Dear Dr. Sylvia,
Someone said that going out to a ball game, dinner, or shopping without masks feels weird. Like like coming out of the 20-year sleep of Rip Van Winkle.
To clarify, if you don’t know about Van Winkle, let me tell you. He’s the main character in a fictional story by Washington Irving, first published in 1819.
Further, Rip was an American villager in colonial America. One day he took his dog, Wolf, and went for a walk in the mountains. He wanted to get away from his wife’s nagging.
How to handle stress when life changes.
In other words, that is one way to handle stress. Many are like Rip Van Winkle. He avoided the situation. This is a common method to feel better.
That is to say, avoid the annoyance and get away from the argument. Just leave the situation.
Consequently, this could be any day in modern America. Actually it’s like any day on the planet.
But wait, the plot thickens.
In addition, he meets a mysterious Dutchman and some friends in the woods. He drinks liquor offered to him and falls asleep.
So far, easy to track with this story. Right?
Is it better to numb yourself during tough times?
Just a thought here. Powerful substances and addictions can keep us from looking at best practices for tough times.
For example, is it better to run into the woods to hide or drink? Or in today’s world, stay on Facebook, or simply pretend all is okay? It’s so hard to feel satisfaction in anything.
But wait, there’s more. A plot shift happens now; you see, Van Winkle wakes up 20, yup, 20 years later, having missed the whole revolutionary war.
After that, he wakes up to a whole new world.
As a result, he has a foot-long beard. Hey, in the present time, barbershops and salons closed for, it seems 20 years. He also had a rotting and rusting musket and a missing dog.
It’s all the same and yet very different.
Back in town, he is confused. So much has changed.
Meanwhile, most of his friends had been killed in the American Revolution. He meets another man called Rip Van Winkle and soon realizes that is his grown son and that his wife has died.
While everything, the land, the village, seems the same, it is, in fact very different.
Opening the world post-pandemic.
Back to me. I worry right now. Especially, about the whole work thing.
I love working from home. However, I fill with stress about resuming the commute. And, ug, dealing with some of my co-workers who drive me bonkers.
Therefore, what great words of comfort or advice do you have? Or should I find that Dutchman in the woods and drink his concoction. Then I can sleep till this new phase of life is in perfect order.
Is happiness at work possible?
You are asking the question that most of the working population is asking these days.
What can I expect when I am back in the office?
Most importantly, let’s take a bigger view of what is going on right now.
What is your Life Satisfaction Score?
Firstly, do you know what your OLS score is?
It’s your Overall Life Satisfaction quotient. It’s about how happy you are with your life right now. Is it all you want it to be? How are you handling stress? What makes you feel dreadful or joyful about going back to work in the office? How do you make your day more fulfilling, more fun? How are relationships more rewarding?
most importantly, here is a simple Overall Life Satisfaction test to see where you are right now.
Rate each of the following on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best; 5 being not bad, could be better; 1 being rather bleak). Do this quickly and don’t over-think it).
Is your life:
Add all the scores and then divide by 7
Okay, all done. Now for what you need or don’t need.
What is your overall Life Satisfaction score?
If your score is 8 or above, you are in a super good spot. Go do something else, don’t even bother reading the rest of this blog.
Did you score under 7? Read on….
How to handle stress by stepping out of your rut.
You are in a pattern rut. You can do with an emotional make-over. Here is an assignment to get you going in a new direction and move into new territory. Do you want a more amazing, creative, challenging, blissful, exciting, fulfilling, and powerful life? Then engage your brain in a new way.
In the same vein, some call it “thinking outside of the box,” I call it being “pattern aware.”
Be self-aware by being pattern-aware.
You just must do one thing, that’s right, just one thing to begin the process for positive change. Pick from the following list. And remember, all you need to do for a system to change is begin with one small shift. Then you get an improved overall Life Satisfaction score.
- Take a different route to work (even if it takes longer)
- Go to a new restaurant for lunch or dinner (eat something new)
- Come to work an hour earlier or later or leave an hour earlier or later (stop to smell the roses)
- Talk with a co-worker you don’t like very much (ask questions)
- Take a cup of java to your boss and chat for a few minutes (ask questions)
- Read a magazine cover to cover that is different from your interests. An example is to read about cooking if you love motorcycles and about motorcycles if you love cooking.
- Text an old friend to check in (ask questions)
You get the idea. Just do one thing you would not ordinarily do. Add to the above list. These are just ideas for you to consider. Make up your own. Make a list of 25. Do one each day for several weeks and just see what happens.
See with new eyes to get better results.
It’s about looking at your life from a different perspective with new eyes. You will be pleasantly surprised with the opportunities that come your way when you get out of your pattern rut.
And, of course, remember, an amazing life is not one where the sun shines every day. That would cause a drought. Rain, cloudy days, stress, and disappointment are also part of the richness of growth and development.
Here’s another way to continue to do strength training and become the best you can be. Buy a copy of Don’t Bring It To Work, send us the receipt, and we will send you a complimentary copy of the Pattern Aware Success Guide that gives you three months of exercises to help you improve your leadership and have a higher Overall Life Satisfaction score.
Here’s to the best you ever,
PS. Take the Stress Busters Quiz to see what you need to do to manage your stress more effectively.