I’m writing this article on my patio looking around our now weed free, trees trimmed, nothing out of place back yard, which apparently is only just the start!
Our lives have changed. Our priorities have changed. Our world has changed. Bloody COVID-19 and stage three restrictions and Brenda’s list! (The list goes from here to August!)
When change is forced upon us and is outside of our control. Cope or Mope?
In general, coping strategies fall into two categories; problem focused coping and emotion focused coping. Both have its strengths and weaknesses, and both are suited to particular situations.
Problem focused coping
With problem focused coping we change or eliminate the stressors. This approach works when we can control or influence the stressors e.g. too much stock on hand or too many overdue debtors, which is more than one. We change a business input - structures, resources, competencies, commitment - to change a business outcome. Stressors lessened or eliminated.
Emotional focused coping
This approach is for the stressors we can’t change or influence. What can we do when we feel that we can’t do anything? In reality stressors that are outside of our control - e.g. COVID-19, droughts, floods, short supply of seed and glyphosate, can get us down (mope) but we can also do things that keep our moods and our eyebrows up.
Four emotional health boosters
Jessica Watson on the 18th of October 2009, aged just 16 sailed out of Sydney harbour to sail around the world...on her own! In a recent article she said that she accepted that she would feel lonely and that this acceptance made coping with isolation easier. In business nothing changes until we confront and accept the reality of our situation.
Think: ‘How can we profit/benefit from this?” This focuses on what we could gain from the loss.
2: Constructive Thinking - What are our gains from the loss?
My back yard looks better. I’m not even for an instant suggesting the loss of free movement, seeing grandchildren, work ceasing, being stood down is anywhere near equal to having a better looking back yard. But it can be a silver lining. Going on a holiday comes at a cost – air fares, accommodation, adult children coming along and not putting their hands in their pocket for a damn thing - but then there are gains from taking a holiday too.
Moods can follow actions. Do something good and we generally feel good. Exercise increases the serotonin levels in the brain which helps regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression.
In his seminal book, Broken Years, Australian history professor Bill Gammage wrote about the use of humour by the Australian soldiers in the 1st world war. He retold a story of a group of Aussie diggers trying to extract one of their mates from a boggy bomb crater. After several attempts to pull him out of the bog using a rope, one of the rescuers said, “Barney, you’re too deep in the mud, mate. Is there anything you can do your end to help us?” Barney’s deadpan reply, “Do you think it would help if I take my feet out of the stirrups?”
We can still find joy in our worlds even in the direst of situations, if we just look for it. If you’re doing more moping than coping please reach out to a health professional or call Lifeline 13 11 14, or give me a call, it will get me out of the back yard.
PS: This is Brenda – if Neville did a bit in the garden each weekend and not play so much golf, he wouldn’t have a list!