. And I know I'm not the best to always get along but Okay, so here's, here's a couple of thoughts here that came in through anonymous questions if your employer wants you to work 100% but you can't because of kids, not having a workspace, etc. How do you maintain that boundary without pushing yourself too hard?
Sherry: Yeah, I mean, I think everybody is, is sort of having a lot more attuned to what they need. So, you know, talking with your significant other unit. So for example, today I have a monster day I've just scheduled from nine to six straight just the day that it is for me today. Friday, much more flexible. So I sat down with Rob and I said, Look, you're on duty on Wednesday, because I'm really busy. But I'm Friday, I'll be on duty, we got to sort of trade back and forth. So talking with the people in your house about what they need what you need. I've also sat down with each of my kids individually and said, Hey, guys, here's the reality like all of us are home. The house cleaner is not common. Nobody can leave. Your mom and your dad were both more stressed than normal. So and I know You're more stressed than normal. So here are some of the things that I need from you. What do you need from me? So I mean, my youngest is nine. But so we're having some really open dialogue about stress and emotion and how that affects our household and how our household runs. I think it's also an open conversation with your employer. I mean, many, many people are now home with their children, and again, minor nine to nine-year-olds and a 13-year-old but they can like make their own breakfast and like do things. But if I was home with a three-year-old, like, I couldn't be doing, you know, you can't work in a focused way. So that's a conversation with the employer to say, I need a scale my hours back or maybe I can just add six hours on Saturday so that I'm working shorter days or I'm mixing up my hours so I can do it when my kids are sleeping, like sit down and think about what you need to help your life kind of work and begin To ask people for that, there might be some negotiation, but there has to be flexibility from other people too. So don't sit here assuming I have to work full time, I have to watch my kids full time I have to, you know, like that's, that's not realistic, this is not going to be just this week, this is going to be for a while. So you have to proactively protect your energy and ask for what you need from other people, including your clients, including your employer.
Cory: We were having this conversation and some similar, you know, stock market, all that kind of stuff work. And my thought was, you know, there's, let's say there's a natural disaster that happens that come through, and then there are people affected, but not everyone is affected. This particular thing, everyone, the globe, essentially, is the stock market. Everybody's in our place, work. Most everyone is in our place. Whether it's worrying about a job worrying about if you know selling We're going to continue. And but I think going back to what you said, just reiterating the boundaries. I mean, what a great thought there and scheduling out, this is what I'm dealing with. It's what we're dealing with. We did that this morning talking to that now, it's not perfect, like you said, and that's the other thing is, it's never going to be perfect, but we're going to make the best of it. Okay, so we've talked about parenting a little bit, and I said, You're not parenting, but really having people in the house. And there's a flip to our conversation, which is the single people that might be at home having to, you know, quarantine, and you've talked about the connection there. But again, so for our single friends on the call, too, we got kind of that specific advice about searching in place alone. But what other issues or concerns and having no one to touch or runaway thoughts, for example, someone asked, you know, compelling the isolation when we've talked about it parents like we're not I'm going to be alone. There are people here physically with us. But you can still feel alone for sure. But for our single friends out there,
Sherry: Yeah, I think this is a time to, to, again, get a couple of people on your list that you're just going to say, hey, you're my person for the quarantine. Let's check-in every day. Let's just make sure we're both Well, yeah, and I, you mentioned it may be a little in passing, but the idea of touches are a really big deal for for this sort of quarantine process. And it's imperfect, but like things like a really warm, fuzzy blanket things where you can sort of feel pressure on your skin, if you have a pet, that's great, but realizing that your body is is also going to sort of need some sense of comfort in sort of on the cellular level. So if you're living alone, you know, extra, like nurture on your body so you know, warm baths. lotion, things that sort of help take care of your skin or even your sort of touching your own skin. Skin sort of stimulates this sense of calm within our bodies that is pretty physiologically hardwired, warm blankets, you know, things that are heavy. And then having your list of people who are you're checking people, so every day, you're talking with someone or you're seeing someone's face, even if it's virtually to just be really proactive.
Cory: Single buddy, I like that single buddies being there for each other leaning on each other.
Sherry: Or even, you know, you don't have to be single like my, you know, my friend Anna, who we're having the Zoom snack, she lives by herself. I don't live by myself, but I certainly would like to talk to somebody that's not my husband or children today. She needs a break from quiet, I need a break from them. It'll work.
Cory: But I love in the absence of being able to physically touch another human being a fiver a hug. The warm blanket the heavy heavy blankets. I know if they have pets, of course, I love that specific tip. That's this seemed like it just resonates so deeply. Thank you for saving for your skin. Yeah, suit the suit to your skin. Yeah, absolutely. And there's that my daughter loves these little soft blankets and every time I touch she's just — and I'm like, man, I should steal that for an hour. Hey, everybody, we have like 14 minutes. Thanks for eavesdropping on our conversation together. Sherry's always just I love talking to her Do you can just tell in her voice and she's got such a true calling and all of this and spent most of her life either in education or with clients helping people. So thank you again. Sure. It's been so good. Okay, so let me look through some questions real quick. Yes, this will be recorded by the way. We'll post it. Post it right after this or shortly after. I think We got some of that…I'm just looking to the questions real quick. “To compound the stress, we're older parents one child is a senior in high school, given a stress that he wants to go out. We're financially strapped, scared that we will not financially make it through this. I'm a type A personality. So this has really affected me. And again, I want to give the disclaimer for my dear friend Sherry, she's not doing therapy. One-on-one therapy is private. It's with a professional license. Sherry has just made herself available to answer questions and offer tips. But thank you, Sherry, any thoughts on you know, a situation like this where Okay, I can imagine my kids are too young, they want to go out but there's rain stuff. It's not like they can drive away. And then there's mention of the financial stress which is the thing that most of us, all of us are looming You know, economic crisis, for instance.
Sherry: It kind of comes back to control what you can control. With financial stuff, you know, there are ways that we can all probably tighten up well, we'll have to because nobody's going out to eat. So, sort of planning for the worst as much as possible. But also, again, realizing everyone's in the same boat, like, I don't know what the government's gonna do. I don't know how they're gonna. I don't know how we're all going to put it back together. But we all will have to work together to put it back together. Because all of us are feeling it and will continue to feel it. And I know that that's deeply comforting, but I think it is important to realize you don't have to solve this on your own. And that sense of, you know, how do I work it out. Other people will feel as well. Man with the kiddo though who is like, just doing their own thing or teenager? I have a 13-year-old. He's like the best and worst human that I know. And Peston worse. Um, and I think you know, again, you can try to do the logic and then you just got to do the love and just say like, Hey, man, my heart won't let you go out. I'm gonna hide your keys if I have to. Or, you know, if you go out like you're putting your whole family at risk, and maybe you don't care about that right now, but like I do know, it's a tough conversation.
Cory: Yeah, absolutely.
Sherry: There's enough social pressure on everyone to help reinforce it's not just like, mom's word or dad's word. It's universal.
Cory: So I want to ask this one to a question for entrepreneurs specifically because you are one you live with one. Rob is a tremendous human being is like you are and also brilliant entrepreneur, but you know, for someone that's responsible for, you know, other people's livelihood, potentially, yeah, as an entrepreneur, I mean, uncertainty. It's, we call it the roller coaster for a good reason. And this one just starting to go, you know, it's, it's going downhill and thinking, Okay, well, I know some people that potentially have restaurants or service companies or everybody feeling some sense of like, what happens if nobody can move and do anything. And then they're, you know, this ripple effect. Thoughts for entrepreneurs on this? This is a down this is a downward swing potentially for the roller coaster of entrepreneurship, thoughts about how we, as entrepreneurs, you know, we're also leading other people and how we do that. Well.
Sherry: You know, I think, as always, there's an invitation for very calm, intentional communication, which is to say, Hey, this is a situation right now. I, you know, I know I've got runway for however long. And then there may be a time when we need to adjust what we're doing. I think, again, everybody gets it. You as an entrepreneur, as a business owner with employees, you don't have a magic wand, you're doing the math like everybody else. And the more that you can just constantly communicate and do your best to keep people calm, but also give them a realistic picture so they can sort of make their choices as best they can too. You know, it's not easy, but don't put yourself in the superhero position like you can't save your self, your family, the whole world, all your employees like you are not responsible if you need to, like lay people off or make some different choices like there is a massive virus and that's what is causing this I think people sometimes take a little bit too much ownership, which is not to say be, I don't know, all of this is a balancing act, right? Be careful, be wise, be strategic, communicate, treat others the way that you will want to be treated. And at the end of the day, I realize that there are just really significant limits to what is within your power to do.
Cory: That is such a dear message for my brothers and sisters that are entrepreneurs. You can't control everything, obviously. And you're not Superman they can magically or I don't know, some magical wizard that's gonna make everything better. And I like what you just said there's a limit there's to what we can do, and we'll try our best and communicate. So here's another thing too, on this kind of topic, cheery, trying to balance this Brian for his team calm and confidence but also not ignoring reality that as a lot of full unknown. And I and I would feel disingenuous, not admitting that any tips on how to walk those lines. You know, you know, you've, you've seen, we've talked about this as being vulnerable and open with people, but not scaring the crap out of them to making the situation and that's a balanced two.
Sherry: And I in a way, you know, when all else fails, you tell the truth, which is to say, Hey, I'm working hard to keep us all employed, you know, these are the steps that I'm taking, these are the things that I'm trying. But I am worried if this goes on for two months or three months. So, you know, let's, let's all think together about what we might be able to contribute in order to solve this problem, in order to stay to stay fresh. So again, everyone is in the same boat. So tell the truth about that. I think people find that comforting.
Cory: Why going back to something you said I think applies here too Sherry is like, this is what I know. I know, that I want you to have I want us to keep going. Yeah, I don't know what the financial future looks like for the entire world. We just don't know those things and coming back to those trees. And also like the message of like, it's hard to say this because we can't physically be together. But this is our time to rally as humans and the team. Like, I don't know what the feature is that what I do know is I love you, I care about you. I care about your family. You know, I think those things are really good, really good words too.
Sherry: You, I think, again, depending on your context, because these are very context-dependent kind of questions. But it's also you know, I wouldn't save this for every team, but it's okay as a leader to sort of put it back to the team and say, here are the numbers. Here's the work. Here's the timeline, like what do we want to do? Maybe people are going to say, hey, let's just take 25% off. Across the board will help reduce our salaries will, you know bank that money? Hopefully or, I mean, I think you can think creatively together. And again, not feel the pressure of I have to solve this for everyone. That's not what leadership means. Leadership means you're hosting the conversation. You're listening. you're engaging, it doesn't mean that you are the ultimate decider. You're not the wizard to use your term. Yeah.
Cory: Yeah. I love that. We don't have to have the answer. We're not gonna have the answer.
Sherry: We can't. You don't. You can't. It's not a choice.
Cory: We can put her my partner used to say the open hand approached open palm is like how do we? That's a great question. How do we figure this out? That goes for family situations too, right here. How to, hey, we're in this together. This is you know, if we find this rainbow in the storm cloud kind of thing is, this is forced our human race to go. We're in this together, even the ones that maybe don't even have a quote case. Have the virus, especially as to say like we are all in this together. And it's an opportunity for Philly, all of us to come together at this time. Che just a couple more minutes. I want people to know how to get ahold of you or resources. And before I let you say that I want to say, Sherry, thank you again, everybody. Thank her please, chat online if you feel do so on Twitter. She's ads and founder. But I want to mention one thing, too. She's got a prolific podcast. And the last podcast episode she did is called calm stability. Can you hear that in her voice, by the way, should be calm stability, calm by Sherry Wallace. But go do that she's got a ton of resources there particularly for entrepreneurs. Sure, how can people learn more about you and the different pieces of content? Ah, I forgot to do this Sherry. She's got a great book called How to keep your sh t together and I'll put a link to do that in the chat or somebody can put a link to that in chat, by the way, it's 399 on Kindle. It's a great resource that Sherry and her husband Rob put together just for these times. I don't want to miss that. But how else can we kind of keep on the Sherry? Sherry fan? Fan bank bandwagon?
Sherry: Yeah, you know, I think, and I'm just really happy to do it, Cory, anything, like, like all of you, if I can find a little space of where I can offer something helpful, what an honor for me to be able to offer something helpful. And I think all of us are sort of asking, How can I be helpful. So you know, I'm right alongside you and the rest of your team and ask him that question. I mean, the podcast, I hope is a great resource in terms of just, you know, freely available. It's not always perfect, but you know, we try to provide some thoughtful content that helps people navigate the storms that sort of safe all of our mental health. But yeah, if people want to reach out to me, I'm at Sherry wall. dot com or Zen founder, comm z and founder calm so yeah,
Cory: I'll put the link in the recording. But also Lindsay's put the link to her book, fantastic book, a couple of recaps, I just want to say from what I heard from Sherry, from what I heard from you, my friend. We're in this together, a big four by four, deep, low breath, for in four seconds in four seconds out, gratitude. Find a way to play. Still, your kids like this, break out a board game, do something, find a way to play to this element of childlike joy. Exercise is a great antidote. Find a way to get your heartbeat up. Stay connected. Have your list of people that you're going to connect with every day, or frequently to do that as a kind of an antidote to the time that we're in. Sherry Thank you, please. Say hi to Rob and the kiddos. And thank you so so so much for your time. Today sharing I think this was a big deep breath for everyone and you're calm presence and you're just sharing your tips and things have helped a lot of people that I hope will keep you going and you can share these things. Practice these things actually be an example for others and reach out when we need help. So any less than this year, thanks.
Sherry: Thanks so much and thanks for having the conversation. We'll have the conversation as many times as we need to tell this is a little bit better.
Cory: Yes ma'am. Thank you, everybody. Stay safe and healthy. mentally and physically. See you