EMAIL #95 - 1ST, NOVEMBER, 2020 - HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM THAT HAS NO SOLUTION?
Over the last few months I have tried not to make the pandemic a major focus of my weekly emails. However, today's email is a slight exception, because a recent article in the online publication "Elemental" written by Tara Haelle on 17th August, was so impactful and reassuring to me that I feel compelled to share it with you all.
The article was called "The uncharted Path To Coping In a Pandemic" and in it Haelle posed one main question, "How do you solve a problem that has no solution?" The COVID pandemic is a massive global problem that as yet has no real solution other than social distancing and restricting our daily lives. Living through this pandemic has become one constant problem after another that as yet has no clear solutions. So it is forcing us all to question a lot of our values and beliefs.
"Our new normal is always feeling a little off balance, like trying to stand in a dinghy on a rough sea, and not knowing when the storm will pass." Tara Haelle
As professional people we are all accustomed to solving problems and getting things done. But right now, all our normal routines have been disrupted and we are left with a feeling of uncertainty and frustration. The COVID affected world is not likely to significantly change anytime soon, so Haelle's recommendations to navigating your way through this altered reality are as follows.
- Accept that life is different right now. "This is just a shitty time for everyone". The next 6 to 12 months is all about accepting the reality that you can't fight against this situation and adopting a "base line mindset" that we are going to have to ride this thing out and to try to make the most of our own personal circumstances. This means not resisting or fighting against reality so you can apply your energy elsewhere when it is really needed.
- Expecting less from yourself. We are all feeling "melancholy" (i.e., disappointment, frustration, sadness, exhaustion, fear etc) and no one can function normally or at full capacity under these conditions. So, give yourself a break from time to time!
- It's the world that's a bit crazy not you! This knowledge helps you to rationalize the situation and to understand that it is okay for you to be angry and that you are personally not going crazy. "We are all suffering some form of grief and it's okay to not be okay and to not know why." (It is very helpful for you to discuss your current struggles with other people).
- Right now, It's all about "self-care". We don't have much control over the pandemic or the economy, but we do have control over our daily lives. Prioritize daily activities that make you feel good, like walking the dog, gardening, cooking, wine appreciation etc etc.
- Helping someone else is a win-win. This can be the ultimate feel good strategy and helps you to appreciate your own good fortune and humanity. (It can be as simple as checking up on a neighbour, offer to walk their dog or cook them a meal.)
- Build up your own resilience. You are only as good as your daily rituals and habits, so now is a good time for a personal review and tune up. Focus on your sleep, healthy eating, mindfulness, exercise, reading and self-improvement, and saying no.
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and don't fall out of the dinghy!