“I can’t seem to find a groove.” “All the doors keep shutting in my face.” “If schools don’t open back up, my kid and I might not be on speaking terms till graduation…eight years from now.” “Last night I ate an entire bar of cookie dough and hid in my closet for an hour just for some peace and quiet.”
Parenting was hard before COVID-19, but at least there was a break with school and playdates. At least there was a distraction with school projects and team sports. At least it did not feel like you were in this on your own with no instruction manual. Can you relate?
Countless friends of mine who were so excited for a “forced stay-cation” with their spouses only a few weeks ago, are now praying diligently for their spouse to go back to work and leave them alone.
Work, for those who are blessed to be employed, has begun to feel like every move is the wrong move. Teams no longer work like well-oiled machines. The discord and frustration have heightened as plans to re-open and get “back to normal” seem to be weeks away or worse ill-advised. Minutia seems to be the focus instead of quality production.
Emotions are high. Patience is low. The threads of relationships have started to fray. As a friend jokingly stated a few weeks ago, “We are failing the apocalypse on easy mode.”
Before those emotions take over, think about what that statement means. We are not combating corpses that have come to life to eat our brains. We are not fighting Thanos. We are not fighting aliens who want to take over the planet.
We are fighting a virus invisible to the naked eye. We are fighting our own selfish desires to have what we want when we want it how we want it.
The playbook for this fight? Be in the comfort of our homes, watch Netflix, eat bonbon, and enjoy a walk outside with the people we love the most.
So why is domestic violence growing at an alarming rate globally? Why are we finding ways to yell at each other? Why do we feel like we are alone in the fight?
“Why” is the wrong question. We know why.
It’s time we ask what are we going to do to change this behavior and emotional state? In ourselves. For our families, friends and coworkers.
1. Metrics: Anyone who has worked a single day in any industry hears the word metrics and knows their bottom line will be affected by this one six-letter word. Those in production industries work diligently to get their metrics up and keep them up. Metrics are great for giving us an insight into how we are doing and where we need to work a little harder or differently. This is a successful model in businesses across industries. Let’s use this model in our personal lives.
Set a metric for the production of quality family life. How much time do we spend investing in our families compared to watching that Netflix show? How often do we have to nag/ask our teenager to do their laundry versus them doing it themselves? How often are we serving others versus serving ourselves? These key metrics can give a great baseline for significant growth in our personal and professional lives.
2. Change your Focus: The most impactful leader in history, once stated, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Another way to say this is where your focus is, there your heart will be also.
In his book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, Hans Rosling gives an excellent realistic view of the world using stats and studies from his years as a physician and academic. Rosling uses global trends in health economics to show how much better the world is than we allow ourselves to believe. Understanding stats and metrics are so much more important than the number. Let’s use stats as therapy. Change the focus from the negative to focusing on the positive and the progress made and keep moving forward.
3. Be Grateful: We are not fighting zombies! We are not fighting aliens! We get to spend time with our families. We get to have a home-cooked meal at the kitchen table. We get to get back to our roots. 1950’s America has been idealized for decades. Now is our chance to get that back; only this time we are working from home on a more flexible schedule. For more ways to shift to a grateful attitude check out my blog on the power of words.
4. Work on that New Year’s Resolution: Did you know 80% of New Years Resolutions fail? There is a lot research into why this is. Time. Thinking not doing. Doing it alone. Not tracking progress. Forbes, BusinessInsider, and Psychology Today all address this.
We have been given the opportunity to not only have the time to work on these resolutions, but to do it in an environment with our best support system – our family. Want to lose weight? Use the time you would have been commuting for a work out with your partner. Want to get better in your industry? Read together for one hour a day. Want to know what is really happening in your teenager’s life? Get on the video game with them. You get healthy, spend quality time, and invest in each other. For more ideas check out my blog on surviving social distancing.
5. Be the Solution: We know there is a problem. Instead of complaining about the problem, choose to be the solution. Find ways to get involved. For some great resources on how to get involved in all aspects of the community including first responders, teachers, religious leaders and more, check out my articles on ways to give back and Captain Corona and the 19-COVID Warriors by @MelissaGratia.
This is not the apocalypse. There is time to redeem 2020 and really begin to change the world, our world, our communities, for the better. We don’t have to fail quarantine and social distancing. We have everything we need to use this time to reset and refresh. It’s time to choose. Where is your focus?