Yes, I know this is late. I mean, it’s February now and if I was on my “A-game” I would have sent this to all of you in December. But COVID. And Holidays. And my kids returned to distance learning for 10 days. And, if I really practice some self-compassion, it’s ok to be tardy because some thoughts are valid even when they are late. So, here we are in February setting some ground rules for this year.
- Set some boundaries. Decide “what’s OK” and “what’s not ok” and be prepared for this to feel new and awkward. Some of you might be great with boundaries while others are still learning. Know that some people are heading into 2022 like, “Screw this, I’m over COVID” while others are like, “This is never going to end,” and still others are like, “Hope is on the horizon, but we’re not there yet.” Where do you fall? What boundaries do you need to feel confident and protected? For instance, be ready to talk about whether you’re ready to give hugs, high fives or fist bumps. Own whether you’ve returned to work, you’re scared to, or you’re appreciating the new normal of a hybrid model. Begin to think about and express your boundaries – clear is kind!
- Be ready for some tough conversations. Everyone is hungry to “return to some semblance of normal.” But what that means for you may be vastly different than what it means for others. You don’t have to justify your position. You don’t have to be defensive of what feels appropriate for you. If you’re still hunkered down because your risk tolerance is low and your concern for infection is high, that’s ok. If you’re beginning to dip your toe into the waters of gatherings and dinners out, that’s ok too. Just know that when you bump into others who are from another camp, that might be hard or shaky – be willing to sit with hard conversations.
- Respect where other people are as a way of showing kindness. See number 2 above – it’s normal for us to be all over the gamete in terms of socialization, risk, and health. Let other people find their way. You never know what someone else is carrying.
- Your personal life and your professional life can be separate. The past two years muddled those two together out of necessity and process. Let’s begin to untangle the two. Separate home life from work life so you can begin to find greater balance. Create physical space and emotional space. When possible, leave work at work.
- Have some rules and expectations for your children’s mental health for 2022. Let educators know. Let policymakers know. Talk about this as a family. Re-visit themes of mental health with your children. So many of them are fragile right now.
- Acknowledge how you’re feeling as we enter year three of navigating a global pandemic. Are you angry? Confused? Overwhelmed? Resigned? Talk about the space you are in with other adults that care about you. They are having big feelings now too. You’re not alone.
- Establish some norms and expectations to have a sense of predictability at work and at home. Revisit these every few months to see how they feel. The lack of predictability over the past 2 years has created a huge sense of vulnerability. Let’s begin to create some structure where we can.
- Fear is not a good advisor. Get information from established resources and trusted advisors. Make decisions from a place of knowledge versus stress. We live in a polarizing world where topics can feel highly politicized or black-and-white. Rarely are things that clear. Find people and advisors who know you and whom you trust.
- This is not over. While so many geographic areas, settings, organizations, and spaces are seeing some reprieve, many are not. Be gentle with healthcare organizations, educators, and service providers. They were the first hit by this pandemic and will be the last to recover.
Geez, when I was brainstorming these ground rules, I used my voice memo app on my phone. I didn’t realize I only had NINE rules and now I feel incomplete without adding one more to have a solid 10.
10. Embrace imperfections. Enough said.
Be well, my friends. Reach out for help. Tell me more about your ground rules for 2022 or what I missed. I love hearing from you.
Want more? My Provider Retreat is coming up in May — registration is open! Learn more and register here.