I Have FOMO About Stress

What’s wrong with me? I fear I’m missing out on the biggest post-pandemic get of the decade: Stress.

Where is it? Did I misplace it? Why didn’t I attach a fob, or stress-locator, or put Siri or Alexa on it? Those two always sound calm when I ask them to search for something.  

Could it be that I haven’t managed my post-COVID re-entry properly? I’m still avoiding large parties, mega-concerts, last-minute dashes to a brick-and mortar store (they look so quaint).  

But, no, I’m definitely missing out. I’m working remotely. That’s a 70% discount on stress (some days). I’m still behind on the things I’m always behind on—that’s reliably a 20% credit toward stress.  

I admit it, when I’m stressed, I take my own advice that I’ve been giving to others who are in the difficult emotional arc of job loss. It’s about mindset and more. The pain is real. The experiences are hurtful. The women who are brave enough to share their vulnerability because they want to evolve—I applaud all of you who are trusting and working hard with me and others to heal and thrive.  

Having a positive framework for each day is important for any level of stress but particularly vital if you’re suffering from an unplanned career transition. Here are some short cuts to get you back on the side of, “It’s going to be okay.” (Of course, if you’re more deeply concerned about your mental health, please seek the advice of a professional.)

Define Your Mindset

First, think about what you’re thinking about.  You may have a mindset that’s mired in Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda and Not-Good-Enough. Do you feel that you’re on a fixed road of bitterness and remorse without any turnoffs?  Take the wheel and drive to a new Candyland of better things to tell yourself.

Here are a few gumdrops of wisdom to remember:

1. Respect your genuine, innovative mindset. Before anyone told you how to think, you connected the dots all by yourself. 

2. Rewire in the morning with one espresso, coffee, or tea and one affirmation. This can be as simple as, “I have a lot of experience,” or “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”

3. Go from blame to bold. Blame-fixing, especially if we’re the ones we’re blaming, is a circular motion. We want to be moving forward, without looking back to figure out whatever caused us to be let go.  That’s an infinite highway of assumptions that are like frost heaves bumping you off course.   

Bonus tip: Don’t ask, like I just did, “Hey, Google, how valuable am I?”   You’ll get the answer: “Sorry, I don’t have any information about that.”  This is like asking your former boss, “Why did you let me go?”  Non-answers abound.

4. Don’t judge your career by the last 24 hours. It really is amazing how often the last thing we hear or do is the most prominent thing we remember. Take out your calendar, look at your LinkedIn or even an old resume to remind yourself of where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished.  

5. Focus on being “in the ready.” As one woman told me, her antidote to fearing the future is always keeping herself upskilled through classes, in the ready, in the know by joining professional organizations and getting certified in new areas, which also builds confidence.

FOMO is a sticky mindset.  Resist. Resilience is a pact you make with yourself. You don’t have to work on it alone. Surround yourself with people (and pets) who love and support you, and take seriously your value to the world. 

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