Stress is simply when demand outstrips resources. When we talk about stress on the healthcare system or stress on the supply chain, we’re really saying that the demand for resources is greater than the available supply.
The stress we feel internally is the same concept. The demands being placed upon us, the number of things that need to be handled, decisions that need to be made, actions we need to take, and the level of uncertainty that we need to deal with outstrips the mental and emotional resources that we have available at the time.
And these last two months have provided plenty of that.
Some people are activated by stress – these are people who handle their stress by working out – going for a run or lifting weights. The stress provides them with an excess of energy that if they don’t burn off gets turned internally.
Some people respond the opposite way to stress – feeling sluggish, slow, foggy.
Most of the people I work with, founders and executives tend to be activated by stress. These are people who are great at rallying the troops, taking charge, making quick decisions when under fire.
And while the last two months have been tough, they’ve been responding pretty well.
That is up until the last few days.
Suddenly the effects seem to be wearing down the very people who have been the most hard charging for the past two months. All of a sudden I’m hearing things like “I’m really down”, “I feel like I’m losing my mind”, “I don’t know how I can make one more decision” from the people who were the most positive and taking fast action over the past two months.
The cumulative effect is real. If this is happening to you – please pay attention to it. Trying to muscle through this is what leads to burnout – and you can’t afford to let that happen to you.
There are big decisions to be made now – are you reopening your business and if so how? Are you going to stay virtual – and if so – how? What about your lease and the what about long term shifts in the industry landscape? Maybe your thinking of moving and making big lifestyle changes?
We’re moving out of the sprint and in to realizing we’ve still got a long race ahead of us. And the stress comes from trying to factor in so many unknown variables – and so much that seems out of your control.
So right now – take a breath – and then
1. Try to disentangle the various issues so that you can deal with one at a time.
2. Tap in to social support. A good sounding board is invaluable right now.
3. If you need to talk through a problem, you’re not alone. I’m here and I’ll make time for you.