Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi
...I started writing this post prior to events in Nova Scotia that have shaken many of us. I have chosen to publish the original post because it is a tool that we may need.
There's no doubt that this pandemic has thrown a bit of a wrench into things for many of us. As business people, we have enough stress on the best of days; the last thing we needed is an added layer.
For the most part I'm doing well until I'm not. There are moments when I get pretty frustrated at not really being able to do the things that I enjoy doing when I want to do them. I consider myself one of the lucky ones that have tools in my toolkit to deal with emotions. Things like meditation for example really go a long way to helping me get back to an even keel. Reaching out to other like-minded people who won't try and stifle what I am feeling definitely helps.
Every now and then I am caught off guard; the alarm sounds informing me that I have a coaching call that starts in half an hour. I may be in the middle of a meltdown after speaking with my parents who are in a nursing home right now. I look in the mirror and wonder how I can make this face look professional - snot and tears will an distort your image.
We're all dealing with layers of stress right now. We've all had to learn how to deal with emotions while maintaining a level of professionalism.
One of my key strategies is a visualization exercise that someone taught me years ago. It has served me well. It's one of many tools I use to ensure that I look after my emotional well-being in high-stress moments.
I begin by picturing a filing cabinet in my minds eye. When I have work that I must focus on, I open a file drawer for the item that is causing me distress right now, like loss and grief for example, and I place that item into that drawer. I then open the drawer with the work that I am about to get done.
This visualization allows me to focus upon the work that needs to get done. Now and again when I am pulled back to the troubling event, I take a breath and do the exercise again. Like most new habits, in the early days, it took many tries to get into the habit but now it comes much easier. I find myself doing that drawer exercise more and more these days.
Compartmentalizing is a necessary skill when we need to deal with the business at hand. Some things need to be put on the back burner - or in that file drawer.
Compartmentalizing is not a replacement for dealing with emotions. The reality is that events have happened in Nova Scotia that keep popping into our mind as we work. That is quite normal. Sometimes I may choose to open that drawer and allow myself to feel what I am feeling for a short while. Not for long because there is work that needs to get done; clients who need to speak with us or folks who need to be reassured.
Remember this - what you're feeling right now is quite normal.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself.
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