Wow, it’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through the penultimate month of the year. And what a situation we find ourselves in. I’m feeling very aware of the multiple stressors that people are facing right now, and that they are not only many but also varied, especially for those in lockdown areas or those being severely affected by mandates etc.
We’re not in a sprint at the moment, we’re in a marathon situation with an undeterminable finish point, and that means we’ve got to be very careful we don’t push ourselves too much or wear ourselves out with heavy expectations. Or others for that matter.
It’s a time to make sure we all have the support we need around us – and that we are taking extra good care of ourselves on all levels.
With that in mind, I want to talk today about compassion. For yourself.
How compassionate are you being with yourself at the moment?
Are you applying the same level of care you show others back towards yourself?
Are you expecting yourself to just keep trucking on at normal productivity levels even on the back of over 18 months of a pandemic climate and all that it brings?
Are you keeping track of how much you have on your plate and what you are saying yes to BEFORE it overflows?
Are you giving yourself space to feel whatever emotions are coming up for you at the moment, whether it’s frustration, anxiety, sadness, fear or the feeling of pressure?
What are your release valves? Are you getting outside, moving your body, getting a change of scene, listening to music, doing yoga, going for a run, hugging, having a bath or taking a swim (it’s just got warm enough for me!)?
How exhausted are you and how are you helping your body replenish? E.g. regular naps, supplements, sunshine? Unfortunately exhaustion is becoming the norm right now, especially for people still in lockdown restrictions. The mental, emotional and spiritual toll is draining energy left, right and centre. It’s time to start supporting your body as much as possible.
Are you sharing honestly with those around you how you are feeling? Our social support is fundamental to wellbeing, and trying to pretend we’re alright when we’re not, only spirals us downwards. This doesn’t have to be a dreary conversation that feels really negative, it could just be asking someone to hold space for you to vent, cry or share for a few minutes, and then share with each other a highlight from your day or something you’re looking forward to. If we can lift our energy and mood then we’re on the right track.
How can you create a culture of care at work where there is room for everyone to be feeling what they’re feeling – and room to have the odd ‘off’ day when they’re not so resourceful or resilient? I believe we can be resilient and strong and amazing right now, but probably not 24/7. Is expecting yourself or others to be constantly ‘on’ and in full resourcefulness all of the time realistic?
HR experts People Passion recently published a great article about the realities and challenges of leading right now.
Take care not to keep ‘pushing through’
If you’re someone who has a tendency to just ‘push through’ you might want to check in with yourself about how that’s working for you right now. This used to be my MO. I was forever running my work days like this, where no matter what was going on and how I was feeling, I would just truck on no matter what. It was exhausting.
For example, when you find yourself feeling pressured about your workload for the day because something unexpected has cropped up – and you haven’t stopped to reset your day and your plans to make sure it’s all doable – what does that do to your nervous system? For most people it means they have at least a low-level hum of anxiety, tension or rushing because, while they might be ploughing on and consciously focusing on just getting the next task done, their unconscious mind (and therefore whole body) knows full well there isn’t enough time in the day to get all these things done.
You can kid yourself consciously, but you can’t bullshit your body. It knows.
And this low-level stress in the body all the time drains your energy, slows you down and can make you ill.
I could say so much more about this, but for now let me just say, be compassionate.
Accept you can’t do everything. And certainly not all at once.
Take time to reassess what’s on your plate so you can make intentional choices about what you do with your time and what activities are possible based on what’s actually doable.
Quite simply, when there’s too much on: Pause > take stock > reset your to-do list > then go again.
Give yourself a break from the biggest stressors
In the current RISE programme we’ve been talking about choosing fiercely where we focus our energy and what energy we allow to come into us. It is making a huge difference to people.
The big heavy-hitters right now for many Kiwis are the weekly (or more) govt announcements, and the media. So –
> Catch updates afterwards – look up the summary of info posted later that day or the next day.
> Stay away from mainstream media. Period.
What else do you know is draining your energy right now? What do you want to do about it?
Get used to being extremely fussy about where your attention and energy go!
Please feel free to be in touch if you’d like to talk about what kind of support you or your team need right now.
Take good care,