Xiaoying Yuan, founder / owner of J. Yuan & Associates New York
While self-quarantining is saving millions of lives on our planet, it is also disrupting everyone's routines. I still recall the panic, fear and sadness that I felt deep down inside on the morning two weeks ago when Andrew Cuomo confessed that he was considering locking down New York City. When the entire world, including the art industry, is completely shut down, art collectors are clinging to their desires for their favorite works. On the other hand, seeing a million-dollar painting online will not help a newly laid off corporate employee to pay his rent and to put food on the table for his family. While art lifts our spirits, it does not save lives. This is the truth for the time of crisis. The things we care most about are all related to our survival.
This having said, whether you are a loner or a social butterfly, an artist living in your imaginations, or a business owner measuring your success with numbers, being locked down at home at the peak of the global pandemic, the worst thing you can do is to reject this rare opportunity of turning a disaster into a brand new lifestyle. Take the chance to restructure your life, design new routines, improve your life habits, and make yourself-quarantine time a healthy, meaningful, and fulfilling lifestyle. Whatever the profession you practice, no matter how much difficulty you need to overcome on a daily basis, know when to do what and how your life will proceed every day in a time of crisis is the best way to feel grounded, confident, and hopeful.
All that you need to focus on is remaining a clear-headed winner in a world filled with uncertainty and disorder.
Incorporate meditation into your daily life
Psychology Today suggests that we incorporate meditation into our daily activities during times of crisis. If you have never tried it, start now. Meditation helps us to calm down, connect with our inner-self, and focus on the present. During these times when we wake up every day to shocking news and feel overwhelmed, we need to start to protect ourselves from major loss and eliminate our anxiety. Meditation eliminates our anxiety, maintains our mental health, and strengthens our immune system.
Use your morning and evening time to nurture your inner strength
Morning time is crucial as it’s the beginning of a new day. It’s essential to know how NOT to set up our day for worry, confusion, fear, or any negative feeling that prevents us from feeling gorgeous about ourselves and our life. If you open your eyes at noon followed by two hours of gathering all heartbreaking news on coronavirus on your mobile phone, there is a probability that you begin your day feeling stressed and overwhelmed and will continue to feel this way until your bedtime. And you might not even be able to sleep at night.
Go to bed early and get up early. Use your morning and evening time to nurture your mind and your body, increase your inner strength. “Having inner strength allows you to pursue your dreams and goals and live your life to the fullest.” (How to build self-confidence, inner-strength & resilience, by Ann Naimark, Psych Central, July 8th, 2018) The best way to accomplish this is to convert challenges in life into rare opportunities to train ourselves.
Steal two extra hours every day by getting up early in the morning. Limit your time with negative news, focus on things that bring you a good mood, an abundance of energy, and hope. Meditation, exercise, reading, and study can bring you new vision and knowledge. Registering for online lectures or workshops increases the chances to be a better competitor in your profession. No matter how much you need to endure and overcome during the daytime, make sure to eliminate all your worries before bedtime.
Keep a couple of hours before you sleep to interact with people and things you love and cherish. Listen to your favorite music, make a phone call to your faraway friends, see a movie you missed for work, look for the next great artwork you want to collect from online exhibitions. A friend shared with me recently that he discovered an excellent method to improve his sleep quality. When he wakes up in the middle of the night feeling anxious, he gets up, does ten minutes of exercise, drinks some water then goes back to bed. He falls back to sleep immediately and deeply.
Re-pace your work rhythm, re-organize your work content
Weeks or months of self-isolation are perfect for us to catch up with delayed projects, design new plans. The coronavirus outbreak is making our lives extremely challenging. In the art world that I belong to, Hyperallergic.com, a reputed online art media announced on April 3rd that the Museum of Modern Art just terminated all museum educator contracts, which made most of its freelancer educators feel “heartbroken and devastated.”
Reacting to the catastrophes that life throws at us is crucial; remember to make careful and smart plans for our future is critical too. Maximizing our chances to survive until the economy and the market bounce back is never a bad idea. Follow these questions when you want to make a plan for your future: Are you working on your everyday cash flow during the time of crisis? Do you have a plan for your life and business in the future? Do you have a message to send to your clients to make them remember you? Do you have a recession-proof plan that can prevent you from falling deeper into the current catastrophes?
If you haven't thought about these questions, it’s now time to sit and think and try hard to figure out your answers.
J. Yuan & Associates New York provides consulting services to art collectors and enthusiasts and helps them to own the art that aligns with their identity, values, and goals. Our current newsletter series encourages people in our community to remain healthy and strong and to overcome the difficult time with us together.