Is it June already? Yes, and in fact, we’re already ten days in. Given all that surrounds us right now, it’s easy to lose track.
No doubt about it, we’ve arrived at a very different kind of summer.
And if there’s anything I can tell you about the summer of 2020, it’s arrived with an awful lot of things to think about.
As nationwide protests in the streets have begun to precipitate what may well be a great wave of societal change, they are coming hot on the heels of a massive public health crisis, the worst of which may–or may not–be behind us. And in the meantime, we are saddled with trying to jump our start our stalled economy and somehow keep our businesses afloat.
Summer vacation? Yeah, sure. How do we pull THAT off this year?
Indeed, many of us are limping back into “business as (sort-of) usual.” And we WANT our jobs and businesses to return to the levels we once considered normal—that’s one of the rare things that, in this day and age, there’s 100% agreement on.
But the economic, financial, and emotional toll of what we have gone through has been massive. And while the bottom line is in desperate need of rejuvenation, and we begin to reassess our social structures and inequities, none of this can happen unless we have our heads in the right place. We need to take care of ourselves during all of this. Whether or not we take a “vacation,” we need some summer vibes.
We need to try and maintain some sort of focus and peace of mind in the midst of trying to rebuild our world. We simply have to. As we do, here are some things to remember.
Keep the human factor front and center. Your co-workers, your employees, your customers, and yes, even you, are facing the potential for change unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, and there are a whole of lot of folks in each of those categories that simply don’t like change. If everyone liked change, then “change management” counseling wouldn’t be a thing.
Don’t get so caught up in your desire to return to a “normal” way of life that you are not reading the signals of the folks around you. Managing people, not processes, has never been more important. And along with that is listening. It’s not that hard to pick up on what those around you are feeling—and if you’re a manager, responding to those questions, thoughts, and fears has never been more important. Time to get your “peopling” skills front and center.
Schedule a time to worry. The majority of folks in business these days have an awful lot to worry about. Managers, directors, and CEO’s are finding themselves awake at 3:00 a.m., tossing and turning as they try to find ways to bolster revenues, maintain relationships, and regain reluctant clients only just now beginning to venture back out into the marketplace.
And you need to worry—I get it. But you need to do a lot of other things, too, and if worry is consuming too large a part of your day, try doing what you do with every other important function you’re responsible for—schedule it.
Pick a time every week—or every day, if necessary—to sit down, away from your phone, your laptop, and all your other devices, and allow yourself the luxury of thinking. Combine it with a little bit of exercise—a walk in the park, or a bike ride through town, or a morning run—and you might be surprised to see some of those impossible solutions take shape. Bottom line: don’t let worrying dominate your day—control it.
Try a Self-Care Sunday. If you can take a day off, maximize its value. Devote your Sundays—or at least part of them—to taking care of you. Allow yourself time to indulge in your favorite leisure pastimes, ones that take you (and your mind) far away from your office. Rest, relax, renew, revitalize. You can’t be at your best when you haven’t given yourself the time you need to recharge.
And if you still find yourself consumed with workplace and social issues, try harder to let them go. Stay aware, but control your news flow—it’s OK to disconnect once in a while. Meditation, music, positive video and audio content, ambient sound, and even sheer silence can help you get to a more restful place. Do it for yourself, but if that doesn’t work, do it for those around you, both at home and at work—trust me, they’ll appreciate it.
There’s no way we can make the Un-Summer of 2020 anything like we’re used to enjoying. But there are ways for you to keep your head in the right place while you, and all the rest of us, are working your way through it.
We’ll get there. But sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that, and really believe it.
But before we can figure out what to do, we need to make sure we have the strength and focus on take on the challenge.
And taking care of yourself and those around you is Job One.