The University has its own rhythm – the Great Enthuse of the first weeks full of sheer possibility, then viruses spreading and mid-terms looming. And now it’s bearing down time, the stretch to holidays and finals, with little new but colds and colder air and shorter days. Okay, I’ll stop…And strategize. What do we all do when we enter these phases – like the boring middle miles of a run, the stage of cooking that’s plodding and cleaning at the same time, the work on a legal file that you wish you could toss out the perma-sealed law firm windows, the adolescent’s grumbling that feels it will never end. Okay, I’ll really stop. Here are seven coping ideas:
1. Double-down on exercise. Believe in the proven paradox that a workout actually adds energy.
2. Why. Remind yourself of why you’re in it. To learn or to serve or to produce wonderful children. The slog has an end. And a good slog brings a better end.
3. Recommit to who or what energizes you. I’m scheduling lunches and coffees with the people who leave me higher than they found me.
4. Build momentum with little wins. Schedule tasks you can get done — when so much else is longer term – and enjoy those wins.
5. Say no. When deadlines loom, we naturally triage, moving non-essentials off our task list. When we’re in the middle of a long slog though, we sometimes forget we have that option. Say no to something unessential. You’ll feel lighter!
6. Mark your own progress. When I’m about 2/3 of the way into a long run, I get bored and my motivation tanks. One trick I’ve learned is just to mentally go over all the twists, turns, miles, bridges, hills I’ve already done. I almost never get through the entire chronology, and I always feel a lift.
7. Pay closer attention to – and celebrate others’ – successes. What all the “happiness” writers keep telling us in so many ways is that people who help others help themselves. Give others encouragement and it may actually be more energizing than if you are just the recipient of encouragement.
If you feel a bit more energized, why not share this with someone else? Personalize it as only you can!
Lead with your best!