2 min read

Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other

A little bit of advice for the moment you realize that this all isn't going to let up anytime soon...

There is a huge difference between the kind of work you do when you have to work like mad just to make sure you can keep the lights on and the work you do when you're striving for relentless excellence. They are both a demanding kind of work, but in the former case letting up means taking a risk that you don't survive. As a result it can be difficult to make the transition to playing the other game because you have to consciously recognize that you are playing a different game now, a game that is less about survival and more about how we build something that can stand the test of time.

When you're trying to make sure that there is a tomorrow, sometimes you go all out all the time, circumstance be damned. When you are playing the long game, it's more about making sure you can reach for and sustain your best. And, yeah, sometimes that means there are intense stretches when you’re running at your limits for a bit...but unlike in survival mode, those stretches need to be followed by a period of recovery.

There are some basic things that we can all do to be at our best: sleep, eat well & hydrate, exercise, make time for reflection, make time to connect with others. Take breaks. We are all in a weird interregnum - in the last year and a half we all survived a global pandemic, witnessed and/or participated in major civic upheaval and protest, experienced acutely the effects of climate change. This is why it’s critical we take care of ourselves. The rules are changing, because many of us are no longer expected to be at any particular place at any particular time, which both creates flexibility and autonomy while also removing the guardrails that created space and sanity. We need to redefine what it means to take care of ourselves within this new construct.

And each other. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I’m never going to be a competitor in the Self Awareness Olympics, so I often need other people to reflect reality back to me. Some of us are on top of this while self care thing, this whole transition to the New Normal (what if we stop using that term maybe?). If you are one of those people, then it's worth asking who in your orbit needs that permission to do what they need to do in order to be at their best. We can encourage each other to take the time we need, we can check in to make sure we’re actually doing alright and not just feeling like we need to out on a brave face. And maybe there are some people that need something more than that.

The trite adage is it’s a marathon not a sprint. For a lot of us, though, we’ve actually been in a sprint for a while, and now we have to adapt our tactics for the marathon. Take some time this week to think through what your week would look like if you set it up so that you could thrive. And then, where you can make some adjustments - do it.