How to keep working when the world is going to shit (tldr: I have no idea)
I’ve been trying to write an article about running experiments in your business for nearly 2 hours now. I had it all planned out ahead of time, I made my cup of tea, set up at the kitchen table like I always do. I wrote part of it, and maybe next week you’ll get to read it, but it wasn’t what I was called to write today. I changed location again to clear my head, and now I’m sitting in my daughter’s bed in the sun ready to write my truth.
Which is, life is hard right now. Understatement of the year. It is truly incredible that we haven’t all collapsed into useless heaps because the collective trauma we’re experiencing is mind-boggling. How can I possibly sit and write about something so trivial, or go about my daily life as our fellow humans and the planet we inhabit are being killed? We’ve been through two full years of second-guessing our every interaction, missing out on essential human connection, not to mention we all have individual storms we’re weathering. I know I do.
I want to say that I see you, if you, too, are having trouble making it through the day (or night) without succumbing to the weight of it all. It makes perfect sense if you’re distracted, less productive than normal, or just feeling uninspired. There is nothing wrong with you. You’re not lazy or bad at your job. You’re human.
And yet, if I (we) don’t work and keep going, I can’t donate money, which is the only way I know how to help right now. I need to work to support my family. I need to feel like I’m making a difference in the world. I need to be a role model.
To be clear, I really have no idea how to navigate this. I’ll share what I’ve been trying, but it is by no means a step-by-step how-to of feeling jolly again. I don’t even know if I want to get out of this funk yet. It feels important to sit with it a little longer.
Here’s how I’ve been coping:
· Talking about it and being vulnerable with others. I try to be a role model and open up about tough things with other people, rather than putting on the brave face and pretending things are fine. I want them to feel safe doing that with me, too. This includes what I’ve been writing to you.
· Donating money. Right now, it feels like lots of great causes could use some cash. They know where it’s needed most and are using it to do some good. I know there’s a lot of fearmongering about donating to the wrong causes and your money being wasted. I try not to overthink it or else I get overwhelmed and do nothing. Right now my go-to place is Together Rising. I know there are many other amazing places worthy of your funds so just choose one and go with it.
· Watching more TV. Around Christmas I cancelled Netflix, which I do from time to time. I get bored of the shows and use the time to listen to podcasts or read instead. But the past few months have been especially heightened and last week I realized I needed TV back in my life again. My brain was really missing the chance to fully check out and not be productive 24/7. Usually I knit while I watch TV, but I’m not even doing that anymore. I watch seriously fluffy stuff with not much drama. Stuff that doesn’t keep me in suspense or raise my heart rate in any way.
· Sleeping as much as possible. This one seems pretty obvious, though not as easy as it once was.
· Working too much. I’m not super proud of this one, and most of the people around me are advising me to take time off. Yet I’m finding my days filled to the brim, and for the first time in a very long time I actually worked on a Friday. I’ve been doing a lot of “busy” work and not as much “deep” work as I would like, so I took Friday to tackle some tricky stuff I’ve been avoiding. It was actually the best self-care I could have done for myself, and I don’t regret it at all.
· Listening to my body. You may know that I tend to live in my head a lot. I’m constantly learning and thinking things through. Yet, to get to the next level of coaching I’ve been working on listening to the intuitive wisdom in my body and helping clients do the same. In times of heightened emotion (stress or joy, alike) I’m remembering to pay attention to how my body is feeling and what it’s trying to tell me. I still feel like a beginner but I’m already noticing patterns.
I hope this helps you in some way. I know writing it has actually helped me a little bit, so thank you for listening. Just remember, you are amazing. You’re running a business in an incredibly complex time, with a boatload of things happening in the world around you. It may not feel like it, but you’ve got this. That frustrating client or annoying task on your list don’t stand a chance against your strength and resilience. We’re all in this together. And despite how I’m feeling, I’m here for you, too. Thick or thin. We can get through it.