So, I was sitting here, minding my own business, munching on Triscuits watching my current binge-fave “Storage Wars,” when a crown breaks and falls off my tooth. And you know what? That Triscuit brought me down. Initially, I did what needed to be done: found a dentist who could see me right away, went to the appointment; but it was much more complicated than just fixing the crown, and that complexity – which at any other time would have been no big deal – became kind of overwhelming in terms of social-distancing, etc…
Why did this have me stressing out? I spoke to my friend Les, who said, “Oh. You have moral fatigue: the exhaustion of every tiny decision having potentially life-or-death consequences.” Yeah, bingo. The Triscuit was a last straw for me in that moment. (I say “a” last straw rather than “the” last straw, because, well, its still 2020 for another week.)
I’m hearing stories like this a lot these days, in my coaching practice: “I lost my cool with a client the other day,” “I’ve been yelling at my kids, I never do that,” “I could not face the day this morning; just wanted to stay in bed. I’m usually the first one up.” These are common examples of fully functional people having big reactions to what would normally be a blip. But in this time of COVID, the blip can feel like a last straw.
Does this resonate? How is it occurring for you in your life? How do you help yourself through and out of it?
In my experience, the first and most important thing to do when this happens is to forgive yourself. Then, reach out to someone who isn’t dealing with that particular last straw at that particular moment, and let them help. Whatever’s got you revved up or pulled down won’t look as big and bad to them; as a result, they’ll get to solutions quicker than you can in that moment. Speaking of “that moment,” the third piece of this recipe for success is to remember, above all, that this is just one moment in time. The stress is normal, its situational to the times we are in right now, and it will pass.
Last night my husband lost his mind because a tiny block of ice prevented the door from closing. It so happened that this was a last straw for him. I calmly got the blow-dryer, melted the ice, and closed the door. Just like that, his world was right again. (I’ll admit I did laugh just a tiny bit at first because it was so over the top, but I quickly recovered myself and jumped into action.)
So, the next time you have a last-straw moment, remember: forgive yourself for not handling it as you normally would, let someone help you out of it, and know that its temporary.
This post is part of the “Winterizing Yourself” episode coming in January to The Growth Platform, designed to tool you up for hard times, be it winter, COVID, or something else. Check it out!