5 essentials for leaders of color’s toolkits during the quarantine

5 essentials for leaders of color’s toolkits during the quarantine

Similar to safety kits that are good to keep nearby in the event of an unforeseen emergency, leadership toolkits are paramount to surviving quarantine without a blemish. Furthermore, what’s in your kit matters a great deal. Now is a good time to take inventory and assess those elements that are vital during these uncertain times.  Below are five tools I found necessary to be fully equipped to endure such uncharted territory.

Healthy outlets – Whether it’s fast breaks in the middle of the day to take a walk (get some fresh air in those lungs), watching comedy or picking back up that long-lost hobby which was sidelined months or years ago (or finding a new one), it is imperative to find something you enjoy spending time doing and JUST DO IT. Don’t make excuses because you should have the time now. Be intentional. Set calendar invites. Put down a deposit if costs are associated which should motivate you not to lose money. For example, I created a quarantine bucket-list to include activities that accommodate social distancing (i.e., hiking through local trails, drive-in movies, bike-riding through the city, outdoor Yoga, meditation, mini-road trips, etc.). What can you add to your quarantine bucket-list?

Routines or schedules – If you had a schedule during normal times, then try to mimic it based on your new daily tasks. The prep time you spent getting ready for work and the time spent in traffic are invaluable opportunities to meditate, go for a jog, read a book, or catch up on sleep if you’ve been sleep deprived. Or you could use this time to create new traditions with family (e.g., morning video chats, cooking together, or evening walks).

Coach or confidant – While stuck in the house all day, you can vent frustrations to your furry friend, but beyond a nip at your toes or a playful lick to the face, advice or empathy remains a constant void. Therefore, it is critically important to have a coach (yes, shameless plug, but a necessary one) or confidant to hold the space for you. In this space, observations, revelations, and breakthroughs are bound to emerge. While in increased isolation, a confidant or coach is necessary to keep your imagination or own devices from running wild or out of control. Help with balancing is crucial.

Mental health pulse checks – The pandemic coupled with intense racial divisions and everyday life stressors can be a bit much even for those of us who are considered “tough cookies.” Hence, it is extremely important to devote sufficient attention to checking the status of your mental health. In other words, how are you doing? Not in the cliché sense of the question, but REALLY, how are you coping? What do you need day to day to establish or maintain peace, clarity, and a sound mind? What actions should you consider in order to take a pulse on your mental health? Should you poll those around you to confirm what they are noticing or observing? Is it self-reflection during quiet time in you place of solitude? What do you need from the universe in the space of mental health? Seek it daily.

Budget – If your budget was not in check prior to the pandemic, now is the time to course-correct. With travel primarily halted, retail on life support and large gatherings banned, which placed a pause on the majority of extracurricular activities, opportunities for budget adjustments are front and center. Spending habits pre-pandemic should easily stand out, allowing you to see where your money goes on a regular basis. What should be more revealing is what we can live without, financially. Furthermore, what can we do with these extra funds in preparation for a better financial future? Is it maxing out 401k contributions, paying off debt, or a sizable contribution to your favorite charity (in support of those who are struggling as a result of the pandemic) options to consider during this time? Whatever it may be for you, don’t miss the moment to invest in your future. Practice restraint from binge shopping on Amazon and make every dollar count. Your wallet will thank you later.

Everyone’s leadership capacity is different. However, there are essentials that will help you succeed, especially in these trying times. What you are prepared for dictates performance. Drastic times calls for drastic measures. Consequently, it is important to establish healthy outlets, develop a routine or schedule, find a coach or confidant, constantly perform mental health checks, and create and stick with a budget. These are the solutions to coming out of quarantine better than ever.

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