We have all been focused on getting out of 2020, and here we are in a new year with continued news sensationalism and a wealth of unknowns. No one is immune to the mental and emotional impact of the global pandemic. The sustained feeling of worry and despair is draining. There have been a lot of silver linings and positive outcomes of this time. Start with focusing on these.
Our business owners and nonprofit leaders have shown tremendous resilience in adapting and finding ways to work in this current environment. The adoption of technology has made the equivalent of 7 years of progress in 6 months. Working from anywhere is now the norm not the exception. So, there is no doubt we can succeed and carve out things we can control to achieve more peace.
Take what you are passionate about and talk through ideas with trusted advisors and colleagues on how to develop new or different ways to frame a viable business around it, or to achieve the mission in an unconventional way. Consider the new normal and how to deliver services and products to customers, donors, or recipients. Learn as much as you can about the industry and the latest technology and options available. If you are not sure what you are passionate about, take time to learn new things. Take a class in a subject completely different from anything you have done before. Shake things up. Bottom line is you need to feel a purpose and a passion to keep you focused, engaged, and contributing to make an impact.
Consider your current work environment and what you need to make it less stressful and more productive. Many of us have constant interruptions with children at home needing help, with dogs barking at all the delivery trucks and people daring to walk by the house, and with significant others working and talking in the next room. For those on continuous Zoom video calls, it is hard to find a minute for a bathroom break or to eat lunch. What can we control in these situations? We can set aside time for breaks, non-negotiable sections of time in our day when we can take time to breathe, take a walk, make lunch, or just have quiet time to think. If you feel you cannot escape or be alone, make it a priority to fix this. Arrange for a trusted family member, friend, or babysitter, to spend time with your children and/or pets so that you can have an hour to yourself every day. Spend an adult weekend in a hotel to escape the constant demands of others for just awhile. We are all in this together and can help each other out to ensure we get our time to recharge. Otherwise, it is just like “Groundhog Day”, living the same day over and over. Yank yourself out of the rut. You do have control over this, and you can lean on others once in a while.
Break your to do lists into small manageable chunks. Everything does not have to be accomplished in one day. Now that we are spending more time at home, we tend to identify an endless list of home projects that need to be handled. Prioritize them and only tackle one at a time. Be forgiving to yourself.
Last, but not least, be kind to others. Listen to what others are saying and what they are not saying. People are really struggling. Take the time to ask how people are doing and mean it. Show appreciation for what people do. Strangers and family members alike. You will make a difference to some people without even knowing it.
Wishing you all much success and health in 2021. Focus on what you can control.