A changemakers guide to wellbeing in times of change

Are you a changemaker? Chances are if you’re an Australian, particularly a regional Australian you’d consider it ‘up yourself‘ to claim such title.

Let me tell you right now. If there are people asking you questions about what to do, if you have a burning desire to make the world a better place, if your gut tells you what needs to happen in times of crisis, and others follow along…

You are a changemaker. So suck up the phrase and let’s move on.

IF you are are changemaker anywhere in the world right now you know as well as I do that sh&t just got real. You can be as cynical as you like towards the media, political spin, public hysteria but the long and short of this bookmark in time, and even though our focus of the moment is a virus, is that more people are realising today that the world has reached a tipping point than ever before.

Life IS going to be different.

People ARE going to be frightened and we ARE going to be asked how we will choose to find order in the chaos. Will new, strict rules and measures be imposed? Rules that go over and above those set to keep us safe? Or will we somehow get over ourselves and find our way back to being a society that cares for one another?

I don’t know about you but I’m incredibly perplexed that the same society that so generously gave SEVEN WEEKS AGO to bushfire impacted communities is now pushing over old people in the toilet paper aisle. Is this what catastrophe does to us?

How many times do we need to hear the words ‘unprecedented events’, ‘never before’, ‘new measures’, ‘not in a generation’, ‘dire situation’ before we embrace now as the ‘new normal‘ before someone else’s version of the new normal is thrust upon us?

So, changemakers how to maintain your wellbeing in changing times?

  • Hone in on what you CAN do. You cannot solve every single issue nor fight every single battle. That does not make you weak, ineffective nor lazy, it’s just reality. Take some time to come to terms with the change you really and truly want to make and if you need to start at the end point – your legacy and then move backwards until you reach today.
  • Know that some days you need to lay low. Your energy levels must be your most prized asset right now and should be treated as such. Switch off your devices, stay at home (social distancing and self-isolation will be your friends at this time) and learn how to deliver a solid NO to requests you aren’t up to fulfilling.
  • Connect with other changemakers and make sure you have a go to list of people to message, phone, visit. You don’t need to reinvent solutions to every single thing. Speaking with others leading in similar ways to you will not only lift you up, it will inspire you with practical ideas.
  • Look out for other changemakers. Some days you’re going to feel on top of it, some days you’re not. On the days you’re making hay get in touch with someone else who may not be – you’d be amazed what a simple ‘ruok’ can do.
  • Know how to recharge your batteries – I wrote a guide for you on this one but if you don’t have time to read it just know this – when times are tough you need more of what you know is good for you (and you know what that is) and less of the bad stuff (and I reckon you know what that is too).
  • Believe 33% of what you’re hearing in the media (the halve it). If you need to know something go to the source.
  • Be very, very careful about what you’re sharing in your social, verbal commentary. Even a simple throw away comment could land in a way that has dire impact for someone else – yep, it’s not a good time for sticking your foot in your mouth even if you washed it first.
  • Laugh, sing, do what makes you happy. You ARE going to be called upon to lead in a time of grief as people come to terms with their new normal.
  • Do what it takes to remain patient – many people around you will have difficulty processing the new normal. Their ability to adapt to this will depend greatly on their willingness to accept the world isn’t going to be as it was in 2017, 2018 or even 2019. We are different now, things are different now. You can’t punch everyone in the face as they refuse change but you can, gently hold them as they come to terms with change and… you can also choose to step away from those that don’t want to walk along the same pathway as you.

The views in this article are the author’s own and in no way related to any organisation nor contract she may represent.

Kerry Grace is a community engagement practitioner currently leading a regional development organisation in NSW Australia and managing her own company Evolve Group Network (est 2003).

Kerry’s work focuses on enabling economic sustainability in small regional communities. With a strong consultancy background she has worked with all levels of government, not for profits and Aboriginal corporations. She is often called upon for her facilitation skills to moderate pathways forward for contentious and complex issues.

Kerry regularly blurts words about accidental leadership, being a mum in business, self-care and adapting for an uncertain future. www.kerrygrace.com.au

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Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

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