There are no such things as “wrong” feelings. In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, stress, worry, anxiety, loneliness, loss of income, personal safety, family health…you’d be crazy if you didn’t get at least a little down! There can be a great difference between what is a natural, forgive the expression–normal, response to such crisis and a lingering feeling of hopelessness, worry or sadness. Is there a cure?
There are no such things as “wrong” feelings. In this
unprecedented time of uncertainty, stress, worry, anxiety, loneliness, loss of
income, personal safety, family health…you’d be crazy if you didn’t get at
least a little down! There can be a great difference between what is a natural,
forgive the expression–normal, response to such crisis and a lingering feeling
of hopelessness, worry or sadness. Is there a cure?
Depression can be every bit as painful and damaging as a virus and it can be a part of life even in the good times. It is a legitimate medical condition as well as an emotional state and this article is no substitute for treatment for a serious condition, that is a job for medical professionals not a Business Therapist. Still, there are strategies that can be extremely useful to minimize the negatives and if you are feeling any of those emotions perhaps one of the strategies here can be helpful so that depression is a short stop at most and not a new place to stay.
First, for workers, many have seen their economic reality change literally overnight. Regular paychecks, commissions and employment itself may have been delayed or ended and nothing causes stress for individuals and families any worse than money and that stress unattended easily morphs to depression, sometimes seriously. It is understandable because the stakes are high and there is no magic pill Some try taking one, getting high or drunk is an avoidance strategy but what often starts as a seemingly understandable response, a healthy “WTF” night to blow off steam, may quickly become a dependency and obviously that will create new problems while the underlying depression still lurks. A clear mind is the best hope for a happy body.
For executives and business owners company survival, built dreams and a way of life can be at stake. The smart battle actions suggest adapting sales and revenue strategy to the new, albeit temporary [hopefully] market conditions [see my last article]. On the “what you can control” side protecting liquidity and doing all you can to manage costs of course makes sense but that likely means tough choices. Many business owners and leaders are not only worrying about the impact on their business and livelihood but can be dealing with the reality that what they have to do to survive often dramatically impacts employees, vendors and even customers who have had a financial dependency. That stress can thus be two-fold, the effect on you and the impact on others you may feel responsible for even when you know there was little choice.
For everyone, personal and family health is now a universal concern. No amount of wealth insulates you from a virus and short of becoming a literal hermit we can’t control all the risks. Many are staring those risks head on in far more dire circumstances, Personally my spouse is on the front line as a nurse in a prominent NYC hospital. Our kiss hello and her hug of our son won’t happen until she’s showered upon arrival and even then it’s modified in loving caution. Chances are, however, if you are dealing with an actual sickness for you or a loved one your emotion is less likely to be about depression so that’s a different article!
KEYS TO BATTLE CORONA DEPRESSION
HOPE – You don’t have to be Pollyanna to feel that things will get better. Hopelessness can be a depression trigger so you will serve yourself well by having a VISION OF HOPE. False hope can, of course, be damaging but finding reasonable ways to be optimistic projects it will only be a matter of time before the circumstances improve. Worrying about something in advance never really softens the blow and “I told you so,” is a hollow victory unless it is pointed toward a better tomorrow, or next month, or next year but close enough so it can be seen. Projecting hope and realizing it is a double joy.
EMBRACE SACRIFICE – Few of us have lived our lives in isolated minimalism so real sacrifice may feel new. When was the last time you watched your toilet paper supply so closely?! On the other hand, most of us have lived through past wishes and abrupt realities and somewhere in our journey made sacrifices in order to achieve. The sacrifice you are making today should be seen as the stuff of tomorrow’s silver lining. Prove to yourself you can be tougher than you thought and know that the path to survival with sacrifice makes you appreciate the success to come. Consider it an investment in your future happiness.
GIVE – Nothing gets you out of your own misery better than finding ways you can help others. That may be a $5 donation to something that has meaning to you, maybe it means being willing to volunteer for the front lines though that’s clearly not for everyone. Giving of yourself can simply mean going through your contacts and reaching out to the people that have meaning in your life and share. While misery may love company giving a few minutes of your time to spread well wishes, check in, listen, empathize, and share hope gets you outside what may self-obsessing. If you are going for groceries does your neighbor need a few things? Got extra supples to share? Kindness doesn’t have to be at a big cost but it does have a big reward.
LIMIT EXPOSURE – I’m not talking about Social Distancing
I’m talking about News Distancing. In crisis time there is no end to the
repetition of disturbing news and facts. While we are seeing developments often
hour by hour, exposing yourself to an endless stream of bad news can wear down
the cheeriest of souls.
POSITIVE COMMUNITY – Social Media can be a place to vent but more often than not you will find things to make you want to scream in far greater abundance than positive emotions but those screams rarely change anything. Of course connecting with your personal and professional network via social media can be a happy strategy but edit yourself. Don’t feel the need to dwell on correcting opinions or joining the blame games. Skip through those posts that want to engage you in rage or hopelessness and look for humor and happiness being spread, and spread it yourself. You can become what you present.
UNDERSTAND EMOTION – So you want to cry, go ahead. It’s perfectly normal today that a puppy video that yesterday gave you a smile today makes you ball like a baby. Depression can be a dominating emotion but if you allow yourself to experience the variety of human emotions that can create balance and a much healthier feeling. So go ahead with your cry but balance it with an “I love you” or a deserving “thank you” and experience your humanity full of emotions without undue lingering in any.
BE PRODUCTIVE – Most of us become creatures of routine and our habits become embedded in our day. Your in box, messages and meetings may be drastically altered and you can find yourself wishing there was more despite a previous life of complaining how much there was. Of course physical exercise is always key to good health, mental and physical, but pay as much attention to a new challenge. Fit that challenge into your altered routine. Maybe you’ll come back ripped with a six pack or speaking a new language. There’s no points for logging couch time or how many bags of chips get scarfed.
Today’s environment is very worthy of a little depression, of course. When
you look in the mirror don’t get further down because you find yourself down.
True, you may have to work a little harder to be happy these days and none of
this changes the core realities we are all dealing with but there is no reward
for living in worry, expecting the worse, feeling depressed about yourself or
the world condition. Remember your first breakup? Maybe you cried and
it seemed like the end of the world at the time. Somehow you heard that time
would heal and though you probably found little comfort in that idea at the
time you’ve since experienced it so remember the lesson.
Throughout human evolution there’s been horror and happiness and rarely
is it fairly disseminated. No one can promise you your situation will have a
great outcome or even that it will be fair as serious consequences of a global
pandemic play out. What I can promise you is that those who will later thrive
are more likely the ones who didn’t let the bad overwhelm their hope, their
emotions, their positivity. So spread a little sunshine, the world’s gotten
©2020 MyEureka Solutions LLC. For help with CRISIS MANAGEMENT or other BUSINESS THERAPY insights contact or follow @TomFoxTrainer, on LinkedIn or at www.myeurekasolutions.com/thoughts. Our current book: Business Therapy: Ideas and Inspirations To Help Build Sales, Leadership, Management, and Personal Performance is available on Amazon.