One of our hard-wired tendencies relates to how easy it is to adapt to new or changing situations. On one end of the spectrum are the folks for whom it is very uncomfortable to adapt unless specific conditions exist. If those conditions do not exist, they will likely push back, become flustered, and their stress levels will likely rise.
On the other end of the spectrum are the folks who tend to cause the changes to happen in the first place. There’s a new idea that might be better, so let’s change! You want to do something different? Great! It’s exciting. Change and newness doesn’t tend to cause stress for this lot; they are more able to go with the flow.
I’m in the second group. I’ve never minded change and have often caused chaos by making changes without much warning. Someone recently commented that she thought I disliked change. What she was seeing was my resistance to a change which went against my own ideas about how it should go. That’s a different drive altogether.
But back to this hard-wired tendency.
This is a time of tremendous chaos. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one for the record books. (Or maybe we can’t. It seems increasingly difficult to find common ground with large groups of people on much of anything these days, so who knows? But I digress again. Sorry—it’s my tendency towards chaos showing up.)
Even as someone who thrives with chaos, this year has been and continues to be incredibly stressful. There are precious few consistent things.
Chaos is one thing; complete mayhem is another.
It seems inevitable that we are headed towards a second wave of the pandemic. Whatever your politics, it’s going to affect how we do school, how we do business, and how we live. There is no aspect of life that is untouched.
So what can we do?
You know by now my love of lists, so here are some things we’re doing over here:
- Focus on controlling what you can control. We’ve talked about this before, so here’s a quick review. You control what you think and feel, and what you do. You can’t control anything else. Don’t try. Every other step that follows are examples of how to do this.
- Mind your circle. In case you need permission, here it is. You don’t have to associate with people who don’t support you. Whatever that looks like. We have the right to decide to whom we will be exposed.
- Make space to engage in self-care every single day. I’m horribly guilty of not following this sage advice and I’ve paid the price a few times. It has compromised my physical health and wreaked havoc on my mental health. Carving out even 30 minutes every day to intentionally do something which you enjoy and is just for you can work wonders. My favorites currently include reading a book in my hammock, listening to meditation stories, and taking a walk alone.
- Be kind to other people. Sounds simple, and maybe you had a defensive reaction to that one, but I don’t think it’s happening enough. It costs nothing. So many people are fighting inner battles or having private struggles during this time that you simply do not know what someone else is going through. Don’t add to it by being insensitive, uncaring, or silent. We need to do a much better job of taking care of one another.
- Set boundaries. This is especially true for those of us working from home, but applies to everyone. Being intentional about work-life balance is critical. Set time limits for how long you’ll give a particular task before you move on. If you’re working from home, set work hours. Let your team know you won’t be available outside of those hours except in an emergency. Be reasonable for your specific situation, but we hear it consistently—we collectively don’t do a great job of this.
These things may sound like they are not work-related, but I’d encourage you to read that list again. Consider how you might apply these practices in both your personal and professional life. I know I can find room to improve in these areas in both realms. Can you?