When this all started, I had big plans for reorganizing my entire house, beautifying my garden, building my business, and volunteering and serving everywhere I could.
That didn’t last long.
I like to think of myself as generally having a positive attitude, but two-plus months into a national quarantine, and some days I feel as if I’m about to lose my mind.
This is hard for everyone.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this thinking. Everyone I talk to feels overwhelmed and fatigued. Even though it looks different for each of us, the common challenge of how to stay positive and move forward is real. Here are two examples in my family.
- My daughter is a first-grade teacher doing her best to connect, teach, make videos, send notes, console, reach out, and find creative ways to virtually get her classroom of kids ready for second grade. Her husband is waiting to get called back to work full time. They are also wrangling two active boys under the age of four who can’t understand why they can’t have playdates or go to the park.
- My son and his wife are in the tech industry and both working from home with a 16-month old running around. They trade off watching their daughter between important virtual meetings with clients and project teams. They haven’t gotten more than four hours of sleep since mid-March. They are hopeful their daycare will open soon so they can stop the life/work chaos.
Keep plugging along.
While we are all hopeful the end is in sight, no one has a crystal ball. We need to continue to plug along and when the days are hard, we need to simply get through them.
Today, I facilitated my first “Phase 2” workshop for a small office team. We wore masks and were socially distanced. Instead of a usual icebreaker, we started the workshop by rating our daily stress, then a discussion about taking care of our mental health.
My advice on how to do that is to find what works best for you. Use one of my favorite pieces of advice for communication issues:
If it helps, do more of that. If it doesn’t help, then stop doing that.
Here are some coping tips that are working for me:
- Take it one day at a time. No future tripping or negative “what ifs” allowed.
- Lean into your faith. Praying and believing that someone else is in charge is a huge comfort for me.
- Limit media updates to once per day.
- Eliminate the pandemic as your go-to topic of conversation with everyone you talk with. Go back to discussing the weather or that new recipe you’re making for dinner.
- Find creative ways to stay in contact with your friends. We started a safe distance happy hour in our neighborhood and now look forward to it every Friday evening.
- Look for the humor in this specific situation and have a good laugh. What’s going on around us is pretty bazaar and makes for some great comedy material.
- Help others as you can. We paid a year of haircuts forward to our hairstylists.
- Just getting through this is enough. You don’t have to create the next great invention or uncover the cure for cancer.
On the hard days, know that it’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling. Reach out to friends and please get professional help if it continues longer than one day.
Let’s just get through this together, shall we?
For support, encouragement, and daily inspiration, join my free Facebook Group, Confident Communication for Women. This group is for women who want to build confidence in their communication skills as well as support and network with other amazing women.
Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.