Trying times can wear all of us down. Remaining mentally and professionally fit can be tough to do when living through a volatile situation. Great news, this article from Forbes has some great advice on how to keep up with your selfcare:
John Pierce is Head of Business Development at Cetera Financial Group, driving Cetera’s financial professional recruiting strategy.
Even as we approach the inevitable return to office, we must acknowledge that it has been a challenging two years since the old normal. The global pandemic has swung us from pessimism to optimism as we near the end of the long dark tunnel, only to whipsaw us back again. How do we cope with the reality of the last 24 months while preparing ourselves to resume the routines of an in-person workplace?
In order to stay competitive, mental fitness — like physical fitness — is important. Let me share five learnings that I reflect upon as we seemingly take two steps forward and one step back each month.
1. Time For A Self-Check
Have you taken the time to reflect on your personal and professional well-being? It is simple and easy to plow forward with work and life as we near the end of a very difficult stretch. That said, if we do not pause and reflect on the recent roller coaster, we will not learn from our experiences.
Reflection is not something “weak” people do, it is what the strongest of the strong contemplate because it is the only productive path forward. If we don’t strive to learn every day, we will be stuck in the proverbial mud.
For me, on the personal side, I am embracing the ability to get outside every day and interact with nature regardless of the conditions as I reflect upon being stuck at my kitchen table for months. On the professional side, I’m done with petty office politics, passive-aggressive acts and the “little things” I used to worry about. I’m only going to interact with people that put me on a positive path in both work and life. The pandemic has shown us that work is not our life. What are the two things you will embrace at work and at home?
2. You Are Not Alone
There is no time for you to “gut it out” with issues caused by the pandemic. Each of us has experienced mental, physical and spiritual trauma that cannot simply be brushed off. We have learned that it is not only okay to talk about our traumas, but healthy and productive to work through issues with friends or professionals. Many firms have extended mental health benefits to their employees — use them if you need them. Share and unload your burdens and you will find many similarities with friends, colleagues and family members that you may have been unaware of. Have the courage to talk about the damage done by the pandemic.
3. Do Not Backtrack
Now is the absolute perfect time to keep the positive habits that you developed during the pandemic and not revert back to life and work as usual — like 100,000 miles and sleeping in a hotel 100-plus nights a year. Professionally, I am now taking every first meeting electronically and evaluating whether I need to drive, get on a train or fly for the next meeting. I am more productive by ditching what I did the past 20-plus years. Personally, I am keeping up my new habit of reading something in the morning before I start my workday. Art, science, poetry, virtual tours — whatever positive new hobby you started, keep it up. Do not let work rob you of bettering yourself by backtracking to the past.
Think of not backtracking as a vehicle to maintaining the new healthy habits you have developed over the past 18 months. What are the two things you will maintain inside and outside of work?
4. The Wisdom In Simplicity
While I understand very little of what Albert Einstein wrote about, I enjoy the genius of his simplicity in solving difficult problems. Einstein stripped away all of the complexity and is quoted as having said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
Like the philosopher Socrates did, strive for a less cluttered life at home and work. Move toward what is now considered the “voluntary simplicity” Socrates sought by living and through questioning as a tool for teaching others.
Another powerful example is Occam’s Razor, the principle that the simpler explanation is the preferred one. Now is an ideal time to seek out simplicity, and when you are faced with challenges, seek simplicity not complexity.
5. Simplicity Leads To Scale
The last 18 months have taught us we want to achieve positive and productive habits and results in and out of work. Do we need to build a rocket ship to cross the street? No. Do we need to provide complexity to look like we are productive to others? No.
Fight back at work when complexity is interjected into the equation because that will slow progress and deter you to scale results. Fight back at home with excuses to not read in the morning, not exercise or not eat healthily. Don’t revert back to the past. Think, act and do the things that will allow you to scale success — that starts with pushing back on complexity.
I end where we started: If you choose not to reflect on the past, you are choosing to limit your learning and future happiness. If you are struggling, seek help. If you are mired in complexity, break some glass at work, strip back the process and go back to the core questions first. Then, solve with simplicity.