Encouragementology

Making the Best Out of What Feels Like the Worst!

May 12, 2020

I’m sure this catches you as no surprise but in times like this, you’re going to have to dig deep. When negativity is all around you and emotions are high you might have to pull away from the pack and blaze a new trail. Fill your space with positive energy, whether in your house, over virtual calls, or through your social media feeds. Don’t take on the responsibility of rallying the majority. Set a new example and encourage others to follow. Right now, we are talking more about getting rather than giving. I know, strange right? But we're talking about getting over it, getting on with a new attitude, getting creative, getting out of your comfort zone, and NOT giving up!

So let’s get real, are you struggling to maintain a positive attitude in the middle of what feels like an impossible situation? Do you feel like you are in a B level rendition of the movie Groundhog Day? I get it. One of my favorite things to talk about is what I have coming up on my schedule. I was one to really pack it full. Coffee catch-ups, brainstorming sessions, support groups, dinner with friends, live music, you name it…..I love having a full and rich schedule. In comes, screaming halt and I’m lost as to what to be excited about. “Hey, what are you up to today?” oh…..yeah, same thing as yesterday.  

I’m sure it’s dawned on you by now that YOU are going to have to dig deep to shake it up a bit or change your vantage point to gain a new perspective so you can carry on in a positive way. 

Yep, as always, YOU are in charge of making things different. So many times we forget the control is in our power and we wait around for something new to happen TO us. Like that is going to be a magical knock on the door with the itinerary to our amazing new day. Turn the music back up, that knock is not coming. Even though there are plenty of restrictions currently in place, it’s still up to you to adjust your own schedule and attitude to make the best out of what seems like the worst. 

Want some fun and creative ideas and a little different perspective? Yeah, me too. That’s why I’ve done the research for you and mixed in a little of my own MIDY - Make it Different Yourself. 

Of course, before we can just step over these feelings and move on we need to explore the why so that we can understand the how.

Remember, sheltering-in-place and the challenges of a pandemic may not be the only thing you are struggling with. Life changed and in many cases, became more complicated in the middle of what you were already dealing with. Sorting out those feelings may come with a new set of instructions. 

Maybe the relationship with your spouse or partner was already on shaky footing and you were negotiating more time apart vs unlimited time together. Maybe you were in the process of looking for a new career opportunity or changing jobs. Maybe you were already dealing with a health scare and trying to come to terms with a new course of treatment. Perhaps you were just getting started with what, just might have been, the most perfect relationship - absence makes the heart grow fonder?  Let’s hope so!

My point is, we are all dealing with something and the layers might be plentiful. This is a good time to be aware of those around you and what they might be dealing with. For so many it’s not as simple as staying at home, getting a little time out of the office, and finally using your kitchen. So before you lash out in frustration with lack of understanding (not that any of you would do that), rise above and be open to a different perspective. 

Sympathy is much easier than empathy. This is when it’s appropriate to take some time and explore the “what-ifs”. The part of someone’s story that isn’t visible on the surface and aspects they may not be comfortable sharing with the world.

Hey, don’t take anything personally and as we’ve already mentioned, people all around you are dealing with their own stuff. Some people are really capable of managing stress and acting appropriately and there are many more that aren’t. Did you ever think that they may be lashing out as a result of some challenges in their life that aren't going well? Frustration can bubble up in all facets of our lives and in our relationships with others. 

Take a step back, breath, and give them the benefit. A free pass. 

So many are trying to be flexible and adjust while attempting to survive and thrive. As you make adjustments for everyone in your world including, family, friends, and clients - remember, you are going through this too.  You are going to have bad days where the snooze is a little to close for productivity. Forgive yourself for a few reactions instead of actions. 

Need a daily pep talk to remind yourself of the importance of keeping up, figuring out, and moving forward? Yeah, I think we all do. How about a daily, call, video chat, or meme exchange with a good friend or better yet, your accountability partner. I have a morning exchange with one of mine. We love ridiculous animal videos or memes and more importantly, we love to add our own narration or justification to the content. That’s really the most fun. It’s a way to take, what could have been, a stressful start to the day, and make it joyful. Who doesn’t want to start each day with a belly laugh? 

Maybe a morning podcast pick-me-up might do the trick. Can’t find the other half of that glass so early in the morning, rely on someone who wakes up that way. There are endless inspiring podcasts and 77 more episodes of this one. Use search terms to find areas of interest and then try out a few. You don’t have to follow, download, or commit to anyone. Just see what fits your mood. 

Align what you do with your passion and purpose, and even the worst day isn't so bad.

Tell that to a professional Mother or Father, working from home, as they homeschool their 3 young children while trying to keep the cabinets full, the laundry basket empty, and the sanity of all parties, balanced!

I’m empathizing with your right now. For me, I’m empty nested, down to one pet who keeps me active and already working a job from home for over 6 years. Sounds like a dream huh? Well, even the best situation can be challenged when your routine is turned upside down. I’m tired of my own cooking, long to see my friends, hug my adult children, and be free to travel outside of my rural oasis. 

So to get out of my own head and away from my own "woe is me" celebration, I’m going to give you some tips that I have collected over the many years of keeping your sanity while working at home. 

It’s easy to think “What a gift, now I get to do my dishes, clean my house, be available for a few errands, AND get all my work done!” But adopting this idea means you have to clean your house, do your dishes, run the errands AND get your work done. Your work at home attitude needs to be Hey, I can sleep a tiny bit extra, I’m saving on gas & eating out, and IF and only IF I forget to get dressed from the waist down, it’s no big deal. Other than that, it should be business as usual. You need to get up and establish a workday routine or run the risk of overload and overwhelm. 

Since you won’t be meeting coworkers at your favorite lunch spot, take this time to tidy up around the house or prep for dinner. If the time is used wisely, this could be a delightful addition to your schedule. 

Set work barriers and boundaries with your family so they clearly understand the new routine. 

When I’m at my desk I am working. 

  • Just because I’m on the internet does not mean I’m surfing and have time to watch a cool video you found. 
  • Regardless of the proximity of my desk to the kitchen, I can not make you a snack. A phone call and a zoom meeting are the same thing but one of them could catch you in your underwear in the background. 
  • Anytime you hear me talking or listening intently, so unless you’re bleeding or on fire, don’t interrupt. 
  • I need bandwidth to do my job so a company meeting might, no will trump the next level of your game. 

If you don’t have a home office that is a designated space, get creative, and make one. Partition it off as much as you can, try creating a screen for a room divider. Create notes that you can post on the perimeter to communicate what you are doing and what you need. 

Most importantly, breathe and realize this too shall pass. Everyone is going through this one way or another so I’m sure you have a coworker who is struggling to keep it together on their end too. Feel free to share these tips with your team. 

CHALLENGE: Instead of burying your head in the sand to weather the storm, challenge it head-on with the power you possess. The power to react with control, to adjust with creativity, and to thrive with ingenuity. 

 

I Know YOU Can Do It!

 

RESOURCES:
Joseph Wilner for You have a Calling
Art Markman for Fast Company.
 LOLLY DASKAL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LEAD FROM WITHIN
Victoria Joanna Bailey for Best Health Magazine