Ah yes, 2020: a year accentuated by nation-spanning wildfires caused by gender reveal parties, innumerable and unnecessary zoom meetings, and family meals derailed by your second-cousin and uncle berating one another over their political leanings. Oh, and a generationally defining virus that has forced the entire world to upend our daily routines, avoid all physical contact with anyone over the age of sixty, and solely rely on off-the-wall Netflix documentaries for entertainment. These past ten months have dragged on for what feels like an eternity. But with that in mind, we have prepared a few tips and suggestions that might help make dealing with this final lap of 2020 a bit less awful.
Patience Makes Perfect
“Patience is a virtue.” I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I was told that growing up. Now more than ever does it ring with perfectly resounding truth. Many people, generally speaking, have been pushed to their emotional limits with the vast changes to daily life that they have had to undertake in order to protect and respect those around them. People are losing jobs, being forced to homeschool their kids, and begrudgingly sidelining vacations and family gatherings. Each of these things outside of COVID would be stressful and inflict an emotional toll on the bearer, but paired with the uncertainty and social climate accompanying the virus, you might find yourself growing impatient more quickly than normal with those around you. Be aware of your trigger points. If you haven’t eaten breakfast or had your daily dose of pumpkin-laced caffeine from Starbucks, try not to step into an emotional conversation. Improve your capacity for grace with those around you. This is a huge practice in empathy, but just imagine that everything that you are going through, your coworkers, customers, leaders, friends, and family are going through as well. If you are a leader in your organization, provide your team members an outlet for their stress by planning a fun, small event like a game night or just take a few minutes to check in on them and their lives.
Agree to Disagree
Not to delve too heavily into socio-politics, but with an upcoming election, tensions are going to be pretty high when passing Aunt Martha’s “special” gravy around the table on Thanksgiving. Differences in opinion can be incredibly divisive during an election period, so steel yourself for the oncoming deluge of searing comments on your beliefs and/or voting habits. That being said, arming yourself with information is a great way to combat the traditional confrontation that takes place around the stuffing and pumpkin pies. For instance, did you know that when someone presents an idea that is contrary to your “core beliefs” the same exact part of your brain starts firing the same as if you were being chased by a Grizzly bear? But we feel so innately in tune with our belief system, that it’s incredibly difficult to change some of those core beliefs, even when presented with logical, practical evidence that might prove them illegitimate. Keep this in mind when confronted with a potential conflict with a team or family member. You aren’t going to change their core belief structure, but potentially damaging a relationship based around a difference in beliefs is a total possibility with the elevated emotional climate we are living in.
Don’t Survive, Thrive
COVID, in combination with ever-lowering temperatures, is going to even further reduce our ability to interact in the outside world. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to use your spare time effectively.
1. Watch the Great British Baking Show. Never has a show existed that will make you care about (or even how to pronounce) a Bavarois like this one. It’s charm, wit, personality, and sense of calm is the perfect way to unwind from a stressful day at the office.
2. Take up a new hobby you “never had time for” before. You have all of the time in the world now. No excuses. Croquet, competitive knitting, or juggling flaming swords are just a few ideas.
3. Have a meaningful conversation with your worship leader or church’s tech team leader about using EasyWorship and all of its powerful features. Listen, we had to plug it somewhere.
4. Stay active. It’s no mystery that the more active you are (think walks, yoga, recreational sports, etc.), the healthier that your mental and emotional states will be. Just be responsible and respectful of others while you do it.
5. Refresh your prayer life. This is the perfect opportunity to work on yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally, be sure to capitalize on it! Start a devotional, dedicate fifteen minutes to having a quiet time, and read your bible, we promise that it will do you a lot of good in uncertain times.
Stay gold, Ponyboy. Be safe and be well.