• Gina DiStefano

I'm Surviving. Are You?

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

I'm a small business owner, single mom, and newly appointed home school teacher - And this is how I'm hanging on

Well, well, well. We’ve gotten ourselves into quite a pickle with this here coronavirus, haven’t we?

As the initial shock begins to wear off, we are all attempting to figure out what our new “normal” will look like.

For me, the past three weeks have been spent wrapping my head around the severity of all this, and allowing myself to process. Some days are much darker than others, and on those days, I give myself permission to feel and deal.

In true entrepreneurial form, I have processed and put a plan in place. I understand that’s tricky, especially when the unknown has never been so prevalent.

I want to share how I’m staying sane and optimistic during these challenging times. First, I accept I have no control over anything that is happening in the world right now. I fully feel the fear, what if’s, and sadness.

Second, I reflect on what I’ve already overcome thus far in life. I was recently hit hard with several revelations. A big one occurred while unpacking takeout for my first Easter with just me and my two sons. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, it dawned on me…I was calm. It was easy. I was wearing pajama pants and drinking mimosas. There was no pressure, no “I shoulds” like all previous holidays I have experienced. It was glorious. And then it was very uncomfortable. I felt like there was something wrong with me because during this insanely stressful time, I was surprisingly calm.

As I stood there, I was triggered back to times in my life where this feeling of calm was no where in sight. Times where I didn’t even deem it a possibility to feel.

During my thirties, I lived a lifestyle that looking back, I’m surprised didn’t kill me. I was married, had a toddler, was pregnant with my second, working full-time in a high-pressure job, starting a consulting business on the side, and running an entire household from buying soap to managing the finances. I had 2 cell phones going at all times and I had very little help. But I survived.

When my marriage ended suddenly and abruptly I had no time to mentally prepare. I found myself at 35, a single mother, absolutely terrified. But I survived.

I’ve spent my entire adult life battling fear and anxiety. I've worked non-stop to prevent my worst fear from happening - losing my ability to provide a safe, stable environment for my boys. So far, I’ve been successful. Until about 3 weeks ago. When everything changed.


Just like that clients dropped, contracts were not signed, and I found myself in a classic “WTF?” moment. My worst fears had come true. I lost a massive amount of income in a short amount of time. With no time to prepare.

Before it even had time to sink in, I was suddenly a full-time teacher. My kids were home 24/7. I have no patience, and my technological skills are nothing to brag about. This deadly combo provided another interesting challenge.

So, here we are. Just about a month into this. Some individuals continue to completely freak out, some continue to fully accept and not feel as anxious, but the majority of us are somewhere in between.

Since I am seemingly veering towards full acceptance, and limited anxiety consistently, I want to share how I’m making this happen.

It starts with complete acceptance, vulnerability and intention.

You must accept your current situation and acknowledge your truth; it's only then you can focus on your intentions.

Here are some hard truths that I’ve come to accept at this time:

• Financial uncertainty • Concern for the well-being of others both physically and financially • Pain for those suffering with the virus • Surrendering to my complete loss of control

It's kind of hard to figure out a game plan to sustain your business, while home schooling your children, and managing your finances, right?

It’s easier than you think.

After I’ve accepted the situation, reminded myself of what I’ve overcome, and what my truths are, I can now focus on what I can control, and what my intentions are.

Here’s what I can control:

  • I can control what influences my feelings (i.e.: media, people, situations, food, alcohol, how I work, kids, etc.).

I can control how I respond to these outside influences:

  • Limit media/news.

  • Limit contact with people who make me feel worse about my current situation.

  • Increase contact with those whom empower me and remind me of who I am.

  • Focus on what situations make me feel good (i.e.: talking to friends, Netflix, exercise, wine, reading, helping, volunteering, etc.).

  • I can control what I chose to do with each terrifying thought that consistently runs through my mind.

Here are my intentions:

  • I intend to get through this; as I have every other challenge I’ve been faced with in the past.

  • I intend to come out stronger; as I have every other challenge I’ve been faced with in the past.

  • I intend to help as many people as I can during this time; as I have during every other challenge I’ve been faced with in the past.

  • I intend to face this challenge with a completely different mindset as I have NEVER done with other challenges I have been faced with in the past.

How you choose to get through this challenge is up to you.

I have chosen to run my business, my life and my household in the exact same manner. I’ve decided I can only control 3 main things right now in the lives of myself and my children.

Those are:

1. How many acts of kindness I/we can provided during the day. 2. How much schoolwork and business work gets done in a day. 3. How much fresh air we get.

I fully intend to accomplish these things every day. However, we usually reverse the process of achieving our goals. We state our goals in specificity from the start. By doing so, we set ourselves up for failure. We think by writing out our goals, we have something to shoot for, and feel great when we get to check it off. But what happens when you don’t meet one of those goals? You practically negate all the good from the day. Reverse that.

What are today's intentions?

Instead of a laundry list of detailed to do’s- I write out “Today’s Intentions” on our white board. They’re simple. They are always the exact same; acts of kindness, schoolwork, fresh air.

At the end of the day, we fill in what we accomplished. It’s usually far more than we thought. Because one “kind text” to a friend leads to 5. Because starting with our favorite subject usually gives us energy to go on to the next. Because once we start walking the dog to the corner, it usually goes much longer. It feels great to see how putting solid intentions leads to more empowering actions.

I also do this with my business, with the exact same structure. Currently I’m focusing on reaching out and help as many people as I can. My intentions are clear and genuine but at the same time I'm building relationships with everyone I speak with.

Now more than ever, we need to focus on what we can control. Right now, I can control conversations and intentions. I can build relationships. And by taking control, helping others and building relationships, we subconsciously put ourselves on the right track.

I’ve overcome quite a lot. I challenge you to try it my way. Regardless you’ll survive. But aren’t you interested in attempting a new way? A better way? If you are, now’s the time to reach out. I’ll gladly help all those I can to create your new “plan”.

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