How are you? This is possibly the single most important question to ask people right now.
The answers I’ve heard in recent weeks have been more authentic, varied and transient than I can recall; maybe ever. With the pace of change, the level of unknowns, the grief present (which can present itself in any of its stages as denial, anger, bargaining, depression or acceptance), the sadness, frustration, peace or anxiety anyone is experiencing greatly affects their response.
If we are good at compartmentalizing our feelings, we can interact with others having a business-like approach to the almost constant problem-solving we are doing these days. For leaders who’ve traversed grief before, it’s a coping mechanism which serves you and others well. Some criticize it, some marvel at it, others learn it.
If you are in a position of supporting others at work and at home and you hit the overwhelm button, or your feelings begin to take you over, pay attention. This is an opportunity to develop some practices to offer a way to “vent” those feelings before they take over.
Self-care is a must right now. Pay attention. Everyone needs support; especially you. If asking “how are you?” opens a floodgate of feelings, it’s time to interrupt your ability to compartmentalize and take care of yourself before you hit the wall. So really, how are you?