If you’re in the Northeast, like we are, you were hit by quite a storm. In my home, we had shoveled four times, and every time I looked outside it was as if we never shoveled at all. The snow kept coming and coming and coming, and it felt like it would never stop.
It was getting old.
That pretty much is a theme I’m hearing from clients recently. The pandemic. Leading in this new virtual way. Home schooling. Zoom calls. Divisive politics. It is all getting old.
And if it’s getting old for my clients, it’s also getting old for the people around them and the people they lead. How do we keep going when it gets old and hard(er) to stay engaged, motivated, and powered to keep doing?
Unfortunately, we don’t have the magic bullet answer, but there are a few quick things we can offer:
- Keep a sense of humor if at all possible – that’s what I learned from the endless snow, because: 1) it’s completely out of our control and 2) if I don’t laugh, I might cry (as I have to shovel yet again….). Keeping a sense of humor helps keep things in perspective. My family is safe and indoors, and we’re very blessed with that.
- Keep things in perspective – that builds off of the first point. It is easy to get easily upset and triggered, especially in the midst of a pandemic and a sea of (needed) social change. The more we can keep things in perspective and realize that not everything is drastic or needs to happen immediately, the more likely we are to keep our bodies out of our fight, flight, or freeze responses. And therefore, the more stamina we’ll have.
- Look for what is good – I know that may sound trite or silly, but whether or not it does, it works. As the snow started, I noticed a snowflake on my mitten that was intricate and beautiful beyond belief…which made me wonder if it was really true that every single snowflake is unique…which made me realize that I needed a bit of distraction from everything I was trying to get done…which somehow made me realize that, in many ways, all is okay right now.
- Up the self-care – this is probably repetitive, but especially now when we are all so easily and understandably triggered into fight, flight, or freeze, the more that we can care for ourselves – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – the more resilience we’ll have and the more we’ll be able to be there for others. Oh, and we might want to remind the people we live and/or work with to care for themselves as well.
- Connect with others however you can – we are, by nature, social animals. Even the introverts. Part of what is so hard and tiring right now is our lack of contact and connection. Reach out to others however you can. Connect virtually. Share some of yourself. Ask others how they’re doing. Smile (through your mask). Social connection fuels us for the long haul (and the endless shoveling). I personally just bought socks that say, “Watch out. I’ll — hug you.” because I plan to give as many hugs as I can as soon as I can, and I also, personally text eight people every morning to send morning hugs and love. It is just one small way to stay a bit more connected and to feel a bit less overwhelmed and tired of it all.
- Acknowledge that it’s getting old – it helps to acknowledge this to ourselves, rather than fight it, and it helps to acknowledge it to the people we lead. It shows them our humanity and gives them “permission” to be human. To be tired of it all. And that somehow gives us a bit more strength to keep going.
- Plan for the future – we’re working with a few clients now to help them think about that point – whenever it is – when it is safe for us to go back to a bit of what we had before. When more and more people can be back in their offices, how will we handle the fact that some people may want to be there and some may never want to leave WFH? How can leaders prepare for the mental, physical, and emotional “backlash” that at least some – if not all – of their employees will face once the pandemic is “over” and we can relax a bit and finally feel emotions that we may have pushed away in order to get through this? These are the types of questions we’re helping clients think through with facilitated leadership meetings and staff discussions. How can you have these conversations with your colleagues and your team?
It is getting old. And we’re in this – all of it – for longer. The more we can join together and support each other, the better we’ll keep making it through. The more we can lead and live Thoughtfully.
How are you making it through and supporting your team, as it continues to be hard and it get’s “old?”
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