How can we help you? 6 Coronavirus survival tips guaranteed to lift your spirits

Issue 123 — March 16, 2020

My daughter brought me a roll of toilet paper wrapped beautifully in purple tissue. We shared a knowing laugh. I wanted to hug her but we elbow bumped.

Even Disneyland is closed for heaven’s sake, so though restaurants in my neighborhood are still packed, we didn’t go out for dinner.

This stuff is serious. So leaders and all of us have to be serious about containing COVID-19 so we can conquer it. Stay home to stay well is the mantra.

Which doesn’t mean we have to lose our sense of humor. It’s a good time to watch silly dances on TikTok. To make phone calls to people you haven’t seen in ages all over the country or world. To clean out closets, as a friend bored with the lack of his favorite live entertainment was doing.

It’s a time for innovation and creativity, for solving the very problems that are keeping us socially distanced. HT to Jackie Zehner for sharing this article about Vital Vio, a female-founded company that “designs lights meant to continuously kill bacteria — is working with Delta Air Lines Inc. to bring its antimicrobial LED lights to airplanes.” The founder, Colleen Costello, had the idea of using LED lights to kill bacteria such as MRSA and e coli that live on surfaces in in hospitals. Could be a game changer, hastened along by Coronavirus.

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Despite the President stating that he takes no responsibility, each of us can exercise leadership from wherever we sit. We can take part in the solutions to the pandemic, and all of us working together surely will.

Our second U.S. first lady, Abigail Adams, was so wise that were she living today she might have been running to be the first female president of the United States. Instead she was wife to the second president and mother of the sixth. In 1780, she wrote to her teenage son, John Quincy Adams: “These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station that great characters are formed…Great necessities call out great virtues.”

It’s in moments of creative chaos like these today that new technologies are born, and revolutionary culture shifts are created.

It doesn’t help to deny the anxiety you might for good reason be feeling. The first step in coping with anxiety is to acknowledge it.

But it also doesn’t help to be immobilized by the situation. In fact, I find that taking action of some kind, any kind, is the best antidote. If I feel powerless, starting to work to create a solution to my predicament brings the locus of power back inside of myself.

So I put together a few survival tips to help you “carpe the chaos,” which just happens to be my Leadership Power Tool #5:

  1. You might be isolated in your home, but reach out in whatever ways are possible. The scenes and sounds of home bound Italians joining together in song from their apartment balconies lifted the world’s spirits as well as their own. Connect with other people directly every day.
Photo: Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times

2. Look for counterintuitive opportunities to achieve your goals. Take The Lead plans to launch one of our signature 50 Women Can Change the World programs, this one for women in law. I was bemoaning the fact that under the economic circumstances caused by Coronavirus, it might be hard to find law firms to sponsor the program. Then I saw this article: “For Some Practices, Coronavirus Uncertainty Is Bringing a Spike in Demand” in The American Lawyer. I can assure you that Take The Lead will be offering all our leadership development programs virtually. We’ll take this opportunity to make all our training and coaching programs available in high quality to individuals and companies using digital platforms, And why not take the opportunity of time at home for yourself to upgrade your leadership skills?

3. Explore available resources to get the help you need, and don’t be shy about using them. Here are a few ideas:

  • UHaul offers free storage for college students moving out.
  • Check out and try out these LinkedIn courses for successful virtual teamwork to maintain productivity.
  • U.S. Labor Department allows unemployment benefits for Coronavirus that can be found here.

4. Have some fun. What artistic events or learning have you been wanting to experience that you haven’t had time for?

And don’t forget to binge listen to my Power To You Podcast. Plus, do me a huge favor and while you have the time, review it on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, or all of the above. It will help Take The Lead spread the word about our work and our valuable leadership tools and tips.

5. Help someone else. Nothing elevates the feel-good hormones like doing something to help another human being. Seattle, the first major city in the U.S. to experience a coronavirus spike, became a model for people helping each other. Pick one thing you can do or one person you can help. It will lift your spirits immediately. As Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky suggested on the Facebook page of his Los Angeles congregation, B’nai David-Judea. “The very last thing we need right now is a mindset of mutual distancing. We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way. Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might help that other, should the need arise.”

6. Above all listen to public health experts and follow their instructions.

Stay well, stay safe, and always let us know: How can we help you?

GLORIA FELDTis the Cofounder and President of Take The Lead, a motivational speaker and expert women’s leadership developer for companies that want to build gender balance, and a bestselling author of four books, most recently No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she teaches “Women, Power, and Leadership” at Arizona State University and is a frequent media commentator. Learn more at and Tweet @GloriaFeldt.

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