We’re approaching one year with this pandemic, well, at least one year in which most of us have had our lives upended, and we’ve had to learn to live and work in entirely new ways. In that time, we’ve experienced loss, so much loss, in so many aspects of our lives that we’re starting to run out of ways to overcome it.
Exhaustion in this age doesn’t always show up the way you think it will.
It’s not necessarily complete and obvious burnout, public failures, or glaring mistakes that signal its arrival. It’s little things that band together to weigh people down.
It’s eating a little less (or a little more) at dinner. It’s not feeling like yourself in your zoom happy hour with friends. It’s dragging your feet a bit more than usual on that project at work but still getting it done. It’s sleeping less or sleeping more. You get the idea.
And our approach to addressing it for ourselves and others needs to adjust accordingly.
Leaders and organizations need to look at the big picture, understanding that the mental and physical exhaustion people are experiencing right now didn’t come to be overnight. It took weeks and months of persistently draining experiences to manifest itself.
And it will take many weeks and many months of persistently fulfilling experiences to correct itself.
That’s the model we should all be following right now as we work to be at our best for our families, colleagues, and communities.
Build fulfilling experiences for those in your care.
Do not do so out of a strategic objective to extract more work or effort out of others, but out of a deep sense of care and purpose to help lift people out of their cumulative fog.
With many difficult weeks and months ahead of us, even in the best of circumstances, this is our duty.