How are you feeling right now?
How are you really feeling right now?
How are you really, really feeling right now?
Many of my clients and friends are well and truly ‘skidding in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out’, as Hunter S Thompson wrote. Although they’re not shouting ‘Wow! What a ride!’ but rather riding through a shit storm, stuck on a roller coaster, not knowing which way is up, down, left, right or any direction at all.
And while we’re constantly being told that we have to ‘dig deep’, to ‘find the grit and resilience’ to keep going and that ‘once we get to the other side, we will become stronger and have so many learnings’ the reality is that life can feel downright crappy, horrible, rough (permission to insert as many expletives as you see fit).
These last 18 months have challenged the best of us.
We’ve cancelled work and holidays. Delayed fun and memory making moments. We are managing our own emotional roller coaster and holding the same space for staff, clients, suppliers and those closest to us. There have been tough, life changing decisions for many. Fears and anxieties faced. Many are working harder than ever trying to keep their head above water, doing multiple people’s jobs as headcount is cut and budgets slashed and all the while hustling harder than ever for the next deal. The mental, physical and emotional isolation and fear of ongoing lockdowns is real. It’s relentless.It’s on going.It is what it is. And it’s no wonder so many are experiencing levels of unexplained exhaustion.
Exhausted with being busy
There’s too much to do and not enough time. We’re racing around putting out fires, answering emails, attending meetings, meeting demands, rushing around like headless chickens trying to look the part and act the part, but maybe not quite delivering in a way that’s sustainable for us over the longer term—and we know it. Downtime is becoming increasingly limited. On-time is becoming increasingly maximised. We spin out of control, running ourselves ragged, falling under the pressure of the demands of adaptability, agility and connectivity.
Exhausted with being stretched in multiple directions
So many of us are operating like a real-life version of ‘Elastagirl’ from the fabulous Pixar movie, The Incredibles. We’re pulled and pushed, stretched and re-stretched in multiple directions by multiple groups of multiple people all demanding work and a whole stack of other stuff that needs to be done ASAP. Everyone and everything wants you, and wants you.
Exhausted with the lack of choice…
imposed on us as a result of this pandemic.
I know it because as a business owner I have felt ‘ditto, ditto, ditto” to all of the above.
But I also know that being exhausted isn’t leadership. Being exhausted isn’t inspiring to others.
And knowing this I have had to be even more disciplined and intentional about setting my boundaries and taking ownership of my time and energy.
Here are my 5 ‘go to’ strategies for getting back in control.
1. Manage your INPUTS
Every second we are bombarded with anxiety and fear via news, social media and people around us. It can become difficult to maintain a positive mindset and the stamina to keep going. Imagine surrounding yourself with a personal bubble of protection. Only allow information, commentary and people that feed your positivity into your bubble and push the stuff that feeds your angst and panic, aside. Quit the negative voices because they will force you to swim around in circles of increasing anxiety and fear.
2. Manage your OUTPUTS
We all want to do purposeful and meaningful work. This doesn’t stop just because the world is in disruption or the people around us are indecisive in decision making. Don’t get lost in the status quo of sitting around, doing nothing and waiting for someone else to give you permission to keep moving forward. Take ownership of your daily activity, be intentional and commit to doing at least one thing every day that contributes to the work you do and the impact you can make.
3. Manage your key OTHERS
In this period of disconnection, connection matters more than ever. Carolyne Gregoire wrote in The Huffington Post that this is the ‘decade of isolation’ and this was before Covid-19 kicked in. Despite the physical distancing that is being enforced make sure to schedule time with your inner circle, your select group of confidantes. This inner sanctum is where you can share how you’re feeling and openly explore options and ideas without judgement.
4. Manage your PERSONAL SANCTUARY
Where is the place where you can truly take some time out to be on your own to replenish and rejuvenate? There is no doubt our sanctuaries are being challenged right now given the blending of work life into our personal space. Add to this the closure of ‘escape places’ such as gyms, cafes, cinemas, playgrounds and theatres personal sanctuaries are few and far between. Now more than ever you need to intentionally create a space for you to just be.
5. Manage YOU
Who you are and what you do matters more than ever. But how can you be the brilliant and best version of yourself, taking the right action or making the right decisions if you are overwhelmed, over-exhausted and over it? How can you possibly find the space for perspective and clarity if you aren’t looking after yourself? If we bury our own needs right now and keep pushing and pushing; if we forget to attach the oxygen mask to ourselves first; then we will collapse mentally and physically and be of no help to anyone.
Your behaviours, your habits, your actions — whatever you choose to call them — matter if you’re going to function at your best. You can either choose to fuel your habit tank or deplete it. When we consistently adopt the right actions and behaviours that fuel our mindset and stamina in a good way, we feel present and connected, a wider perspective feeds creativity and curiosity, and we’re able to think clearly, innovate, ideate and make calm and well-thought-through decisions.
Above all, remember this:
When it comes down to it, you are your own biggest business asset. You are unique, you are special, your ideas and opinions are needed. You are more than enough. And you can do this.
YOU already know the answers for you. Take a moment to think about:
- your daily practices that keep you present and centred
- how you rejuvenate to ensure you can function appropriately
- and identify your personal inner circle of confidantes that will support you.