Groundhog Day: A situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appears to be recurring in exactly the same way. (Oxford Dictionaries)
Happy Groundhog Day! Or should that be Groundhog Year? Oy.
With lockdowns, curfews, social distancing and separations from loved ones, every day feels like Monday. Or maybe Wednesday. Who knows anymore? It all blends together, adding to our fatigue, stress, lack of motivation, and general crankiness.
Yes, there’s a vaccine. Yes, things will get better. But no, we don’t know when. It’s like you’re running a marathon without a clear finish line. Ugh.
With things being so bleak it’s not surprising if you feel despair, ground down, spent. So no, I’m not going to tell you to cheer up or suck it up.
But in these unprecedented times, my suggestion is an unprecedented departure . . . drawing on fiction rather than facts. I know! Crazy.
Through my COVID Netflix’g I’ve discovered the subgenre of time-traveling, transcendent films.
Yes. It’s a thing.
“Groundhog Day” of course, but there’s also “It’s About Time,” “Sliding Doors,” “Time Travelers Wife,” “Midnight in Paris,” “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (classics in any season). Plus “The Good Place” TV series.
Aside from Rachel McAdams, what’s the common theme?
After experiencing the same thing again and again, we may actually learn something.
Good thing cuz us humans are a reactive bunch.
We all engage in habitual unhelpful behaviours—unthinkingly eating a bag of chips, taking out our frustrations on others, doomscrolling, yelling at traffic, blah blah blah. We know we shouldn’t. Our best selves don’t even want to. But, whoops, there we go again.
Voila. Your personalized Groundhog Day.
Here’s how characters in my new favorite flicks address this conundrum:
Self-Awareness. Stopping crappy behaviours requires awareness that we’re doing them. Mindfulness helps here. So does reflecting on our good and not-so-good days and realizing a bad day does not equal a bad life.
Self-Management. Once we recognise we’re on the slippery slope toward some all-too-human foible, we can practice stopping and redirecting. Sounds easy. Takes a lifetime of practice.
Education. Remember Einstein’s advice: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Learning from others (i.e.: teachers, friends, books, podcasts, Dr. Google, ghosts, angels) can break us out of closed thought-loops and up-level our thinking.
Relationships. Fictional relationships broaden the cast, thicken the plot, and make stories more realistic. Same in real life (or IRL for you hipsters). We are, after all, a social species. Connecting with others, yes even by Zoom, is essential to human flourishing.
Self-compassion. The concept of being a good friend to yourself is embedded in all these films. And no wonder. It’s easier to change when we can face our deficiencies with kindness.
Roll the Credits.
One last lesson from my Netflix bingeing?
Every story has an ending.
It’s true. Our COVID nightmare won’t last forever.
Meanwhile, this Groundhog Day experience can offer hard-won lessons sure to enrich our post-pandemic lives . . . if we’re willing to look for them.
You’re not Alone.
If you noticed the lessons fit with Emotional lntelligence, good catch. You’re right.
In circumstances like today where the last month included a lot of things, but was kinda the norm considering last year . . . it’s essential.
Human-centered capacities are what leaders and teams need to stay productive and engaged in the midst of all this uncertainty.
“Caring for others triggers the biology of courage, and creates hope” says health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. Our intrinsic ability to help others can be a life-preserver.
No. It’s not sacrificing yourself. It means finding a way to add things to this moment that are meaningful and joyful.
My wish for you?
Multitudes of positive additions to the days and weeks ahead . . . Netflix or not.
Especially for Leaders & Teams in Seniors Care.
You’re in an especially not-so-easy spot.
- COVID and it’s variants are wreaking havoc with rules that keep changing.
- And the sector wasn’t in the greatest shape going into this (high turnover and vacancies in vital roles hardly contribute to peak performance).
Dialing down the pain isn’t an option.
Embracing the fundamentals of Compassionate Leadership has the science behind it to guide you through.