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In times of chaos, reach for your community (and be kind)

If 2020 and the first few days of 2021 have you feeling bamboozled, you’re not alone. We’re human, and we have an innate tendency to “doom scroll,” pour another drink, crawl up in a fetal position, inhale the Ben and Jerry’s, or engage in any number of numbing activities.

I’m not going to judge your activity of choice– do what you gotta do. It’s rough out there. But when you emerge, consider tapping into the power of your community.

You might be asking, “My community? What if I don’t belong to a community?”

Do you have family? Neighbors? Coworkers? Small, local businesses that you frequent? An organization where you volunteer your time? These people are your community, and it’s time to lean on them.

Here’s why:

More conversations. Less “status updates”.

Real-time conversations leave us feeling full, connected, relieved. Real-time conversations can open our hearts and minds, prompt laughter, or smiles.

Status updates leave us feeling alone, angry, righteous. Status updates tend to close our hearts and minds. Our jaws, shoulders, and necks get tense. Yuck.

I know real-time conversations are a bit more challenging in our current condition, so we have to work hard to make them happen. Take a walk in the fresh air with a friend. Pick up the phone and call the next time you’re tempted to send a text. Ask the store clerk how she’s doing.

See the good in people.

Connecting with others is a great way to remember that people are essentially good. At the end of the day, we all want the same things– happiness, friendship, prosperity… you get the gist.

I took a vacation over the holidays, and I spent most of my time at home. I noticed that towards the end of the week, anxiety took hold in the form of a tight chest. Nothing could shake it. I had far too much time to read the news, and far too little contact with people.

Back at Groundwork, I instantly began to feel better. The simple act of saying good morning to people softened anxiety’s grip on my heart. Seeing the familiar faces of my community reminded me that we are all in this together, and that I don’t have to struggle alone.

So when you get the feeling that humanity is going to hell in a handbasket, find a way to be around people. A great, pandemic-safe way to do this is to take a walk in a park. It always makes me feel better, and I’m an introvert.

We shall must overcome.

Donald Trump is toxic as all hell. It is a toxicity that will remain after he leaves office until we deal with it. We must overcome his toxicity. We MUST. And the only way to overcome it is to create such a giant, blinding force of kindness and love that there isn’t room for anything else.

Can we all make a pact to do this in 2021? Lean into your communities. Be kind to each other. Open your hearts and let them shine so bright that darkness becomes small again. I know we can make it happen. I feel hope every time I hear the familiar click-clack of the keyboards here at Groundwork.

Want more like this? Here’s a 2018 post on how coworking can make you a better person.

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