By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting
Welcome to March.
You may be familiar with the old saying, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This March feels like a pride of hungry, irritated big cats is using all of us as a scratching post with a frightful war in Ukraine, domestic inflation, and lingering worries over COVID infections. Nope – COVID isn’t over yet.
I’m taking time in my leadership classes this month to talk about leading teams and managing stress in uncertain times. No one is superhuman. Even if you personally feel grounded, and in control, chances are those around you, employees, friends, children, spouse, and the friendly cashier at Wegmans may be one roar away from a meltdown.
Stress and Fear are Normal
As humans, we have evolved to be alert to stress and fear. The big cat circling the village has you on high alert. If we felt no fear, we could become her next meal.
Sadly, our modern day, modern lifestyle stress has us buzzing all the time. Construction traffic on the Beltway, our now 24/7 workplace response expectations, rising gas prices, and shortages that make our stores empty – though in reality most of us have an abundance of everything we could ever need.
Self-Care Before it’s too Late
And while stress and fear are normal, self-care is often brushed off as a waste of time, for the weak, not a value in our go-all-out lifestyle – until it’s too late, and we hear about a school shooting, road rage incident, or suicide. I don’t mean to be an alarmist. However, I am sounding an alarm.
If you or someone in your life is showing signs of depression, erratic behavior, or needs support for a variety of issues – financial, emotional, medical, child/elder care, it’s okay to seek help. It’s responsible to seek help. It’s smart to seek help.
Prince William County has resources to help get you started.
- Community services: pwcva.gov/department/community-services
- National Alliance on Mental Health, Prince William: nami-pw.org/crisis-info/
- Emergency Housing Assistance: pwcva.gov/department/housing-community-development/emergency-housing-assistance
One important way to manage your stress and those around you, is to turn down the sound, specifically by avoiding social media and doom scrolling the news. Staying informed on critical local and world events isn’t bad, but an overload of voices, opinions, images, and even friends and family can escalate our fears and stress. This fun list of 32 ways to engage in self-care has some easy ideas. mentemia.com/blog/self-care-ideas-32-free-ways-to-look-after-yourself
I’m not suggesting that watching the sunset every day will make your worries disappear. But during those few pink and golden-hued moments, the sky will glow, not your phone. Build some self-care moments into your day and help those around you do the same. The lions won’t stop their scratching, but we can work to tame them.
Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work. She resides in Prince William County and is the owner of Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training. She can be reached at email@example.com or through wisewaysconsulting.com.