Have you ever had the feeling of waking up, and all grogginess disappears as you remember today is the day you’re going to Disney World?
You have no desire to roll over and go back to sleep. Rather, you feel the excitement and anticipation and spring out of bed.
While work may not generate the same enthusiasm of Disney world, engagement garners some of the same energy. You can’t wait to get started. Once there, you lose track of time. All of the sudden you’re starving, only to realize it’s far past lunchtime and you haven’t stopped to eat because you were too busy taking it all in.
After almost 11 months of the pandemic, this is the exact opposite of what most people are experiencing right now. In actuality, it is February 2nd – Groundhog Day. Which is perfect, because metaphorically, so many of us feel like we’re living in the movie Groundhog Day. Quarantine brain can make you feel like you’re waking up to redo the same day over and over again. I don’t know about you, but my battery is drained.
In this perpetual state, any curve ball (unplanned event) or friction can feel unmanageable or make you want to crawl back into bed. Stressors like this may affect how you are “showing up” and effect your engagement. I know I’m not the only one experiencing challenges associated with juggling childcare. My twin daughters’ daycare recently closed for two week unexpectedly due to COVID. In addition to feeling the COVID funk of everyday feeling the same, I found myself juggling again.
Please know we are all healthy and making it, though. Do you want to know how? I have been leaning on these steps to get myself through:
- Feel the feelings. Pushing away the frustration or weariness doesn’t make it go away. If you’re having pain in your ankle, and your strategy is to continue running anyway and pretend it’s not there – the most likely outcome is a much more serious injury. Acknowledge your feelings so you can take steps to manage them.
- Give yourself grace. It is a completely different time than any of us have ever experienced. Your feelings are normal. MOST people are really at their wits end at this point. It’s normal for you to be having negative feelings. It’s normal for you to be feeling unproductive and mad about your lack of productivity. It’s normal to be annoyed with your kids. This, too, shall pass. It won’t be like this forever.
- Pay attention to self-care. True, it might have to look different than it normally does – as most people are skipping the massages, hair cuts, and cocktail hours right now. But no matter what your restrictions are, you can find a few intentional ways to take care of yourself.
- Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do. For example, I enjoy going out to lunch with my girls on the weekends. With the pandemic, “dining in” isn’t something we’re doing. So we pick up food and have “car picnics”.
- Review your strengths and identify what gives you energy. Then plan for it. Do you get energized by networking or connecting at a party? Schedule a virtual happy hour. Do you like to plan? Plan a trip for the future to give you something to look forward to doing. Was it after an achieving a goal? Pick a small project in your genius zone that has tangible results and set some goals. (Unsure of what your genius zone is? I can help with that one! Let’s chat.)
- Let go of what you can’t control. There is no point (past acknowledging my feelings) to continuing to lament that our daycare is closed. There’s nothing I can do about it. Let go of the mental strain of what you can’t control. That will free up space to problem solve the things you can control.
- Get help. You don’t have to wait until you’re at a breaking point to do this one, either. Whether it’s asking your partner to watch the kids while you complete a work task, letting DoorDash take care of dinner, or asking a friend for a pep talk – there is plenty of help available if you ask!
We will make it through this together.
“Focus on what you can control, not on what you are worried about. That is where you put your time and energy.” – Sean Covey
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