Communication During The Pandemic: Q&A with Karen Brandell
May 19, 2020
"We are all in this together" has been a phrase that every one of us has heard and seen repeatedly this year. That phrase applies to so many areas of our current lives, including changes in communication with our family and friends, coping with stress, and staying patient.
Today we are featuring a dear member of our Art in Voyage family, Karen Brandell. Karen has been developing and performing training sessions, workshops and retreats for over 30 years.
A huge thank you to Karen for sharing these strategies and tools that we can all use to guide communication during the pandemic.
A good way to open up the lines of communication may be for you to share how the current situation, whether it’s worry over finances, concern for health, or fear of job furlough is affecting your stress levels. Then ask them if they, too, are feeling anxiety and how are they're coping.
Encourage them to trust you as a sounding board when they have concerns and you’ll provide that support unconditionally.
Even if you have never experienced that natural high from exercise, you should feel refreshed and ready to handle what the day has in store with more vigor and patience. Give it a try—I think your family and co-workers will appreciate the new you.
If their response is “aw, come on, I was just kidding” then you should say that you find the remarks hurtful and ask to please stop. Body language and tone makes up for 93% of communication and your goal is to share your feelings in a non-confrontational manner to get the results you desire.
There is a great possibility the other person is not aware they have hurt your feelings, so give them an opportunity to apologize.
I try to listen for a few minutes and even share some of my concerns, but then say “Okay, let’s switch the mood here and talk about all the good things that we have to be thankful for right now.” Things like family, friends, health, home, etc.
This method is called Reframing the Picture and definitely will lighten everyone’s mood!
Adrenaline is a natural hormone that motivates us to take action. However, when too much enters our bloodstream too quickly, it can have a negative affect and we enter the Crisis Zone, where our heart rate jumps to over 175 bpm. That is a very scary thing to experience because clear thinking stops and we'll do and say things that are totally out of character. We call this the Fight or Flight Zone and it never ends well. When the heart rate returns to normal, there is plenty of damage control needed.
Cycle Breathing is an easy technique to learn and can be mastered by all age levels. It is breathing in through your nose while slowly counting to 4, holding your breath for 2 counts, and then slowly exhaling through your mouth to the count of 4. Repeat this 4-2-4 Cycle Breathing for 1 - 2 minutes. Your adrenaline will remain at a normal level and you will be able to handle the stressful situation.
Caution: It's never too early to start Cycle Breathing, but if you wait too late to begin, your diaphragm will be too constricted to permit a deep breath.
A POW is something that they feel sad about; for example, not being to meet their friends for burgers or playtime. A WOW might be that they are going to Zoom with their best friends later that evening or have a virtual game of Pictionary.
As the family starts to share these, it will stimulate conversation and they will look forward to the communication.
Who knows, it may even become a family tradition!