Let’s face it. We’re tired. The pandemic has tested us like nothing ever has. And coming out of it has been more difficult than we imagined.
Operating in isolation and dealing with health concerns, heavy workloads, and so much uncertainty has taken its toll. The collective burnout is especially challenging for leaders, who are expected to motivate and inspire, even while feeling beaten down themselves. And many have the added pressure of filling open positions, with employees leaving the workforce in droves. (According to U.S. Labor Department stats, a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone.)
Mental fog. Work-life blur. Endless wait. These are just a few of the ways executives described their pandemic fatigue in a recent Harvard Business Review report by business psychologist Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg on “finding the mental strength to lead through the last mile.”
Getting through the initial phases of the pandemic relied on a psychological emergency response that activated resources like adrenaline, a fighting spirit, and the act of pulling together, she wrote. The phase we’re in now calls for psychological stamina; overcoming feelings of being disconnected, bored, and unnerved will require perseverance, endurance, and even defiance.
In these times, it is critical that we focus on our teams’ mental well-being—and our own. I didn’t realize how much I needed a break until I took a weeklong trip to Arizona with my twin sister in late April. We visited three different wellness resorts (click here to read all about it).
The scenery and massages were great, and even the workouts were exhilarating. But it was the mental escape that mattered most.
Lying on the grass and watching the clouds, feeling the breeze while looking out at the majesty of the Grand Canyon, gazing up at the stars at a dark sky park. Sometimes, we just need to stop. Everything.
If we don’t, we’ll never be able to rebuild the stamina and resiliency needed to help chart the way forward.