As a certified physician and APP Development Coach for Avera’s LIGHT program, I always ask my clients how they are really doing.
There have been several words that keep coming up: “Worn, heavy, lonely, struggling, overwhelmed, over it.” Can you relate? Whether it’s COVID-19, politics or racial injustice – there is so much heaviness around us.
How can we handle it all? We can’t but we can start somewhere. Personally, what’s helped me is having a grief game plan in place; ready to use when it all feels too much, which lately, is a lot. The sooner I act on it, the better. Why prolong my struggle? Here are some things are a part of my plan. Hopefully it will help provide inspiration for you to develop your own:
- Look at the day in front of you. Not tomorrow, not next week. Today. Then ask yourself, “Am I taking on too much today? Is there anything that I can put down or schedule later?” Your to-do list is never ending so ask if it really needs to get done today.
- Share your struggle with someone. Letting one person know how you are feeling helps. Most likely, they will share they are feeling the same and it won’t feel so lonely.
- Give energy to the things within your control. Can you control the person at the grocery store not wearing a mask or what someone posts on social media? Unfortunately, no. What you do have control over is to deciding if it is worth the energy you are giving it. It’s incredibly frustrating, I know but it won’t help exerting energy that can be used for something else. Think of your energy in the form of units. If you have 10 total units in a day, how many units do you want to bring home with you? Decide if the issue in front of you is worth a unit.
- Do something good. Buy someone’s coffee, tell someone how hard they are working. Make a connection with someone each day. You will feel better and will brighten someone’s day in the process.
- Lastly but most importantly, ramp up your resources. Do you see a counselor? Great! If you don’t but are thinking it’s time, take this as your sign. Personally, I see an amazing counselor and it has helped immensely to talk with her more often lately. This does not make me weak. In fact, it makes me a stronger wife, mom, friend and employee. There is no better time than now.
The circumstances around us are not normal so what you have used to cope in the past may not work now. It may not be enough. Take that first step and reach out. Share how you are really doing and look for little ways to lift others up in your day.
Megan Bartel is the Avera LIGHT Program Manager