The last few months, I have had conversations with clients, colleagues and friends who shared similar things.
The common themes have been – dealing with change and transitions, navigating through the unknown, fear and uncertainty about the future, and feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. For managers and leaders, it has been about managing and leading through the unknown.
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Given the current upheaval in the world, it is only natural that many of us are experiencing some pretty intense feelings and emotions.
Yes – even the most resilient ones amongst us have been affected.
This is quite normal.
We are in a situation of change and flux.
In the business arena alone, we are confronting a range of scenarios.
Sadly, for some, the response is, “What business?’’
For many others, it is paddling hard just to stay afloat all; while still others have made this into a time of opportunity and possibilities and are doing really well personally and in business.
Whatever other stressors there were before, COVID – 19 was not one we had in the equation!
Be aware of your self-talk
With mental health and well-being high on the agenda for many now, I was taken back to my days of working in the mental health field as a clinical psychologist some decades back.
If you are experiencing some strong negative emotions, here’s a small step you can take to not compound matters.
Firstly, give yourself permission and accept your feelings and reactions – whatever they are – as being normal.
And secondly, be mindful to not overlay feeling bad about whatever it is that you are experiencing.
In other words, feeling bad about feeling bad!
This only exacerbates the negative feelings such as worry, anxiety or depression.
In the current context of ambiguity, uncertainty and change, be mindful that you are not:
- Being overly self-critical
- Judging yourself harshly
- Maintaining high expectations of self
- Comparing yourself with those others who seem to be coping well
- Wanting things to be back to ‘normal’
- Getting in the grip of avoidant or other default unhelpful behaviours
- Shutting off from others
Instead, cut yourself some slack and be kind to you – as YOU would be to your best friend.
Reach out and connect. Ask for that helping hand be it at work or from family and friends who love and care about you and your well-being.
The new normal
Give yourself permission to do things differently.
Old rules may not apply.
Experiment but also do what works for you.
This can also be a time for fresh beginnings. Ask yourself, “What do I, really, really want or need right now?”
Take good care of yourself especially with others relying on you for leadership and support.
As per the airline safety message before take-off (in the days we used to fly lots!), “Put your own oxygen mask first!”