By Diana Piggott

The Covid fatigue out there is real. Increased anxiety, the barrage of information thrown at us daily from our devices, the ugly divisiveness and politics of it all, apprehension about leaving our bubble for any number of reasons, businesses battling for survival. In short, many I talk to are simply over it. Every day though, there’s no escaping the reality that we are living through a global pandemic – something none of us have a whole heap of experience with.

Rewind to March 2020, our first lockdown. Three kids at home, two parents working remotely, far too much home baking, no exercise, the weight of expectation on my shoulders to homeschool my children par excellence, constant pivoting as the world shifted around me, far too much social media consumption…the list goes on and it’s not a foreign one to many. Both my physical and mental health suffered.

This year, we’re older, maybe wiser, and we knew what to expect from lockdown. I committed to minimal home baking (I’m not the world’s best baker, so my whanau probably said a quiet prayer of thanks) and exercising every day. I was in the privileged position of having great employers and being able to work flexible (and sometimes unusual) hours around my family. It was a game changer.

My story isn’t to blow my own trumpet or give myself some virtual pat on the back. I simply knew that if I repeated my first lockdown experience, I wouldn’t be in a good place, and something had to shift.

On reflection, the difference was a narrowed focus summed up in this great Venn diagram that I stumbled on later and can’t take credit for:

Venn diagram_what you should focus on

I don’t want to oversimplify things and can’t pretend it’s not rough out there. There is a huge amount of uncertainty and weariness in the business landscape. Business owners are shouldering an immense weight as they battle supply issues, cashflow challenges, leading teams who are also feeling fatigued, shifting guidelines on health and safety, vaccination debates that draw battle lines between staff, trying to keep people in employment. Business owners are digging deep right now and it’s not without a toll.

My simple message is this – find the things that matter and the things you can control and put your energy there. Get rid of the things that don’t matter and you have no control over – they’ll only serve to help you feel overwhelmed.

I stripped everything back. There were parts of my job that I needed to nail but there were others I could hit pause on to pick back up later. My kids lack of education through this past lockdown won’t scar them for life (thank God for teachers). I hauled myself out of the house to exercise every day even when I didn’t feel like it. My focus revolved around staying healthy, mentally and physically, and everything else flowed out of that.

Was it hard? No question. Were there tears? Yup. Were there phone conversations with my boss about curling up in a ball in the corner? Possibly…

What matters to you? What can you control? Where is the overlap?

Maybe it’s remaining viable as a business. Have you tapped all the financial assistance available to you through various government funding schemes? Have you had a conversation with your accountant or bank manager?

Maybe it’s keeping your team employed. How can you adapt your business model or shift work around to do so?

Maybe it needs to be your health too. The old adage of putting your own oxygen mask on first so you can help those around you rings true.

Us Kiwis are a resilient lot but we have limits. Whatever your focus needs to be, identify it now. Then direct your efforts and energy there.

If you’re struggling or need a sounding board, ask for help. We’re not always great at it (another Kiwi trait) but I can’t encourage it more and there is most definitely no shame in it. If you don’t know who to talk to, then call our team. One of our areas of focus is helping businesses get through the complexities of the current business landscape and we’d genuinely love to help you too.

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