Reflection: What are YOU waiting for? Something exciting? Something unnerving? Something uncertain?
In the days leading up to Christmas my five year old grandson was beside himself with anticipation, “I can’t wait to see what Santa brings me!” But, of course, he could and he did, because there was nothing to do but wait – no way to hurry the day.
My daughter is nearing the end of her pregnancy. As her due date draws near, she waits. And we wait, too. Babies take their own sweet time.
In an effort to balance the budget, a major local institution announced that jobs will be lost. Forty in January and more in April. And so, hundreds of people wait to find out whether any pink slips bear their names. They’re not in control of the timing or the decisions, and short of jumping ship in advance, there’s no way to hurry a resolution.
The challenge in the midst of the waiting game is one of staying calm. Of course, good things (like babies and gifts) are easier to await. Other things – not so much. In fact, big issues like potential job losses or major health challenges are serious indeed.
However, when the challenges aren’t that gargantuan or obvious, drumming your fingertips and scanning the skies for a sign can still be unsettling. WAIT (Why Am I Tense?) is a good question to ask. Your answers may suggest some ways to cope. What often stresses us out are the potential bad news stories we tell ourselves about things to come. Getting a handle on those is a first step.
Action: If you find yourself in an imposed limbo of some sort – beyond the normal waiting in a slow moving queue or on hold for the ‘next available agent’ – here are a handful of strategies for de-stressing the wait.
- Notice. Appreciate what’s in front of you and around you that’s going well at this very moment. Tune your mind from future uncertain to present positive.
- Nurture. Find small ways to treat and care for yourself in the interim. A walk. A stretch. A read. Whatever fills your tank!
- Assume. But, opt for the best case – not the worst. In the absence of info to the contrary, you might as well choose an upside scenario to run through your mind.
- Prepare. Make way for what comes next – whatever it may be. It’s never a waste of energy to clear a space, stock a freezer, spruce up a skill, or do some research.
- Reach out. Connect with someone who lifts your spirits, makes you laugh and lightens your load. Avoid naysayers and doom-spreaders like the plague. Now is not the time to accept an invitation to an epic pity party.
When all else fails, whistle! Yep, goofy and trite as it sounds there is something very calming about deep breaths and a catchy tune. And, if you can’t whistle and try to learn, well, that, too, will temporarily take your mind off your worries.
Quotes Of The Week: I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you’re hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday. – Art Buchwald
If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine. – Morris West
It takes a little effort to keep your head on straight. To laugh and really mean it, to whistle while you wait. – Marian Call
Resource Of The Week: A new kind of resource for you this week – a tune. Check out this upbeat message about perseverance and patience in the face of uncertainty: Whistle While You Wait by Juneau, Alaska singer-songwriter, Marian Call.
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Handling Goofs & Gaffes With Grace & Gusto, Pause reader JG writes: I loved this Pause Newsletter! I recently started saying positive affirmations in the mornings after believing for years that I wasn’t the type that they would work for. Lo and behold, they DO work and they have provided me with an ‘Ethan’ sort of attitude. Now when something goes ‘wrong’, instead of being frustrated and feeling like I want to give up or start over, I view it as an opportunity for something better instead of a ‘less than perfect’ end result.