There isn’t a day that goes by without another company pushing for “normalcy” and the need to get back to business as usual. “Come back to the office, and get back to work,” we hear.
But we’ve been working all along.
It’s not so much about returning to the office; it’s more about the fact that there is no going back. There is no going back to the way things were because we feel traumatized, and we cannot un-feel the constant presence of fear when the feeling is still there.
SO ARE WE DOOMED?
Not at all. But we cannot get past something we can’t talk about. It will continue to sit in the back of our minds. And with everything else going on in the world and at the office, if anything is normal, it’s the sense that there’s a new normal.
Recently I have heard several people mention the increase in rudeness that is going around, and people are wondering why. Without worry-free zones, worry-free moments, the new normalcy of constant high alert will wear us out. First, we get angry, and then we go numb.
NORMALCY SHOULD MEAN SELF-CARE AT WORK
Self-care should always have been included in how we think about work because even though we live in a tech-driven world, it is still humans doing the work. And that means supporting human beings in being at their best to produce the best results.
It’s the chicken and the egg issue.
Do we produce results so that we can get time off to recover? Or do we think of self-care as proactive and a mindset we can strengthen that helps us navigate ALL the challenges that life and work throws our way?
When we say we want normalcy, we mean feeling safe.
We want to stop worrying all the time. We want to stop being on high alert all the time. We want to stop feeling scared that we are doing something wrong or that something will hit us and we will fall down, like illness or another death in the family or among friends.
The reality is modern life is not as cushy as we were promised. Nor is it as predictable as we would like it to be. And we need to self-care better not for work-life balance, but for work-life quality.
CHANGE AND UNCERTAINTY IS NORMAL
What we are going through is not the new normal because change and uncertainty have always been the essence of life. But we see them as disruption to our “regular” lives – which we set up to feel comfortable and safe – and we are hanging on to that illusion, thinking we have to get through another tough time and then we would find peace.
But peace is not at the other end of struggle; peace is to accept the struggle.
The key to unlocking our greatness is understanding that our human advantage is that we can choose to be aware, adaptable and agile. That is why I developed the CARE framework because we humans have the unique advantage of making choices with CARE. This framework, outlined in my book, The Self-Care Mindset, is rooted in asking ourselves better questions to find our way forward.
Instead of choosing some emotions as good and others as bad, can we instead learn to use our emotions as information? Can we learn to be comfortable with the discomfort of reality that our lives are essentially about change and nothing is for certain?
I think that’s when we feel we have power over our own lives rather than feeling overpowered by its events.
That’s the power of The Self-Care Mindset.
First published on jeanettebronee.com