STOP WITH THE PRESSURE

Judy Ditchfield

As if lockdown pressure wasn’t enough. From beyond the bars and locked front doors, lurking around every single corner, the pressure genies have emerged.  As people have struggled to acclimatize and readjust, just trying to start functioning through this, a very loud voice has arisen. 

To survive the lockdown, get up early every day, dress up every day, do your hair, do your face, learn a language, start meditating, try yoga, start a video  diary, journal, get out the arts and crafts, paint, garden, plant a veggie patch, Zoom call everyone, from your worst enemy to your best friend. Start house parties, bake banana bread, bake bread, start a webinar, plan for the future, start an online course, learn to knit, clean your house, clear out your house, cook, start homeschooling, have family time. Oh and keep your job going. Now is the time to rebrand, refocus goals, adjust to moving goals, on, and on, and on…

STOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPP! 

I say stop.

What are we doing here?

I say just stop.

As everyone in their own way starts trying to crawl out from under the covers and confusions of Corona, we all have different ways of coping with stress. There is more than just one way. 

In 2013, I lost my sister unexpectedly. What I learned from that experience was understanding that everyone dealt with her passing in a different way. To cope, I went into organize-mode, and I focused on working and getting things done. Others in the family went into self-protection mode and tried to shut themselves from the world. Others needed to just give in to the deep grief. That isn’t to say that people didn’t experience the deep grief, everyone did, but in their own way. What it made me realize is that everyone experiences things differently. We often feel judged that we aren’t doing it the acceptable way, or we judge others for not doing it our way. 

Once again there is no right way. There is only YOUR way!

Pressure to perform

In crisis, or times of great stress or anxiety, like we are experiencing now, there are certain expectations of how we should be responding. Unfortunately, there is an expectation of what that should look like. But from observations, it is different for everyone. We can most certainly guide others to assist, but I believe the pressure has become overwhelming. This crisis is bringing enough pressure as it is. People are really struggling. 

Maybe what it needs, especially in the work environment, is simply a check in; a letting go of the right way, and allowing people to find their own way…with your support.

A simple: 

How are you doing?

What kind of support do you need?

We need support more than pressure now. And everyone needs different levels of support. This requires leaders to stop and assess how they are approaching the new world. Are they expecting others to do it their way, or are they assessing the truly diverse needs of the different people in their teams, and changing their approach accordingly? 

 “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” – Douglas MacArthur

Good luck. 

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