3 Ways I'm Staying Sane This Week
Last week I had a dream that Donald Trump was re-elected.
Before you panic, I also had a dream that my dog, Boogie, and I were playing fetch with two snow leopards in our backyard.
I don’t know what either of those dreams mean, but I do know this:
My brain is working out some heavy stuff while I'm sleeping.
You know why: COVID, civil unrest, elections, racial violence, fires, and on and on and on.
It’s all we’re thinking and talking about. For months now.
And that has led to some really intense dreams this year.
I’ve also noticed that almost every day I’m having some version of the same conversation with myself:
Why do I feel so off today?
Am I forgetting something?
What’s that icky feeling I can’t shake?
Why am I having trouble concentrating?
Is something wrong with me?
Do I need more protein?
Should I make an appointment with my therapist?
Wait, did I remember to make an appointment for my cat's vaccinations?
Should I order more toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap or just try to get it at the store?
Why can't I focus?
What's my problem?
Oh right. It's constant low grade anxiety about EVERYTHING.
That's why I'm tired when I'm only 60% done with my work day.
That’s why my dreams are intense and creeping me out.
RIGHT. Right. Okay. I see you.
It's not my willpower.
More tofu will not solve this.
Yeah, but more toilet paper can't hurt.
Focus DOLCE focus.
The demands of life are off-the-charts this year.
I need to recalibrate my expectations for myself.
And be kinder.
Also, since this conversation is getting old, let’s write a post-it note that says:
It's not you, it's 2020*
*And let's be real, 2021
I have a lot of privilege in my life, so I understand that having some low grade anxiety may be looking pretty good to a lot of folks right now. There are people who are dying in the streets and alone in hospital beds.
I know we’re not all in the same boat.
We’re in the same storm. But we’re in vastly different boats.
So I'm only talking about my boat and how low grade anxiety has been consistently draining my energy, motivation, and focus the past couple of months.
In case it’s of use, here are 3 things that have been helping me to stay sane-ish this past week:
1. Allowing more time for everything. More time to get projects done. More time to rest and recover. More time to respond to requests.
If you're in a leadership role you might allow your staff more time off this week to vote or to navigate their commute to work, if there are protests in your city.
Basically, I'm offering myself some grace around how much I can do or how fast I can go everyday. I hope you'll do the same. Because there's nothing "everyday" about life in 2020.
2. Carefully consuming media. I need to be informed, but the news can completely derail my day (or my sleep). So I have to be careful about how and when I consume it. I limit the time I spend watching and reading the news. I limit the sources I go to for information. And I’m 95% off of Facebook. More on that later.
Here's a good resource for you and your teams on media consumption.
3. Giving myself permission to have some fun. This week in The Lab we spent a half hour playing “Would You Rather?” on Zoom and laughing together. It was good medicine. Except for the part where we tried to choose between only getting to watch The Golden Girls OR Schitt’s Creek.
That was painful.
In case you're conflicted, it's not frivolous for you to rest and play right now. That's what sustains us, so we can keep caring, serving, imagining, and working for something better.
So please, this week when things are a cyclone of insanity, allow yourself way, way more time do even the most simple things, be careful about how you consume media, and restore your energy by taking a break for a little fun with people you care about.
Or just allow yourself to do whatever is most helpful for YOU right now. Your boat. Your needs. You know best.
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