Last week’s piece entitled “Social Distancing is Dumb“ raised a few eyebrows, but I think there is a lot of power in the words we use and “social distancing” is just the wrong reaction to this pandemic.
Additionally, do you know what is worse than coronavirus?
Being discouraged is far worse than the virus.
The movie It’s A Wonderful Life opens with God, St. Peter and Clarence having a conversation about George Bailey. Bailey is Clarence’s first opportunity to be a guardian angel. And Bailey is in desperate need of Clarence’s services. Clarence asks God, “What’s wrong? Is he sick?”
To which God replies, “No. Worse. He’s discouraged.”
Discouragement is the worst. It is hard to pinpoint a single moment when it sets in, but discouragement finds its way into all of our minds and hearts at one time or another, and it’s an awful way to feel.
I have actually been pretty busy over the last couple of weeks. Just like most during this unprecedented time in modern history, this virus has put a lot of pressure on me, my family and my work. Through discussions with my employees, my friends, my family, and nearly everyone I interact with on a business level, I have noticed a ton of verbal and non-verbal signs of stress and discouragement.
Here are my top five things to do if you are feeling discouraged, followed by an example of how I have implemented each in my personal life during this coronavirus pandemic:
- Make a plan – Often discouragement centers around not feeling completely in control of an outcome. The easiest way to provide yourself with some encouragement is to make a plan centered around the things you CAN control.
- Purge discouraging people/content – Stop watching the coronavirus counts. Do NOT keep the news on all day, every day. Avoid letting yourself communicate with people who are solely focused on the negativity. Detox yourself.
- Take a break and exercise– There is enough research floating around on the internet and in academic studies to prove this out. Exercise releases all the good chemicals in our body and helps us feel better. Also, it just takes our mind off of things that are frustrating and stressful.
- Learn something new – Probably one of the best things we can do, should we feel discouraged, is to develop a new skill. It seems a little counterintuitive because often new things are harder upfront when we first try them. But diving into something new stimulates the mind.
- Confide in someone – We have to be vulnerable. A past Three Action Thursday piece entitled The Importance of Vulnerability covers this in detail. Finding a person to talk to about our discouragement and stresses can serve as a vital outlet.
Personal Example: I have established family, business, and personal daily business rhythms to maintain a level of normalcy. These include maintaining bedtime and wake-up times, holding prayer/reflection time as a family, work time for dad and school time for mom and the kids, family walks, etc.
Personal Example: I am only checking on local, state, and national media once every day. That’s it. I’m not refreshing screens or keeping tabs hourly on the situation.
Personal Example: My wife and I are taking the kids and the dog for a daily walk, and a couple of times a week we are doing group family exercise.
Personal Example: I would love to share that I’ve picked up needlepoint or guitar playing but I haven’t. In fairness, there is no shortage of learning for me during this right now. The challenges I am facing in my businesses due to coronavirus are substantial. There is new legislation each week that I have to learn and attempt to apply to my businesses in support of my employees.
Personal Example: Obviously I talk to my wife, but I also have a number of other outlets to share my fears and stresses (my men’s group, a group of entrepreneurs in my area, for example). Also, in response to this crisis, I’ve created two weekly teleconference sessions for business owners and people who run businesses to discuss the challenges in our businesses due to coronavirus.
- Take a moment to check in with yourself and label what you are feeling.
- If you are feeling discouraged, pick two things from the list above to help ease that feeling.
- Lastly, I really think #5 from the list above is a must-do. Email me, use the Three Action Thursday Facebook group, or reach out to someone in your life that you can confide in.**