Ask the Experts: Kirsty Spraggon – How to Cope with COVID-19 Stress & Difficult Conversations

By Courtney Mathew

27 Apr 2020

Kirsty Spraggon

In our latest Ask the Experts we were joined by real estate success story turned global inspirational speaker; Kirsty Spraggon who earned $1 million in real estate commissions in her hometown of Perth before she turned 30 years old. She was ranked in the top 1% of 120,000 sales agents globally. Now only a few years later, Kirsty is one of the most sought-after and world-renowned motivational speakers as well as the host of the popular YouTube channel KirstyTV, which has been nominated for two PRISM awards by the Entertainment Industry Council. She has been featured in Fox Business, Women’s Health, The Huffington Post, Forbes, The Today Show and more.  

Buddha is quoted as saying “Life is an illusion”; as in, the structure of our lives and the world around us can change at any secondKirsty aptly compared this to the chaos of COVID-19 society, as the virus has changed our daily lives – from slowing the world down to ever-changing policies and procedures, the sense of control we feel has vanished and is now a new stress compared to our past. These feelings of uncertainty and loss of control get trigged again and again when we are flooded with new information week by week and day by day. The cycles of grief repeat for the loss of pre-COVID life in denial, anger, and acceptance phases. Different things will trigger different people, for example school closures can trigger mothers with children, as with commuting by public transport despite the overwhelming call for social distancing. 

With this ongoing stress, some members have expressed feeling guilty; by not contributing at their usual capacity, they feel like the weakest link. However, Kirsty asks us to question these beliefs, these stories we tell ourselves currently. It is important to remember that your colleagues are also dealing with life in a pandemic and we all react differently. The reality is that everyone is thrown off balance, no one is operating at their peak – this time is allowing us to truth tell and be vulnerable enough to say that you are struggling. 

Kirsty also highlighted a story from one of her clients, a CEO of a company in NYC. When planning for the changes from COVID-19, their number one priority was mental health – staying connected to motivate their team remotely each night. While it is important to stay connected, she highlighted one thing to remember is that people do not need motivating all the time. Rather, they (and yourself) need to know that you don’t have all the answers all the time.  What can benefit your team the most is taking time for yourself, to take the pressure valve off, let it out and give space to process what is going on 

When our brain is in fight or flight it doesn’t make clear decisions. In this time, everybody’s primary focus is to ensure the health and safety of both our loved ones and the people we lead. Unfortunately, when your stress level is up then you cannot function optimally and be the leader you expect yourself to be – so how do you address this? 

On a day to day basis, every two to four hours, you can ask yourself how you are feeling in your body on a stress scale from 1-10? 1 being just returned from a month-long holiday to Bali and 10 with constantly feeling tense and can’t calm down. If you notice you start to get up above a 6 or 7 then there are a few things Kirsty recommends to pause and reset. 

Being busy allows people to deflect and not look deeply into what is affecting us. This pause gives us some time to reflect and sit with these issues whether we want to or not. Kirsty said this is the perfect time to be sitting with your emotions and reflect on yourself. 

Ask yourself and check in with these 3 powerful questions 

Allow yourself the opportunity to not be scared. To be honest yourself will allow you the ability to make real change in the chaos. 

In addition, many people have had to deal with difficult conversations, laying people off or changing to work structures. How do we handle the stress that comes with delivering bad news? Jen asked what Kirsty advice she can equip us: 

Before – pretend you’re in a bubble, with a deflective shield, put your amour on and put up an energetic boundary. Set an intention that when you take the call you will be separate from this – they may be hearing the news for the first time or not be expecting it, their reaction is not because of you, but the situation. 

Duringbreathing deeply during the call – breathe in for 10 seconds, hold for 10 seconds and let out for 10 seconds. Whenever you find yourself getting caught up, centre back to your breath and stay out of the flight or fight stress response. 

After – shake it off, having a shower, burning some incense or listening to a guided meditation.  

Kirsty has a whole COVID-19 Resources Youtube playlist dedicated to this health crisis and you can watch them at any time you need a stress adjustment.  

Stress is accumulative, if you don’t release it from the body it can build up leading to anger, discontent and bad decisions. It takes work to maintain your mental health and stress levels and you must choose to do these steps if you want to unload this tension. 

Kirsty left us with a stress and anxiety releasing meditation which you can listen whenever you feel your stress levels getting up  

For more information you can visit Kirsty’s website  – www.kirstyspraggon.com/