I love my job. It is a great joy to finally feel like I’m living up to my higher purpose by helping others see and live theirs. But like most of you, I don’t just have one job – I have many. Daughter, sister, mother, fiancé – these are all roles that I play, all with very different responsibilities. It can be exhausting, even in the best of times. During COVID, these roles have been compressed and amplified – suddenly I find myself required to play all the roles simultaneously and with fewer resources. I am cooking while I’m advising clients, doing laundry while brainstorming, and soothing while I’m writing – day after day after day. I’m sure I’m not alone in this experience.
This pandemic is, in the short term, forcing us to multitask to an insane degree. In the long term I think it is revealing outdated ways that we’ve conducted business, as well as the “band aids” we’ve taped over some systemic issues – but that’s for another blog post. Let’s focus on right now – and how we can get through with some – maybe most – of our sanity intact.
1. Reflect on what’s not working. I find the key to any successful endeavor starts with awareness. What’s come up for you during this difficult time? What have you been ignoring? What’s become untenable – not just now but going forward? Sometimes we just get stuck in a rut of doing things the same way – even when they’re decidedly NOT working. Consider these things deeply so you can understand the real issues at play.
2. List Your Needs. Make a list of the things you need to feel more like yourself – including those things that seem out of reach at the moment. More alone time? More rest? More physical activity? Getting out of the house? What are those things that helped keep you grounded prior to the pandemic – and add anything new you’ve found that’s helped since it started.
3. Realign + readjust. From your list of needs, consider how you can meet them – even in small and perhaps unexpected ways. Be mindful of the ways in which you take care of yourself. Should you head to bed 15 minutes earlier to get a little more rest? Or should you get up a 30 minutes earlier, sacrificing sleep to have a little more alone time? Do your kids need to plop in front of the tv for a little longer than normal so you can write that report? Or do you need to push that deadline out so you can help your kids with their math project?
4. Set Expectations – but be flexible. Once you’ve determined what you can adjust and rework, communicate that – often. This is a time to overcommunicate things – especially as we are communicating with most folks at a distance – so we can all be on the same page. Communicate why you’ll have to miss that meeting or why you can’t play with your kids every morning at 10 am. But stay flexible! Remember that no day is the same, and it requires giving yourself – and others – a lot of grace as we move through. Redefine what success looks like right now, and remember to celebrate it!
5. Remember that this too shall pass. As hard as it is, AND IT IS HARD, this period of time is only temporary. It may feel like we’ve lived a decade in the past 6 months, but we got through it. It may be another 6 months to a year, but we’ll get therapies and vaccines and new technology that will help us carve out a new normal. And hopefully we can be grateful for this time – for shaking us out of our complacency and into a brighter future.
These are just a few of the tools I’ve been using with my clients to keep them focused and sane in these difficult times. Taking these steps will not only help alleviate some of your stress right now, it will help you process what’s happening in real time and set you up for a more mindful and prosperous future. If you’re needing help, please reach out – I’d love to talk about how we get to this brighter future together.