Here in the US, it’s voting day. But no. This is not a last-ditch effort on my part to encourage you to vote one way or another. I’m thinking about how we need to greet tomorrow.
It really seems like this election season has been somehow even more exhausting than usual. True, high-stress times and seasons of upheaval may be normal, they may come and go. But whatever their cause, it can really help to acknowledge the intensity, recognize what the pressure may be doing to you, and intentionally step back from it in a positive way.
It may be that you have a really clear picture of what you hope happens in the elections…or you may have mixed feelings. Perhaps some of your stress is because the rest of your life keeps you so busy that you never really feel like you’ve had enough time to research the candidates and legislative amendments. Maybe you’re discouraged about how things are going in the grand scheme, or drained by the strain that political differences are putting on your personal or professional relationships.
Here are three things my coach reminded me about, when it comes to recovering from these seasons of high pressure. I’m using them to bounce back from election fatigue, and thought you might like to borrow them too:
- Choose Hope: it makes us Resilient.
- Embrace Change: it makes us Human.
- Do Something Now: Because it’s never too late to make a Good Decision.
With the “hope makes us resilient” part, we’re not talking about rainbows and sunshine, or even the hope of getting our way right now. Hope is an emotion that lassoes the power of optimism (defined by my favorite positive psychologists as “the belief that good things do happen and my behavior matters”), and keeps your boots on. Optimism reminds me that a choice doesn’t have to pan out right now in order for it to make a difference. Hope helps me hang on to what matters to me, and refuses to give up simply because of challenges or slow progress.
With the “change makes us human” part, we give permission to ourselves (and everyone else) to have a learning curve. Instead of trying to make perfect decisions, it’s most important to keep growing, learning, and changing. To learn more each time we experience something and to humbly recognize that most of us do learn things the hard way. Even when it seems like the behavior or character of other people is set in stone, it really isn’t. By remembering that every human being is in flux, I can step back from what is happening with the comfort to know that a lot of it will be temporary.
If the perfection thing ever gets you, you can join me in tattooing this third one on your forehead…it’s never too late to make a good decision. The health benefits of trying to live #3 out come because it brings you right into the present moment. You start where you are right now, and exit the spiral of negative emotions about the past or present. Reliving a mistake and thinking how you should have done things differently? Worrying about what problems or losses you might face down the road? Neither are things you can control. But what you do right now today has a profound impact of being able to repair the damage caused by the past, and preparing to face the future with strength and agility. So come back into the present and do something good.
I know there’s a lot to read here on LinkedIn…especially on election day. But most of those articles are there to help you keep fighting, to dig in and escalate the stress. Just remember that one of the best ways to make a real impact over time is to keep taking care of your resilience. Whatever your current stress level is, remember to make space to step back. Some days you just need to make room to recover.
To do that, choose hope, embrace change, and do something now.
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